2001 Planning Group Business
The planning group has carefully considered many options and alternatives in developing this plan. Throughout their discussions and study, a focus on the needs of the entire region was maintained.
Since their appointment, the planning group members have met on a regular basis. Working with the contractors, a description of the region, including current water supplies and future needs, was developed. Several water supply options available for consideration were also analyzed. Surveys, focus groups, elected officials' briefings, and public meetings were conducted to inform the public and gather input into the planning process.
The challenge for the planning group since the beginning of the planning process has been to establish a viable plan to provide enough water in 2050. The plan addresses a projected shortage of 490,000 acre feet. Shortages are projected to impact virtually all the major water use categories of municipal, irrigation, stream/electric, industrial, mining and livestock.
In the summer of 2000, the planning group combined various water supply options using five different approaches. Evaluation of the five approaches provided the information the planning group needed to develop the Initially Prepared Regional Water Plan. Development of the plan also considered the nine evaluation criteria adopted by the planning group. These criteria include: compatibility, economic impact, efficiency, environmental impact, fairness, feasibility, flexibility, reliability, and water quality.
In addition to criteria the planning group adopted several guiding principles and assumptions. These included:
- a regional balance of benefits and costs so that benefits are maximized and negative impacts are minimized
- a major concentration on conservation
- a goal of groundwater sustainability and recommendations for management strategies to accomplish that goal.
The public process and use of the evaluation criteria further supported the planning group's careful consideration of environmental consequences and concerns over the building of reservoirs.
Inclusion of an option or project in the plan does not mean the option will automatically become a reality. All of the options included in the plan are subject to permitting by various agencies, detailed study, and funding. Projects not included in the fifty-year plan may not be eligible for permitting or state funding.