Colorado needs “aggressive” state-wide targets for reductions in municipal and industrial water use if it is to solve its water scarcity challenges and keep its economy growing, according to a report by the Colorado chapter of business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Such water use could increase by as much as 81 percent by 2050, due mainly to population growth, but the state does not have enough water to meet that demand, according to Colorado Water Supply and Climate Change: A Business Perspective.
Because of this, Gov. John Hickenlooper needs to set a state goal of reducing per capita municipal and industrial water use by 25 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2010 levels, the business group says.
This goal should be incorporated into the State Water Plan and subsequent legislation should ensure 100 percent adoption of water rates that create incentives for municipal and industrial water conservation, the group says. E2 says that conservation-oriented rates are effective and, as a market-based approach, give water users an incentive and the freedom to choose the ways in which they want to reduce their water consumption.
The State Water Plan should also identify new measures to expand the reuse of municipal and industrial water in Colorado. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission should establish new requirements to expand reuse of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations, which consume a rapidly growing share of water in the state, the report says.
According to report released in August, environmental hazards such as water scarcity, climate change and land degradation could wipe out as much as $8 trillion in agriculture assets each year.
The University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment study aims to show the scale of the asset bubble faced by the agricultural sector. The study focuses on so-called stranded assets, a term used to describe environmentally unsustainable assets that suffer from unanticipated or premature write-offs, downward revaluations or are converted to liabilities, and can be caused by a range of environment-related risks.