Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill in Fort Collins on Wednesday to fund water research through the Colorado Water Institute – a fixture at Colorado State University since 1965 that provides a critical link between water researchers and water users and managers in Colorado.
The Colorado Water Institute, prior to this legislative session known as the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, was created to connect the water expertise of Colorado’s higher education system with the water education and research needs of Colorado’s water users and managers. The institute exists for the express purpose of focusing the water expertise of higher education on the evolving water concerns and problems faced by Colorado residents.
Earlier this year, Ritter signed HB08-1026, changing the name to the Colorado Water Institute and updating the institute’s mission to more effectively address water management problems facing the state. HB08-1405, signed by Gov. Ritter on May 21 in Fort Collins, provides $500,000 in additional funding for water research in 2009.
The funding will allow the institute to continue serving the state as its main water information and education center, acting as a clearinghouse and archive for water resources, water quality and water-related policy issues. With water needs intensifying and changing, the institute will also educate the next generation of water scientists, managers, planners and educators. The institute will continue its scientific research and policy analysis including drought planning and mitigations and climate changes and adaptation to help Colorado prepare for any water circumstance.
Reagan Waskom, a 22-year veteran of Colorado State University, serves as director of the institute.
"We are grateful for ongoing state support of this critical institution," said Lou Swanson, vice provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, who oversees the water institute at Colorado State. "This is one of the many ways that Colorado State plays a critical role in the economic growth, advancement and health of Colorado’s communities."
Waskom is only the fifth director during the Institute’s 41-year existence. Robert Ward, who retired in December 2005, had been director for 14 years.