Forum Addresses Water Crunch, Probability of Dry Years Ahead

Although much of Colorado has received snowfall in the last few weeks, drought conditions still exist. In fact, Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center’s warning this week of an increasing threat of an exceptionally dry winter and the high probability of at least another year of drought will be among topics discussed at the Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum Feb. 20 at the Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec St.

The day-long forum examines options for water sharing as well as specific water management strategies for landowners, agricultural producers and other industries; strategies to protect water for wildlife use; and stress and conflict management.

The forum, called "Weathering Tough Times Together," includes:

  • remarks from Colorado State President Albert C. Yates;
  • a 2003 moisture outlook by Nolan Doesken, research climatologist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center;
  • discussion from regional representatives about how stakeholders can work together to solve Colorado’s water issues by Dave Little, manager of water resource planning at Denver Water; Eric Wilkinson, general manager of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District; and Reeves Brown, president of Club 20; and
  • a keynote address by Ken Salazar, Colorado attorney general.

Small workshop sessions about water management and drought will address:

  • how irrigators can manage limited water supplies and precision agricultural techniques, such as the use of Global Positioning Satellites, for irrigation management;
  • strategies for ranchers to preserve rangelands during a drought and water-sharing strategies used on the South Platte River Basin and the Arkansas River Basin;
  • wildlife habitat conservation and nature-based tourism;
  • financial and risk management; and
  • mediation and stress management skills.

The forum is sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Agricultural and Rural Leadership program.

Registration is $100 and is available the morning of the event from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. For more information or to pre-register, call 800-886-7683 or visit the forum’s Web site at