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Energy & Environment| Energy & Environment
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Energy & Environment| Energy & Environment

Governor Jared Polis warned of the persistent threats to Colorado’s water supply. Jared Polis launched, along with other state leaders on Wednesday, a year-long campaign designed to raise awareness and ultimately conserve Colorado’s most valuable natural resource.

The campaign was calledWater22The,challenges Coloradans to adopt 22 ways to save water every day. This is equivalent to 8,000 gallons per year for each resident and 48 million gallons throughout the state.

Jayla Poppleton, Executive director of Water Education Colorado, stated that 48 million gallons equals roughly 150,000 acres. This is the same amount as the Green Mountain Reservoir in Kremmling or Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins.

Poppleton stated, “Many people don’t know what they can accomplish, and that can lead to a feeling of apathy.” He added that the Water 22 campaign aims at combating that emotional nonchalance by encouraging residents, among others, to find out where their water comes. This will foster a sense a connection and engagement.

“Awareness is key to engagement. Water’22 will be a meaningful campaign that highlights the challenges we face as well as the opportunities,” she stated.

Polis pointed out that Colorado’s water supply has been strained by drought conditions in the Southwest, severe weather and climate events, and an increasing population. He said that dry conditions have made wildfires more dangerous for urban residents.

“It’s not a fire season. It’s a year-long risk of fire,” he said, after referring to the devastation caused by the Marshall Fire, which destroyed Boulder County’s neighborhoods and set fire to more than 1,000 homes.

Polis assured his support for conservation efforts, and stated that Colorado is now poised to receive between $800m and $1.2billion in federal funding for water and infrastructure projects.

He called the amount “a game-changing opportunity.”

The governor also pledged that he would fight any “downstream threats to legal use of Colorado’s natural water resources.”

He said, “And we will continue aggressively assert Colorado’s water right,” and reiterated that the state would comply with inter-state water compacts.

Polis had previously stated that he would aggressively assert Colorado’s water right after the Nebraska governor. Pete Ricketts presented a proposal to spend $500million on a canal- and reservoir-building project. This includes access to land in Colorado as part of a 99-year-old compact.

Colorado and six other Basin states are dependent on the Colorado RiverArizona and California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, as well as Wyoming, are also preparing for difficult negotiations over management of the dwindling Colorado Riverwater.

The federal government declared the first ever water shortage at Lake Mead last year. This triggered severe cuts in Arizona’s water supply and small reductions in Nevada and Mexico.

Around 40 million people depend on the Colorado River to get their water and livelihood.

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