SR-19  Meeting Colorado’s Future Water Supply Needs: Opportunities and Challenges Associated With Potential Agricultural Water Conservation Measures

The Colorado Agricultural Water Alliance is an association of agricultural organizations committed to the preservation of irrigated agriculture through the wise use of Colorado's water resources. Agriculture in Colorado currently owns and manages the majority of the state's water rights, putting this water to beneficial use for the production of the state’s food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy crops. There is a public perception that agricultural water conservation measures such as canal lining and conversion to sprinklers can easily provide additional water supplies to meet growing demands for urban, industrial, recreation, and environmental water needs in Colorado. To address these perceptions, an analysis of the current scientific literature and the administrative precedents in Colorado was undertaken to identify the opportunities and challenges associated with irrigation water conservation.