Date: 08/19/2009

Water Efficiency Grant Program


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

2:26 PM -- Water Efficiency Grant Program

Jennifer Gimbel, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), explained that the Water Efficiency Grant Program is a statutory program that will repeal July 1, 2012, unless the legislature passes a law to extend the program (Section 37-60-126 (12) (c), C.R.S. She also asked Veva Deheza, who administers the Water Efficiency Grant Program, to describe its activities and discuss possible legislation to continue the program.

2:27 PM

Veva Deheza, Section Chief for the CWCB’s Office of Water Conservation & Drought Planning, explained that the Water Efficiency Grant Program provides financial assistance to communities, water providers, and other eligible entities for water conservation activities and projects. She explained that, since its creation in 2005 (House Bill 05-1254) to April 2008 $1.6 million in grants to 41 entities have been issued. These moneys were used to develop conservation plans, landscape audits, and retrofit programs. Section 37-60-126 (2), C.R.S., requires municipalities and other water providers with total customer demand of at least 2,000 acre-feet of water to adopt and implement a water use efficiency plan. Entities that do not adopt such plans are ineligible to obtain loans from the CWCB and Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. She explained that 35 of the state's 100 covered entities have filed a water use efficiency plan with the CWCB. Most of these plans were developed using Water Efficiency Grant moneys and some of these entities have applied for grants to implement their water efficiency plans. She explained that the legislature passed House Bill 09-1017 that specifies that moneys in the Water Efficiency Grant Program Cash Fund are to be continuously appropriated to the CWCB for the grant program and that such moneys are available until the projects are completed. Any moneys remaining in the fund after June 30, 2012, are transferred to the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund. Ms. Deheza requested that the Water Resources Review Committee sponsor a bill to repeal the July 1, 2012, repeal date and continue the program indefinitely. She also explained that approximately $1.5 million remains in the Water Efficiency Grant Fund which is sufficient to continue the program through FY 2012-13. She also asked that bill transfer $550,000 from Tier 2 of the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund to the Water Efficiency Grant Program for the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2012, and each fiscal year thereafter.

2:37 PM

Ms. Gimbel responded to questions from the committee about moneys available from the CWCB for water efficiency and drought planning. She also described Governor Ritter's support for water efficiency and drought planning, and the growing interest from water providers to implement their water conservation plans. Ms. Deheza described public outreach for water efficiency and how the information about water efficiency is used by basin roundtables and the Interbasin Compact Committee. Ms. Deheza and Ms. Gimbel also responded to questions about the proposed bill to continue the Water Efficiency Grant Program and to transfer additional Tier 2 moneys of the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund for the program.