Integrating Land Use and Water Planning

QQ works to strengthen available tool to protect water quality and quantity, including assisting local governments in strengthening and implementing water quality provisions of their land use codes. The QQ region owes its economic well-being to the natural beauty and resources that surround its communities. Water supports a strong economy, especially the recreation-based economy of the QQ region. Water contributes to the local tax base, especially when communities revitalize downtowns and attract investment through reclaiming waterfront areas. Recreational opportunities and safe drinking water supplies help attract and maintain population.

The QQ region, as well as the entire State, continue to experience significant growth, in large part because of water-based recreational opportunities and pristine mountain environments. Development has the potential to cause problems related to siltation, nonpoint source pollution, destruction or damage to wildlife or aquatic habitat, destruction or damage to wetlands and floodplains, or drinking water contamination. Appropriate regulation can minimize the impacts from such problems.

Local governments throughout Colorado have been increasingly working to better integrate water and land use planning, and several State agencies have provided support and policy endorsement of this priority. There are many state resources for training and education on this issue now available, and linked under “partnerships and resources.” QQ played an integral role in the development of many of these resources.

Below are examples and links to QQ work on this issue along with the partnerships and resources available to QQ members:

Model Land Use Standards for Water Quality Protection

In 2017, QQ is working on updating its 1999 Model Land Use Standards for Water Quality Protection. This model code is the result of a review of QQ local government land use codes as well as other jurisdictions such as Tahoe Region, Nevada and California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Truckee, California. While the model standards are specifically for the QQ region, they are the only existing model standards for water quality in the State.

Land Use and Water Workshops during development of Colorado’s Water Plan. QQ has hosted workshops for members and others statewide on better integrate water management and water quality into land use planning.

2014 Water and Land Use workshop outcomes summary offers a good example of the type of discussion and format of those workshops.

Guiding statement from Commissioner letter, as quoted in Colorado’s Water Plan, Section 6.3.3.

Statewide Dialogues. QQ members meet with elected officials and staff from other local governments around the state to talk discuss ways to strengthen and implement water quality and water conservation provisions of land use codes and plans.

QQ county commissioners and metro area county commissioners monthly for six months to discuss land use and water planning and develop comments as Colorado’s Water Plan was being developed. The resulting letter, signed by Boulder County, City & County of Denver, elected officials from the City & County of Broomfield, Eagle County, Grand County, Pitkin County, and Summit County, was submitted to the Colorado Water Conservation Board and included in Colorado’s Water Plan.

Links to Resources and Partners