Filling Green Lake
We are working on a Strategic Water Plan which describes all of the County's water rights, infrastructure and operations. With an eye to Year 2050, the Plan will identify possible futures for placing these water resources to beneficial use. Primary to the analysis of beneficial use will be a methodology for the Board of County Commissioners to determine, on a case-by-case basis, which uses of water will be most beneficial in developing a replacement economy. Categorically, a replacement economy in Clear Creek County means increasing total property assessed valuation in commercial, industrial and other classifications to replace declining "Natural Resources – Metallic" total assessed valuation (See Clear Creek County Abstract of Assessment). County Water Resources will be used most beneficially when they enable value-enhancing land uses and improvements.
Second, the Strategic Water Plan will identify strategic and unique opportunities for Clear Creek County which are embedded within the currently evolving State Water Plan. The County's headwaters position in the South Platte Basin provides two unique opportunities: (1) Water can be conserved at high elevations since freezing temperatures prevent evaporation during winter months; and (2) Water can be released when needed for any purpose for any downstream user. The State Water Plan sets out criteria for State investment in water resources. Clear Creek County's proactive membership in the South Platte Basin Roundtable has positioned us for near-term and long-term state investment.
Through reasoned and thoughtful management, Clear Creek County can utilize its water resources to provide adequate permanent/renewable supply for economic development within Clear Creek County, and short term/temporary supply for downstream South Platte Basin consumers. The returns for placing County waters to beneficial use in Clear Creek County will be in the form of property tax, jobs, sales tax and other secondary benefits resulting from the land uses enabled by provision of water. The returns for Clear Creek County in placing waters to beneficial use downstream will be in the form of direct revenue paid for the water. Consistent with current policy, out-of-county users would pay significantly more for the water than in-county users, and the terms and quantities of water offered to downstream users would not threaten availability of the water for future uses in Clear Creek County.
Third, the Strategic Water Plan will provide for record-keeping, reporting and scheduling for Water Resource operations, and for the implementation of the Clear Creek Basin-wide Augmentation Plan.