Part 2: Support and Data Resources


Support for Land Use and Water Planning

State Agencies

  • The Department of Local Affairs provides educational resources and assistance to local governments that include water conservation policies in their comprehensive (master) plans. 
  • The Colorado Water Conservation Board provides a range of funding opportunities through grant and loan programs, including Water Plan grants and regional experts to help applicants, as well as data, tools, and strategies. 

Other Assistance

Non-governmental and regional organizations, as well as academic institutions, provide support for communities looking to better integrate water and land use. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • Direct assistance 
    Sonoran Institute (including its Growing Water Smart Workshop), WaterNow Alliance’s Project Accelerator Program, and academic institutions (including student capstone projects)
  • General assistance
    Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, Western Resource Advocates, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Urban Land Institute, Colorado Stormwater Center, and several regionally-based non-governmental and governmental organizations
  • Networking and learning
    Growing Water Smart Peer-to-Peer Exchange (Sonoran Institute), Water Wise Development Coalition (led by the Urban Land Institute), Urban Water Conservation Professionals (Colorado WaterWise), Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association, American Planning Association’s Water and Planning Network, and more.  
  • Educational and professional development
    Water Education Colorado’s Water Fluency program and Colorado Water Center’s Water Literate Leaders of Northern Colorado.
  • Research and guidance
    Various nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions.

Colorado Water and Land Use Planning Alliance

To help coordinate this work, DOLA and CWCB co-facilitate the Colorado Water and Land Use Planning Alliance. The Alliance is a non-formal, multi-stakeholder group that includes participants from state agencies, local governments, advocacy organizations, research organizations, and other interested parties that come together to develop resources, provide technical assistance, and track progress on water and land use integration across Colorado.  

Water and Planning Data Sources and Resources 

State Data Sources

The Colorado Water Plan’s Analysis and Technical Update integrates data from multiple datasets, aggregated at the county, river basin, and statewide scale; however, certain scales or analyses can require additional database review or detailed reporting, and growth projections are challenging.

  • Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) 
    • The House Bill 10-1051 database provides water use data for understanding water demand for about 80% of state population as reported by water providers delivering more than 2,000 acre-feet of water per year
      • Lacks data for areas without a large water provider
      • Compliance and reporting issues can present challenges
      • Ability to compare water demand between communities is limited due to context (climate, demographic, industries, etc.)
    • The Water Plan Analysis and Technical Update (2019) provides modeling for five scenarios based on population, water supply, and demand projections through 2050
    • Water data requiring extraction/processing include:
      • Water efficiency plans
      • Drought plans
      • Basin Implementation Plans
      • Water demand estimates extrapolated from known water provider service areas to areas that do not report through 1051 requirements
  • Division of Water Resources (DWR)
    • HydroBase provides streamflows, diversion records, lake storage levels, water rights, water right calls, well applications, and more
      • Designed for water administration and to inform the public
  • CWCB and DWR
    • Colorado’s Decision Support System is a data-centered, water management system funded through CWCB with technical support from CWCB and DWR staff 
      • The goal of this system is to assist in making informed decisions regarding historical and future water use; data is pulled from DWR’s HydroBase database
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) 
    • Public Drinking Water System Online Water System Search contains general information, contacts, sample results, violations, inspection deficiencies, and online records
      • Database of Public Water Systems as delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Colorado State Demography Office 
    • Primary source for Colorado population and demographic information
    • Maps/GIS data for county, municipal, and special district boundaries
      • These boundaries can differ from actual water provider service areas
      • In some cases, counties may have more up-to-date special district boundaries
  • Colorado Department of Local Affairs 
    • DOLA has conducted a Land Use and Planning Capacity Survey roughly every five years since 1983, and most recently in 2020, to provide a snapshot of the current planning practices of Colorado local governments. 

Local Data Sources

While the State of Colorado has improved in its ability to collect and maintain key water data for regional and state water planning, land use data is not available at the state scale beyond remotely sensed data, such as land cover. In Colorado, land use data is maintained locally. Availability, format, and ease of accessibility of local data varies tremendously; while some communities may have information available easily shareable in GIS, others have static maps. 

Any analysis of data on a regional or state scale requires an upfront investment in data sharing agreements, along with significant investment in data collection, standardization, and quality control.

  • Water provider data
    • Water supply and demand data trends
    • Long-range water supply plans
    • Customer water use data
  • Land use authority data 
    • Zoning 
    • Land use regulations
    • Comprehensive (master) plans
    • Current land use
    • Housing
    • Future land use
  • Barriers and challenges
    • Data availability, which will vary by community
    • Ability to align data between and across communities with differing jurisdictional boundaries
    • Staff capacity and technical expertise needed 
    • Data privacy concerns and sensitivities about sharing results


For description of planning efforts:

For description of data and uses:


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