Western drought is in the news and Coloradans are well versed after 2002 and 2012. But it isn’t behind us, the state is always readying itself for future water shortage. The Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan prepares us for drought while the Water Availability Task Force monitors conditions on a monthly basis. Regionally, many Coloradans have shared their perspectives on how to respond to drought during a series of Drought Forum workshops coordinated by the Western Governors’ Association over the past six months, including emphasis on ways that drought response differed in 2012 compared to 2002. From the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Denver Water, and from Badger Creek Dairy in Northern Colorado and Xcel Energy, Coloradans have played a significant role in the Drought Forum discussion. Now, through educational public webinars, there’s a new opportunity to get involved in regional drought preparedness.
By Carlee Brown, Policy Advisor, WGA
With drought conditions plaguing California, Nevada and other states – and with the widespread drought of 2012 that dramatically affected Colorado and 16 other western states still in mind – drought management and response is taking center stage across the West.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, created the Western Governors’ Drought Forum as a framework for states, communities and industry to share best practices on drought policy, preparedness and management.
Now, WGA is opening the discussion to a broad audience through the Western Governors’ Drought Forum Webinar Series, which will offer five in-depth discussions on drought management and policy topics. Each of the webinars will include a 40-minute panel discussion by three expert panelists followed by a 20-minute opportunity for questions and discussion for all attendees. Webinars will be recorded and made available online.
- 11:“Once Marginal, Now Crucial: The Growing Demand for Re-used, Produced, and Brackish Water” will explore the technological and regulatory obstacles to utilizing re-used, produced, and brackish water.
- 25:“Community Outreach and Consumer Technology for Municipal Water Use” will highlight how utilities, technology developers, NGOs, and citizens are teaming up to reduce municipal consumption of water.
- 11:“Tip of the Spear: The Horizon for Drought Data, Modelling, and Mapping Technology” examines how scientists use data to understand drought and help policymakers anticipate dry conditions.
- 25:“Managing Forest Health for Water Resources” explains the latest science on forest management for water resource needs as well as best practices to add security to water portfolios.
- 8:“One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Why Variation in Hydrology and Legal Structures means that Drought Looks Different across the West” will highlight how solutions tailored to the needs of specific communities can be utilized across the region.
The webinar series is free, but pre-registration is required so sign up now!
WGA will issue a final report in June of 2015 summarizing the key findings of the Western Governors’ Drought Forum. By attending the webinar series, participants will get a preview of the central policy issues identified through the Drought Forum.
Read more through the following CFWE resources:
- Check out ‘How Precious is Our Water’ on page 29 of the Winter 2012 issue of Headwaters magazine
- Learn about Climate and Drought through our ‘Water is…’ page
- Attend CFWE’s Climate and Colorado’s Water Future workshop March 13. Learn more and register here.
Carlee Brown is a policy advisor for the Western Governors’ Association. Carlee’s work focuses on drought and water regulatory issues that uniquely impact the West. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in American Studies and a MS in Earth Systems, both with a concentration on agricultural policy.
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