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Climate change, politics emphasize importance of local water conservation plan

Facebook/Roaring Fork Conservancy

Water officials are presenting a final Roaring Fork Regional Water Efficiency Plan this week. The Pitkin County commissioners will hear how water can be conserved ahead of increased demand.

Work on the water efficiency plan began in 2012, when the Roaring Fork Valley was experiencing drought. Major water providers from Aspen to Glenwood Springs joined an effort to plan for a drier future.

The plan’s recommendations include water conservation outreach and incentives for people to be more efficient with outdoor watering and irrigating. Mark Fuller of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority worked on the plan. He says conservation is key, particularly now.

"We need, as a community and valley, to make the best possible use of our water because the trend over time, from a meteorological standpoint, is that there will be less water to work with. And, from a political standpoint, there’s going to be more pressure for West Slope water to be diverted to the Front Range.”

After Fuller’s presentation to the commissioners Tuesday, he’ll meet with water managers to begin discussing how to implement the conservation efforts.