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Capitol Update: 2014 Water Legislation

March 3rd, 2014

Filed under Home Page, Newsletter

Dear Friends,

As you may have learned from my communication statewide this summer, the state is developing the Colorado Water Plan that focuses on how to address long-term water needs. In the headwaters region, stream flows and the environment are two critical elements that influence our economy. You can just ask our fishing, rafting, and tourism industries what impact drought has on our economy when water temperature rises, our rivers run low, or sometimes even run dry. Over the interim the Water Resources Review Committee, we worked on legislation to help better utilize this precious resource, while protecting Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine. I will be sponsoring the water legislation below.

HB14-1026 – Flexible Water Markets – Flexible Water Markets is a new concept developed from a state sponsored research study. It will create a more flexible change-in-use system for water rights by allowing a water right owner to apply for a “flexible use” designation when fallowing, reducing consumptive-use cropping, non-consumptive uses, water banking, or developing other alternatives to prevent the permanent dry-up of irrigated lands. The water right resulting from this change-in-use case can be flexibly applied to different uses based on the yearly conditions.

SB14-023 – Reduced diversions through water efficiency savings -This bill is a product of a several years of effort identifying incentives for agricultural water efficiency.  Last year, SB13-019 protected our headwaters by allowing water right owners to conserve by diverting less five out of every ten years without it impacting their historical consumptive use. After an extensive stakeholder process, this year I introduced a bill to incent irrigation efficiency and not penalize the water rights of those making irrigation infrastructure improvements.  It will allow the “saved” non-consumptive water from efficiency upgrades to be put back into the stream while protecting the water rights holders and downstream users.

HB14-1030 – Hydroelectric Generation Incentives – Small hydroelectric generation is an underdeveloped resource that can be a valuable asset to the irrigation community in particular. This bill aligns Colorado with the recent streamlining requirements for small hydro approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). HB14-1030 will ensure that project applicants can simultaneously clear federal and state review as quickly as 60 days without weakening or undermining the safety of the environment and can add new jobs to Colorado’s Economy.

SB14-115 – Public Comment and General Assembly Approval of the Water Plan – SB14-115 establishes the state legislature’s role in developing Colorado’s new water plan, which will outline the future of our state’s most vital natural resource. When dealing with something as important as the Colorado Water Plan, it is necessary that as many voices are heard as possible, including elected officials involvement along with their constituents. This bill will broaden the scope of participation in this planning process. SB14-115 seeks more input and also affirms the countless hours of effort put into the plan by Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and stakeholders at the grassroots level to reach out to all Coloradans. Everyone should have an opinion on this plan and I encourage you all to get involved.

Sincerely,

Gail Schwartz
Senate District 5

We are Listening
Health Care Resort Rates: Community meeting on health care rates in mountain communities
Earlier this month Representative Hamner and I hosted a meeting in El Jebel, Eagle County to discuss the resort rates and access to health care in mountain communities. Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and health care providers addressed local officials, business owners, and individuals, and community members offered many helpful concerns and solutions.  At the meeting many issues were identified including access to catastrophic plans for individuals over 30 years old.  We have since worked to assure that a catastrophic plan is now available and can be accessed through the  Connect for Health Colorado website.  I have follow up meetings scheduled with Commissioner Salazar, County Commissioners, and interested citizens so we can continue to find a solution to the high resort rates health care costs our workforce and community members are facing.  In the near future, we are planning another meeting in Summit County to address

Delta County: Community meeting on the mine idling and resulting job loss
On February 8th I helped organize a meeting with state resources in Paonia to discuss how the community can recover following the significant job losses resulting from the idling of the Elk Creek mine.  OEDIT hosted a follow-up meeting this week to further discuss the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Program to continue their efforts to support the community.

Stay Updated & Informed
  • State Water Plan
  • Update on Hemp in Colorado
    • Registration will be available March 1, 2014.
  • Judicial Learning Center – If you are planning a visit to the capitol, make sure to reserve a tour of the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Learning Center. It is a great way for students and adults to learn about our court system and tour this important new building.

Upcoming Dates:

  • March 7th – 5pm Town Hall @ CMC in Leadville
  • March 8th – Chafee County
  • March 15th – Pitkin County
  • March 22nd – Eagle County
  • March 23rd – Gunnison County

Committee Smart Act Hearings for the Department of Natural Resources


HB14-1021: Concerning violations on Independence Pass. Thanks for the support in committee from Commissioner Newman, Sherriff DiSalvo, and County Manager Jon Peacock


I’m honored to have received COSEIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I’ve sponsored over 30 energy bills over the past 8 years to diversify our energy portfolio.


Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 2518 for their testimony and research on HB14-1024 which designates the Claret Cup Cactus as Colorado’s official state cactus.

Stay in Touch!
(303) 866-4871   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |    visit my website

Capitol Update: 2014 Water Legislation

Dear Friends,

As you may have learned from my communication statewide this summer, the state is developing the Colorado Water Plan that focuses on how to address long-term water needs. In the headwaters region, stream flows and the environment are two critical elements that influence our economy. You can just ask our fishing, rafting, and tourism industries what impact drought has on our economy when water temperature rises, our rivers run low, or sometimes even run dry. Over the interim the Water Resources Review Committee, we worked on legislation to help better utilize this precious resource, while protecting Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine. I will be sponsoring the water legislation below.

HB14-1026 – Flexible Water Markets – Flexible Water Markets is a new concept developed from a state sponsored research study. It will create a more flexible change-in-use system for water rights by allowing a water right owner to apply for a “flexible use” designation when fallowing, reducing consumptive-use cropping, non-consumptive uses, water banking, or developing other alternatives to prevent the permanent dry-up of irrigated lands. The water right resulting from this change-in-use case can be flexibly applied to different uses based on the yearly conditions.

SB14-023 – Reduced diversions through water efficiency savings -This bill is a product of a several years of effort identifying incentives for agricultural water efficiency.  Last year, SB13-019 protected our headwaters by allowing water right owners to conserve by diverting less five out of every ten years without it impacting their historical consumptive use. After an extensive stakeholder process, this year I introduced a bill to incent irrigation efficiency and not penalize the water rights of those making irrigation infrastructure improvements.  It will allow the “saved” non-consumptive water from efficiency upgrades to be put back into the stream while protecting the water rights holders and downstream users.

HB14-1030 – Hydroelectric Generation Incentives – Small hydroelectric generation is an underdeveloped resource that can be a valuable asset to the irrigation community in particular. This bill aligns Colorado with the recent streamlining requirements for small hydro approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). HB14-1030 will ensure that project applicants can simultaneously clear federal and state review as quickly as 60 days without weakening or undermining the safety of the environment and can add new jobs to Colorado’s Economy.

SB14-115 – Public Comment and General Assembly Approval of the Water Plan – SB14-115 establishes the state legislature’s role in developing Colorado’s new water plan, which will outline the future of our state’s most vital natural resource. When dealing with something as important as the Colorado Water Plan, it is necessary that as many voices are heard as possible, including elected officials involvement along with their constituents. This bill will broaden the scope of participation in this planning process. SB14-115 seeks more input and also affirms the countless hours of effort put into the plan by Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and stakeholders at the grassroots level to reach out to all Coloradans. Everyone should have an opinion on this plan and I encourage you all to get involved.

Sincerely,

Gail Schwartz
Senate District 5

We are Listening
Health Care Resort Rates: Community meeting on health care rates in mountain communities
Earlier this month Representative Hamner and I hosted a meeting in El Jebel, Eagle County to discuss the resort rates and access to health care in mountain communities. Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and health care providers addressed local officials, business owners, and individuals, and community members offered many helpful concerns and solutions.  At the meeting many issues were identified including access to catastrophic plans for individuals over 30 years old.  We have since worked to assure that a catastrophic plan is now available and can be accessed through the  Connect for Health Colorado website.  I have follow up meetings scheduled with Commissioner Salazar, County Commissioners, and interested citizens so we can continue to find a solution to the high resort rates health care costs our workforce and community members are facing.  In the near future, we are planning another meeting in Summit County to address

Delta County: Community meeting on the mine idling and resulting job loss
On February 8th I helped organize a meeting with state resources in Paonia to discuss how the community can recover following the significant job losses resulting from the idling of the Elk Creek mine.  OEDIT hosted a follow-up meeting this week to further discuss the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Program to continue their efforts to support the community.

Stay Updated & Informed
  • State Water Plan
  • Update on Hemp in Colorado
    • Registration will be available March 1, 2014.
  • Judicial Learning Center – If you are planning a visit to the capitol, make sure to reserve a tour of the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Learning Center. It is a great way for students and adults to learn about our court system and tour this important new building.

Upcoming Dates:

  • March 7th – 5pm Town Hall @ CMC in Leadville
  • March 8th – Chafee County
  • March 15th – Pitkin County
  • March 22nd – Eagle County
  • March 23rd – Gunnison County

Committee Smart Act Hearings for the Department of Natural Resources


HB14-1021: Concerning violations on Independence Pass. Thanks for the support in committee from Commissioner Newman, Sherriff DiSalvo, and County Manager Jon Peacock


I’m honored to have received COSEIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I’ve sponsored over 30 energy bills over the past 8 years to diversify our energy portfolio.


Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 2518 for their testimony and research on HB14-1024 which designates the Claret Cup Cactus as Colorado’s official state cactus.

Stay in Touch!
(303) 866-4871   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |    visit my website