Image Link 01-17-2017

"Integrating Water and Land Use Planning"

Joint presentation sponsored by the Water Advisory Committee (WAC) and Planning Commission (PC) by Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board titled "Integrating Water and Land Use Planning" held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 in the BOCC chambers.

Guiding statement for this presentation:
"Every community can do better on water conservation and efficiency via locally determined measures such as, but not limited to, reinvestment in aging infrastructure, community education, enhanced building codes, and water sensitive land use planning."

Reasons for integrating water resource planning and land use planning:

  1. Colorado's population is growing rapidly.
  2. Our state is looking at a water supply gap - so conservation of water is needed.
  3. Need to plan ways to conserve water ahead of development - for communities to thrive in times of water scarcity.
  4. Water supply is decreasing in our state.
  5. Need coordinated planning within city and municipal departments, special districts, etc.
  6. Many cities along Front Range have reduced water usage already - plumbing codes, etc. (reductions currently coming from the water side).
  7. Water planning: rates and tap fees, outdoor water use. Land use planning: subdivision/zoning ordinances, site plan regulations, plumbing codes. Areas that overlap between water and land use: education and planning integration.
  8. Some of the state water roundtables have already formulated policy statements supporting the integration of land use and water resource planning.
  9. Elbert County is well positioned to coordinate these 2 items since we are currently updating our Master Plan.
  10. By 2025, 75% of citizens in CO will hopefully live in communities that have incorporated water saving actions into land use planning.
  11. SB008-15 requires trainings be provided by state entities to promote water conservation in land use planning process.
  12. Land use and building regulations can change the type of housing, plumbing, and landscaping allowed (to facilitate water conservation).
  13. With limited water supplies and increasing population, predominant housing type cannot be single-family homes on landscaped lots - more diverse housing types needed along with regulations of fixtures and landscapes.
  14. Landscaping possibilities to limit water consumption- soil quality, water conserving plants, turf limitations, irrigation efficiency, rain sensors, spray nozzles, rain water harvesting, etc.
  15. Local counties/cities need to decide how they want to use water resources going forward - i.e., ag vs. housing, etc.
  16. Aquifer recharge is being studied as a method of storing water.

What can we do now to address these issues?

  1. Webinars available through the state about integrating water and land use planning. (
  2. Comprehensive (master) plan should include water conservation goals (showed some possible strategies), zoning and land use strategies, and utilize water providers and experts to assist.
  3. Colorado's current effective practices of water conservation: clustered developments (smaller lot size with more open space), infill development, fixture efficiency, xeriscape, reuse treated wastewater for irrigation, overlay zones, mixed housing types.
  4. Westminster is a good example of a municipality that has systematically integrated water supply and land use planning. They limit the number of building permits issued and give precedence to developers who focus more on water conservation and integration of water concepts in developments....utilizing a point system.
  5. Questions posed to EC to be thinking about moving into the future:
    -How best can EC encourage water-efficient land use patterns in the future?
    -What water-related goals should EC include in the comprehensive plan?
    -What are major concerns or barriers? What can be done to address them?

Elbert County needs to be proactive about water as we look at future growth.

-Jill Duvall