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Shared Vision Planning

June 20, 2008

Colorado Water Supply Stakeholders Agree to Shared Vision Planning Study

At a June 3-4 Shared Vision Planning (SVP) Workshop, stakeholders decided to go forward on a SVP study of flow regimes for the water supply alternative favored by two Colorado cities. The workshop was part of a pilot sponsored by the Corps Western States Watershed Study in cooperation with the cities of Greeley and Fort Collins Colorado, the Nature Conservancy, the Western States Water Council and others.

This pilot is the first test of the SVP process in the Corps 404 regulatory program. Faced with increasing municipal water demands, Greeley and Fort Collins have proposed enlarging the Halligan and Seaman Reservoirs and have applied to the Corps for a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

While Corps regulators review alternatives (including the applicants' preferred alternative), IWR's Shared Vision Planning team, the permit applicants and stakeholders are jointly assessing whether a SVP approach could be used to improve streamflow management under the preferred alternative or some variation. Since last October, IWR's team has worked with stakeholders to develop a Shared Vision Planning model of the water system.

The workshop showed stakeholders how they could use the collaboratively developed prototype model to formulate and evaluate different options for streamflow management. Workshop participants varied reservoir sizes and operating rules to improve scores based on the Nature Conservancy flow guidelines. The second day featured discussions among the participants on five "triage" questions that help determine whether Shared Vision Planning is likely to be a useful approach in a particular situation. The participants' answers were generally quite positive.

The workshop concluded with the decision by the cities and stakeholders to conduct an eighteen-month Shared Vision Planning study, pending approval of a detailed scope of work. A status report on this project to the Western Governors Association is planned for November.