The bill directs the Colorado water conservation board (board), in consultation with the state engineer, to contract with a Colorado institution of higher education (institution) to conduct a study to:
- Evaluate ways to maximize the beneficial use of water within Colorado and implement the storage recommendations of the Colorado water plan by storing water underground when water is available;
- Evaluate ways to minimize the amount of water that flows out of Colorado to downstream states, without risking noncompliance with applicable interstate compacts, United States supreme court rulings, other federal law, decreed absolute and conditional water rights, the prior appropriation system, and Colorado's anti-speculation doctrine;
- Specific aquifers that are hydrologically and legally available to be used for underground storage and subsequent beneficial use;
- Sources of revenue that could be used to pay for the underground storage projects; and
- Planned potential or existing underground storage projects that would meet the objectives identified in the study;
- Examine the role that various water entities might play in financing and implementing underground storage projects; and
- Recommend legislative changes needed to implement managed underground storage projects in the identified aquifers.
The bill directs the board or the institution to submit a report summarizing the results of the study to the water resources review committee by August 1, 2022, which shall either have legislation drafted to implement the study's recommendations or submit the study along with its own recommendations to the committees of the general assembly with jurisdiction over water resources by January 1, 2023.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)