The Colorado River Water Bank Work Group (WBWG) commissioned this study in 2019 as part of its examination of the possibility of a water demand management program in Western Colorado that includes voluntary, temporary, and compensated reductions in water use. Demand management is being evaluated in each of the Upper Colorado River Basin states due to concerns about risks of a future Colorado River Compact curtailment. Engaging stakeholders was of the utmost importance to WBWG and BBC engaged stakeholders in each of the four major Western Slope river basins to gather input and review results, focusing on three primary objectives:
1. Examining and documenting baseline economic conditions and trends in West Slope communities;
2. Estimating the magnitude of potential secondary economic and social impacts on Western Slope communities from reductions in agricultural water use; and
3. Identifying strategies for maximizing benefits and avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating costs.
Water management guidance: The WBWG and the State of Colorado used BBC’s research to help evaluate the benefits and costs of using demand management to comply with the State’s Colorado River Compact obligations.
Policy development: Demand management remains an ongoing and controversial topic. However, BBC’s research is recognized as the best information available regarding potential social and economic impacts.