Mountain communities in Colorado are some of the most desirable places to live and visit. Outdoor activities abound. Peaceful mountain and river settings are everywhere you look. The air is crisp and the water is clear.
These mountain towns weren’t always so idyllic. In the early 1970’s, these mountain towns began experiencing new growth from ski resorts and an influx of young people; at the same time, environmental problems abounded, especially from trans-mountain diversion projects or TMDs. TMDs siphon water from the western side of the Continental Divide, near now-famous mountain towns like Vail, Aspen, and Winter Park, and take the water underneath the mountains to serve as drinking water for the metropolitan Front Range of Colorado. Rivers lost as much as 60% of their native flows, fish populations struggled, and there were plans for new trans-mountain diversion to pull even more water from the rivers. Water quality degradation from abandoned historic mining operations compounded environmental problems.

The Water Quality/ Quantity Committee (QQ) was formed to respond to these environmental pressures, which were threatening the recreation and tourism economy just burgeoning in the region. Local governments from the communities most affected by TMDs, and most reliant on water resources as their economic backbone, banded together to assist one another in protecting and enhancing their environment.

QQ’s work helps to ensure that river and streams continue coursing through the mountain communities as the lifeblood of the region, the headwaters of the Colorado, Yampa, Gunnison, and South Platte rivers. Today, the health of the rivers in the QQ region has never been better, and the region’s recreation and tourism economy has continued to blossom. QQ’s work helps to ensure that river and streams continue coursing through the mountain communities as the lifeblood of the region, the headwaters of the Colorado, Yampa, Gunnison, and South Platte rivers.

Watershed Services, including the Regional 208 Plan, is a NWCCOG program, but are shown on the QQ webpages for convenience as they are all “water related” programs which are also administered by QQ staff.

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208 plan

NWCCOG is the designated regional water quality management agency for the region, and as such completes and implements a water quality management plan for the region (“208 Plan”), in compliance with Section 208 of the Clean Water Act. The 208 Plan functions as a Master Plan for water quality management in Region 12. It provides demographic information, descriptions of wastewater treatment facilities, summaries of transmountain diversions, recommendations for State water quality standards and classifications and an overview of the Region’s water quality over time. Most importantly it provides policy recommendations for future water quality management in our region.  The 208 Plan was last updated and approved by the NWCCOG Council in 2012.   

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Featured Projects

  1. QQ updated its Model Code for Water Protection Standards in 2019, and in 2020 released its Water Savings Resource Guide and Model Provisions for the Colorado Headwaters. QQ members continue to lead the state in integrating water management and watershed protection into future development regulations.
NWCCOG, along with West Slope Partners like Grand County and the Colorado River Water Conservation District, negotiated the first clarity standard adopted by WQCC in Colorado and provided legal and technical support in on-going processes to protect Grand Lake clarity from impacts of the Colorado/Big Thompson Project.
Since the 1980s, when the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) first approved the 208 Regional Water Quality Plan for the NWCCOG Region, NWCCOG often working through QQ has managed regional water quality planning. The NWCCOG 208 Plan includes the only regional policy requiring water development to mitigate its water quality impacts. The 208 Plan has been integrated into land use codes linking quantity and quality, continuing to the present.
  1. QQ commissioned a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative description of the importance of water to the QQ region. For more information, check out the report here.
Torie Jarvis

Torie Jarvis

Torie has more than a decade of experience assisting counties, municipalities, and special districts in translating local goals and data into practical, customized local regulations and policies. Her expertise includes water quality and drinking water protection, administrative environmental regulation, oil and gas regulation, and water-related hazard mitigation planning. Torie started her work with NWCCOG/ QQ...
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