Last month, Colorado adopted a $20 billion water plan to address population growth by conserving, reusing and storing more water.
The plan also means more water will be shared by farmers and cities, and less will be diverted from west-to-east across the mountains.
The document is almost 500 pages and was created after the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) reviewed 30,000 submissions by residents.
Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered the plan in 2013 after a decade of statewide discussions following population growth and drought.
Colorado is facing projected shortfalls of 163 billion gallons of water annually by the year 2050, when the current population of 5.3 million is expected to double.
According to Hickenlooper, if Colorado improves its conservation practices, diverting more water across the mountains won’t be necessary.
Front Range cities currently rely on 24 tunnels and ditches to divert approximately 262 billion gallons of water annually west-to-east over the Continental Divide.
The plan includes a framework for assessing possible unspecified trans-mountain diversions from the western side of the Continental Divide to Front Range cities, when conditions allow it.
The water plan also prioritizes a conservation effort across the state, pushes for the protection of irrigated cropland, as well as promotes building additional reservoirs.