Lorelei Cloud Makes History in a Critical Time as First Tribal Council Member on the Colorado Water Conservation Board

Lorelei Cloud joined the Colorado Water Conservation Board in March as the first tribal council member to serve in the position.

Cloud, the vice chair of the Southern Ute Tribal Council, was appointed to the position by Gov. Jared Polis. She joins the board at a critical time for water not just in Colorado, but across the American West.

As the representative for the San Miguel-Dolores-San Juan drainage basin, she represents land that covers not just the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute reservations, but also 10 counties in southwestern Colorado.

She spoke to Colorado Matters about including Indigenous voices in water discussions and the challenges ahead for the Colorado River.

Colorado Outlines Its Plan for How the State Will Deal With Water Shortages Worsened by Climate Change and Population Growth

Colorado’s water leaders have released an updated blueprint detailing how the state will manage and conserve water supplies as climate change and population growth strain the system in unprecedented ways.

The first Colorado Water Plan was released in 2015 after back-to-back years of historic drought and sought to address the possibility that the state might not have enough water in the next few decades.

Colorado’s Water Leader Thinks Most of the Needed Colorado River Cuts Should Be Made by Arizona, Nevada and California

Last month, the federal government dropped a bombshell on the states that share the Colorado River.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation gave Colorado and the other six states in the basin just two months to come up with a plan to drastically reduce the amount of river water they use. If they don’t, the federal government has threatened to use its emergency authority to make the cuts it feels are necessary.

Even in a ‘Megadrought,’ Some Eye New or Expanded Colorado River Dams

Even as a persistent drought strangles the Colorado River and threatens the viability of giant reservoirs and dams erected decades ago, Western states and local governments are eyeing more projects to tap the flow of the 1,450-mile river and its tributaries.

Whether those potential new reservoirs or other diversions would further tax an already overwhelmed system, or actually help states and municipalities adapt to a changing climate while making better use of their dwindling supplies, is a point of contention between environmentalists and water managers.

With The Colorado River in Crisis, Those Who Decide Its Future Gather Under One Roof

The river that supplies water to about 40 million people is getting worryingly dry. Since the federal government officially declared a water shortage this summer, the Colorado River has been thrust into national headlines, and so have the scientists and decision makers who track and shape its future.

Colorado’s Water Plan has Made Progress Toward Ensuring Supply, but the Work’s Far From Done

In the five years since Colorado’s Water Plan took effect, the state has awarded nearly $500 million in loans and grants for water projects, cities have enacted strict drought plans, communities have written nearly two dozen locally based stream-restoration plans and crews have been hard at work on improving irrigation systems and wastewater treatment plants. But there are big challenges ahead — drought, population growth, accelerating climate change, budget cuts, wildfires and competing demands for water, among others.

Opinion: Speculators Buying Up Colorado Water Rights? Part Seven

Buying water from Colorado farmers and ranchers and other water users, to provide it to California and Arizona farmers and ranchers, and to casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, is not a simple matter. But a fair number of Colorado water experts, and financial experts, and agricultural experts, have been working with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to design a workable process.

Western Colorado Water Purchases are Stirring up Worries About the Future of Farming

For five years, Zay Lopez tended vegetables, hayfields and cornfields, chickens, and a small flock of sheep here on the western edge of Colorado’s Grand Valley – farming made possible by water from the Colorado River.

Lopez has a passion for agriculture, and for a while, he carved out a niche with his business, The Produce Peddler, trucking veggies seven hours away to a farmers market in Pinedale, Wyoming.

Water is Colorado’s Most Critical Resource. So Why isn’t it Central to Every Local Land-Use Decision?

In the early 1980s, the small city of Woodland Park started strategically planning how to protect its water supply for the future.

“Because we have all junior water rights and a limited water supply, we knew we must be very careful about how we grow,” said Sally Riley, planning director for Woodland Park, which is home to approximately 7,500 people in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. “We’ve pretty much mapped out exactly how our 6.5 square miles are going to grow.”

To ensure that they don’t develop beyond the limits of their water supply, Riley says the city has closely integrated its land-use decisions with local water conservation and efficiency goals that align with the Colorado Water Plan.