Climatologists at Colorado State University are warning that 98% of the state is under drought conditions. This poses all kinds of concerns for the state’s recreation economy, and for water managers, whose job it is to secure water for five million people in a mostly arid state.
Colorado’s snowpack is nearing the lowest it’s been in decades. The mild winter is bad news for powder skiers and snow-dependent businesses in the state. It’s also a concern for millions of people across the Southwest who depend on melting snow for their drinking water and farms.
Northern Colorado’s largest water provider is proposing new regulations governing the use of its water to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells. The move comes as many cities and towns in the area have been leasing water to energy companies for fracking.
Colorado’s Yampa River is one of the last-free flowing rivers in the West and its water has long been eyed by the oil shale industry and by water agencies looking for new sources to tap to feed communities and farms hundreds of miles away. But recently Shell Oil shelved an application to divert water from the Yampa for mining, and a powerful Front Range water utility has put its interest in the Yampa on hold. This has environmentalists looking to seize the moment and drum up support to protect the river.