Water

Our “On the Issues” pages draw from speeches, interviews, campaign websites, our candidate questionnaire and prior media coverage, including our own. These pages will continue to be updated.

Steve Barlock

On raising taxes for water projects: “From the day I announced, I have supported updating our water systems including fighting in the courts to modernize outdated water pacts which allow California to use Colorado water instead of desalination for their water needs. 21st century Colorado Water will require increasing water storage with a focus on hydroelectric energy, but we can accomplish these initiatives within current funding and by partnering with private industry without undermining TABOR or burdening taxpayers more.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “Under Governor Hickenlooper, Colorado gave up 8% of the water it had rights to use. The globalist idea of imposed poverty through scarcity is not the answer for Colorado. The solution is not to have government mandates for Colorado citizens as wealthy Hollywood elite fill up their swimming pools with water from Rocky Mountain snowfall. I will lead the fight in the courts for Colorado to keep more of its water, and I will not give it freely away to other states as Governor Hickenlooper has done. I am ‘All in for Colorado,’ and that starts with our water.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cynthia Coffman

No publicly stated position at this time

Lew Gaiter

In The Colorado Independent’s candidate questionnaire, Mitchell said he would not support asking Coloradans to raise taxes to fund water projects, and he would not support mandatory year-round watering restrictions and/or limits on planting in new housing developments. 

On raising taxes for water projects: “While I am in support of building more water storage projects, these projects are best funded by the beneficiaries.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Noel Ginsburg

Improve our clean water infrastructure to ensure every Coloradan has access to reliable, clean drinking water. We can achieve this by following the solutions outlined in the Colorado Water Plan, and by utilizing the Statewide Planning and Development board that Noel is proposing to forge new partnerships between state agencies, communities, water boards, and water utilities to create financial plans that fund the water improvement projects that Colorado needs.” Noel for Colorado

On raising taxes for water projects: “The Colorado Water Plan was meant to address our water needs over the next 30 years. We cannot abandon the plan, and must find the appropriate funding sources to ensure that a lack of water does not impede the future development and quality of life for our state.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “I would also leverage innovative technologies to maximize the use of our water and create new water savings by reducing total consumption.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Mike Johnston

On raising taxes for water projects: “While I agree that we will need increased storage in the near future, at this time, I don’t see a need for the state to seek a broad tax for water projects. Local authorities are moving to expand their own capacity. The state role is to encourage conservation and to ensure safe water quality.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “These remain local decisions which can be made based on local conditions. Our state is large, and one basin can be in a drought condition, while others are having extraordinarily wet years. I do support increased incentives for conservation and look forward to working with stakeholders to implement those, and on this campaign, I have called for increasing water conservations practices both in urban and rural communities.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cary Kennedy

Through successful collaboration, Colorado took an important first step and created the State Water Plan. The Colorado State Water Plan establishes a goal of conserving 400,000 acre-feet by 2050, a 35% reduction. Achieving the goal will mean reducing per-capita water demand by about 1% per year by 2050. As governor, I will provide the bold leadership needed to invest in and implement the recommendations set out by the plan.” Cary Kennedy for Governor

On raising taxes for water projects: “We must protect Colorado’s treasured water for the future, especially in the face of rapid growth, so that Colorado’s families have clean drinking water, we protect our state’s agricultural heritage and Colorado’s rivers stay healthy. We cannot continue to take more from our rivers, drain our aquifers, and dry up farmland to supply water to a growing urban population. We need to fully implement the state water plan to prevent critical water shortages by 2050. That being said, any water plan must prioritize and do much more with conservation and efficiency measures before we consider new storage facilities.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “My plan for protecting water focuses on conservation first. I will ensure that Colorado is on a path to conserve 400,000 acre-feet by 2050. To promote conservation I will increase reuse and recharge projects, prioritize conservation in new developments, rehab and repair existing water infrastructure, and expand alternative transfer methods to increase efficiency across the system.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Greg Lopez

“There is an old saying “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting”.  While the history of water in Colorado can be complicated, what matters is meeting our needs today, and the years to come. Water coordination is not just important in our state, but also to the inter-state compacts of which Colorado is a part. As Governor, I will commit to examining every angle that affects the present and future of Colorado’s water. I pledge to conduct a thorough review of the Colorado Water Plan generated by the Colorado Water Conservation Board – and work very closely with them, the Colorado Water Congress, and to listen to the many voices that sit on Colorado’s regional basin roundtables. Looking at innovative water management or water supply projects will be key.” Lopez for Governor

On raising taxes for water projects: “The projected water shortage mid-century is directly tied to the projected population growth. Unmanaged growth and overzealous rezoning of agricultural land to residential is causing tremendous problems in our existing water supplies. I would prefer to have all county, municipal, land planners and planning commission members be more informed as to how residential, industrial and commercial land use approvals truly are impacting the water resources. Few Coloradans understand that only 17% of our water usage comes from ground water resources and that 83% comes from surface water resources.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “A better approach to water conservation is to better utilize ‘graywater’ in irrigation systems. Any wash water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called graywater. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential ‘waste’ water.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Donna Lynne

As one of only two headwater states in the country, our state plays a unique role in ensuring a sustainable water future for all Coloradans. Our statewide Water Plan provides the blueprint for the kind of conservation, storage and innovation we need to protect and fund our water future, and as governor I will continue this work.” Donna Lynne for Colorado

On raising taxes for water projects: “Guiding the implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan – and identifying a funding source– will be one of the key tasks facing our next governor, and I will work in a collaborative approach to analyze potential funding sources, build support and ensure we accomplish this goal.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “Coloradans have demonstrated an awareness and understanding of the need to conserve water without mandatory restrictions. As we grow, we must all embrace ways to build more storage and conserve more water, and I support the ideas put forward in Colorado’s Water Plan which includes goals for Colorado to address its projected future water needs and measure our progress.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Victor Mitchell

In The Colorado Independent’s candidate questionnaire, Mitchell said he would not support asking Coloradans to raise taxes to fund water projects, and he would not support mandatory year-round watering restrictions and/or limits on planting in new housing developments. 

Jared Polis

“As your Governor, I will protect our right to use water that originates here, while planning for a warmer, drier, more populated future. Colorado’s Water Plan was built from the grassroots up with the many voices of Colorado’s water community… Let’s face it, we’re all stakeholders when it comes to water. Gone are the days when one part or industry of our state runs roughshod over another when it comes to water. As our history has shown, water can divide Colorado. But, as Colorado’s Water Plan demonstrates, water can also unite us. This is hard but rewarding work. We must harness our grassroots structure to implement smart water infrastructure and conservation measures that attack the forecasted gap between supply and demand.” Jared Polis for Colorado

On raising taxes for water projects: “Colorado already only has access to approximately a third of the water we create, and I will be a strong advocate for Colorado’s needs. While we implement Colorado’s Water Plan, we should remain nimble and flexible in updating it to take advantage of new revenue streams, monitor water quality and supply, take note of new water data, use new technology to produce a more resilient water supply, and prioritize conservation.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “I believe in enacting long-term land-use and development policies that have the environment top of mind, and are thoughtfully enacted to prepare for the potential for drought, and the growing impacts of climate change.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Doug Robinson

On raising taxes for water projects: “We have a plan for Colorado’s water; the problem is there has been no leadership committed to advancing that plan.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “Conservation is an important part of our water plan, but blanket regulations are ill-suited to real world problems.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Walker Stapleton

“Colorado is blessed with an abundance of natural resources: coal, oil, gas, as well as wind, sunshine and rivers that are not only a part of our way of life, but a vital supply of energy. Together, these elements power our economy and our homes. Our state has become a pioneer in balancing responsible economic development with environmental stewardship, and I look to continue this trend in the Governor’s office.” Stapleton for Governor

Erik Underwood

On raising taxes for water projects: “I would put it up for statewide vote as a bond initiative. I would also look at a tourism tax so average Coloradans are not affected by that tax. Water is important to our survival, and it is imperative that Coloradans know why we would want a bond initiative or specialty tax.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On water restrictions: “I would leave that to individual counties around Colorado. If it became a serious problem statewide, then I would look to legislation fixes.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus, Creative Commons, Flickr