Colorado State University Policy Paper Addresses Water Strategy for Rocky Mountain West

The latest policy paper issued by Colorado State University’s Colorado Institute of Public Policy focuses on the complicated and rapidly changing water policy of the Rocky Mountain West. The paper, part of the Institute’s "Living in the Rocky Mountain West" series, examines the diverse beliefs and values associated with water and how they shape interpretations of both water problems and solutions.

"Water in 2025: Beliefs and Values as a Means for Cooperation" explores the issues and challenges of water supply, water need and water quality that bring stakeholders together in cooperation or conflict. The paper highlights the results of two surveys given to 84 water stakeholders in Colorado. Respondents included people representing environmental, agricultural, recreational and urban interests, as well as water providers, elected officials and researchers.

Key findings discussed in the paper reveal agreement among a majority of water stakeholders on some issues, such as the belief that agricultural water is the prime target for water transfers to urban and recreational uses. The paper also examines critical areas of disagreement in the water community, including controversy over whether the "use it or lose it" doctrine promotes wasteful use of water.

The paper is published by the Colorado Institute of Public Policy, which draws upon Colorado State University research expertise to address matters of pressing public policy, especially in the areas of agriculture, natural resources and people. The Institute wrote and published the paper, with the support of Colorado State and University of Colorado faculty researchers. The report was funded in part by Aqua Engineering and by the Steamboat Ski Corp. Employee Environmental Fund.

The full "Water in 2025" report and a summary presentation are available on the Web at