Conservation, Sportsmen Groups Applaud Governor Polis’ Support for Water in State of the State Address

January 10, 2019

Contact: Matt Rice, ‭803-422-5244‬

Denver, CO — Today, in response to Governor Jared Polis’ first State of the State address, several conservation and sportsmen’s groups praised the Governor’s commitment to supporting Colorado’s Water Plan and ensuring the state’s water security.

During the address, Governor Polis committed to providing bipartisan, sustainable funding for Colorado’s Water Plan. Governor Polis commended his predecessor Governor John Hickenlooper’s role in developing the Water Plan, and pledged that his administration would do its part to improve and implement that plan. Colorado’s Water Plan forecasts a statewide deficit between water supply and demand by 2050. The Colorado River Basin is in its 19th year of drought, with major shortages predicted to start as early as this year.

Following the address, major conservation and sportsmen’s groups released the following statements:

“We commend Governor Polis for recognizing that Colorado’s water security is critical to our state’s economy, environment, and future growth, and that it needs to be top-of-mind for all of our leaders,” said ​Bart Miller, Healthy Rivers Program Director at Western Resource Advocates. ​“Especially after a year of widespread drought and severe wildfire, Coloradans know that there is a growing gap between our water demands and the amount supplied by rain and snow. We must invest in water innovation and conservation, while protecting and enhancing rivers, rural communities and water resources. And all of this must start with fully funding and implementing Colorado’s Water Plan.”

“In Colorado, our rivers are a fundamental component of what makes this such an incredible place to live. Prioritizing funding for Colorado’s Water Plan does not only protect our rivers — it protects our way of life,” said ​Matt Rice, Director of the Colorado River Basin Program at American Rivers. ​“We’re grateful for Governor Polis’ demonstrated commitment, and we look forward to continuing to bolster his leadership on water issues.”

“We welcome Governor Polis’ support for addressing the challenges facing Colorado’s water supply. His comments are an encouraging step forward, but they are also only a first step. Now words must turn into action. Additional attention and resources are needed to implement Colorado’s Water Plan — and in doing so, safeguard our rivers streams and our clean, reliable supply of drinking water for generations to come,” said Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director for The Nature Conservancy.

“Governor Polis’ remarks are a recognition not only of the importance of water to Colorado families, but of the water challenges that Colorado could face and how imperative it is that Colorado secures its water future,” said​ Brian Jackson, Senior Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. ​“It will take sustained action and investment to turn these ideas into reality, and we look forward to working with the Governor and the state legislature to realize them.”

“Colorado’s Water Plan is essential to protecting and sustaining Colorado’s water supplies for the people and birds that rely on them. Future generations—all of whom depend on our ability to be forward-thinking about our water—will benefit from the steps we take now,” said ​Abby Burk, Western Rivers Regional Program Manager at Audubon Rockies. ​“We’re grateful to Governor Polis for his leadership on this issue and are committed to ensuring that the Governor and other state leaders invest in healthy rivers for our state.”

“Sportsmen and women agree with Governor Polis that protecting Colorado’s water and other natural resources is critical for our state’s economy. We look forward to working with his administration to conserve fish and wildlife and promote recreation opportunities that allow all Coloradans to enjoy our rivers and watersheds.” said ​Melinda Kassen, Senior Counsel at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.