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Welcome to the Water Master Plan project page!

Larimer County is currently working on a Water Master Plan. The project started in the late summer of 2023, and it will continue through the end of 2024. Please read through this webpage to learn more about the project and how you can get involved.

SELF-GUIDED VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE 

Are you interested in getting up to speed with the Water Plan project? Please click through the posters and materials below to learn about the project and to see preliminary results that we are excited to work through as a community. On Wednesday, May 1st, 2024 Larimer County staff hosted an Open House (please find the spotlight here), and staff has posted the content below so you can explore the Virtual Open House at your own pace.

Have any comments or feedback along the way? 

Great! We encourage and welcome them. Please submit any comments for these materials by Friday, May 24, 2024 so we have time to review and incorporate your feedback into the project! 

Please use this link to submit comments related to posters.

Please email LCwaterplan@co.larimer.co.us on comments related to the project as a whole, or any specific ideas you've had that could mitigate some of the water-related vulnerabilities our community faces. Please read through each poster to learn more.

Posters:

Supporting Materials:

PROVISIONAL VISION AND GOALS

The Vision and Goals below consolidate input gathered from various sources, including feedback from five Larimer County boards, conversations with the project's advisory groups, insights from the Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners, the Nov. 6th, 2023 Vision and Goals public workshop, and internal staff contributions. They are subject to minor adjustments through the development of the Water Master Plan. 

Vision:

Larimer County, guided by a commitment to stewardship, is dedicated to safeguarding local and regional water systems, aligning future land use with available water resources, and helping to build resilient communities and ecosystems equipped to address future water challenges.

Goals:

  • Minimize the Threat To Watersheds from Hazards (i.e., floods, severe wildfires)
  • Communicate and Collaborate to Support Water Sustainability
  • Promote Water Literacy in Our Community
  • Align Land Use Planning with Water Resources
  • Enhance Water Efficiency and Conservation Measures

Project Schedule

  • Q3 2023: PROJECT START: Identification of stakeholders, invites to advisory groups, creation of a public engagement plan.
  • Q4 2023: PROJECT UNDERWAY: Data inventory and gap analysis, identification of goals and visions.
  • Q1 – Q2 2024: PROJECT MAPPING: Prepare watershed maps and begin analysis of water related risks and vulnerabilities to Larimer County.
  • Q3 2024: PROJECT RESULTS: Develop strategies, implementation measures, and mitigation that will go into the Water Master Plan.
  • Q4 2024: PROJECT DRAFT: Water Master Plan drafted and ready for review.
  • Q1 2025: PROJECT FINISH: The Water Master Plan to be voted on by Larimer County Board of County Commissioners and ratified by Larimer County Planning Commission. If approved, the plan will be incorporated into the Land Use Code.

Water Mater Plan Project Timeline - Please refer to text above this for same information

IDENTIFIED VULNERABILITIES TO LARIMER COUNTY WATER

Larimer County prioritized risk categories and criteria to guide the Water Master Plan. This plan will identify mitigation strategies for key watersheds, which will be determined based on their ranking according to the following risk criteria.

These were originally developed in October 2023 and have seen many iterations due to feedback from the County Core Team, Water and Technical Advisory Groups, insight from the Board of County Commissioners and Planning Commission, as well as input from five Larimer County Advisory Boards.

Risk Categories 1-4 can be mapped spatially and will be included in the watershed mapping part of the project, whereas Risk Categories 5-6 will be addressed in the plan but will not be mapped.

Larimer County prioritized risk categories and criteria.
Risk Category Risk Criteria
(1) Supply and demand planning
  • Increasing demand from population growth
  • Uncertain water futures as it relates to climate
  • Changes in land use
(2) Hazards to watersheds
  • Severe wildfires
  • Source water quality
  • Habitat
(3) Water rights
  • Water rights impacted by administrative calls on the river
  • Colorado-Big Thompson Project (CBT) use
  • Urban encroachment on agricultural lands
(4) Infrastructure
  • Water delivery infrastructure
  • Storage
(5) Lack of water conservation policies or measures
  • Policies or guidelines
  • Measures to avoid curtailment
  • Cohesive approach: municipalities, HOAs, County
  • Water efficiency in agriculture
  • Land use policies
(6) Lack of water education
  • Lack of public awareness
  • Lack of understanding by policy/decision makers

 

 

Upcoming Events & Ways to Get Involved:

Public Engagement Overview:

The Water Master Plan will include a robust public engagement process. Staff and consultants will keep the public informed and provide opportunities for public input and comment throughout the process. Additionally, Larimer County staff and SWCA will collaborate with a Technical Advisory Group made up of water managers and staff from Larimer County and larger municipalities and will also involve a Water Advisory Group made up of other interested parties. In addition, the public engagement process will gather input from members of the public who are interested in, and potentially affected by, water management and policy in Larimer County and the region to help shape the final plan. The project team will use several strategies to maintain a transparent and open process with the public to encourage participation and provide the community with meaningful opportunities to engage.

  • This webpage will be updated throughout the development of the Water Master Plan including with questionnaires and interactive components.
  • At least two public open house events will be held.
  • The team will check in with boards and commissions periodically.
  • Staff can be available to attend your event.

The purpose of the vision and goals workshop was to share information about the overall project and issues the county faces related to water use and conservation, support dialog between diverse interested parties, and gather feedback on a vision statement and final set of tiered goals for Larimer County to use in guiding the creation of the Water Master Plan.

Please read through the materials created for the workshop:

Larimer County is taking foundational steps on strategic goals to:

  • improve long-term planning for water supply in unincorporated areas, promote water-sharing strategies to preserve agriculture, and sustain water supplies

  • address risks and sustainability, and

  • prepare responsive land use policies and standards.

The Water Master Plan will become an element of the Larimer County Comprehensive Plan and will help bolster Larimer County’s strategic planning for water, stormwater, and environmental flows. Keep in mind that Larimer County is not a utility provider, so the County may play specific strategic, coordinating, and collaborating roles to achieve water goals determined through the plan.

Summary of Current Work

Through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, Larimer County selected and has engaged SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) and AE2S, to work with staff, other advisors, the public, boards and commissions, and the Board of County Commissioners to prepare a Water Master Plan. The consultant firms have capabilities to address cultural, natural, and water resources management, wildfire planning, regulatory compliance, and climate change. They also can address water challenges and risks such as future water demands and use of available water rights. The project is partially funded by the Federal Emergency Management Act’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

The summary of the project Scope of Work is attached: Water Plan Scope and Schedule Summary

Last year as a precursor to the plan, Larimer County engaged a consultant, Brendle Group, to conduct the regional water Existing Conditions study and to facilitate work sessions and an open house to do initial visioning and goal setting. The Existing Conditions report and Executive Summary are below. The work from 2022 is foundational for the next stages of water planning. 

Larimer County Water Existing Conditions Report (6/6/2022)

Larimer County Water Existing Conditions Executive Summary

Task 2 - Vision and Goals Memo

Attachment A - County Staff Work Session Summary

Attachment B - Stakeholder Open House

 

           

Sign Up For Information

Send your information to LC Water Plan to indicate that you’d like more information or to be involved.