If Colorado House bill becomes law, developers would have to address water needs first
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado A bill now in the Colorado Legislature would give local governments an opportunity to determine whether proposed developments of 50 or more single family homes have adequate water supplies.Language in House Bill 1141, which has been drafted by Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, would require developers to demonstrate to local governments, especially municipalities, that the water supply for their proposed development application would be sufficient and stable. Any decision about whether to accept the developers water plan for a proposed development would be up to the local government, Curry said.Currys bill cleared the state House last week on a vote of 46 to 18. The bill has been introduced to the state Senate and is assigned to the Local Government committee, she said.Curry said she is pushing the bill forward to enhance cooperation and coordination between proponents of development and water supply providers. She said many municipalities and counties are asked to approve developments, but in many cases all those jurisdictions have on file from developers about their projects water needs is just a letter saying, Yes, we will serve it. What is happening in Colorado is sometimes the water utilities and the decision-making authorities with regard to proposed developments, they are not communicating with each other, Curry said. A lot of the impetus behind the bill was just to make sure that water utilities are coordinating with the land use authority before subdivisions are approved.To help local officials make a determination about a proposed developments water supply, developers would have to submit a report that documents the proposed projects water demands and supplies.Information in the reports would have to include an estimate of water demands the development would have when it is built out, a description of the water supply that will serve the project and any water conservation efforts that may be implemented.Those reports would have to be drafted by a professional engineer or a water supply expert, according to text of the legislation.If a proposed development will be served by a local water provider, local governments may allow developers to submit a letter which would also be prepared by a professional engineer or water supply expert stating the water supply entitys commitment and ability to provide an adequate water supply for the proposed development.The bills language said that while local land use and developmental approval decisions are a matter of local concern, ensuring the adequacy of water for new developments is a matter of statewide concern and necessary for the preservation of public health, safety and welfare and the environment of Colorado.Garfield County Commissioner John Martin said the proposed legislation would cost the county simply because we are going to have to have a water engineer and a hydrologist give us a report.We will also have to depend on the state water engineer to make sure (the water supply for a planned development) is acceptable, said Martin, a Republican. It is another step, but why not? It is a precaution, I am OK with it.Martin said the Colorado River Water Conservation District is supporting the bill in concept and that Colorado Counties a professional organization for the states county commissioners is supporting the bill with a couple of amendments.Contact Phillip Yates: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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