NEW: Water Savings Resource Guide and Model Provisions for the Colorado Headwaters Region, finalized April 2020 and available on this page:  www.nwccog.org/water-savings-guidance

QQ works to strengthen available tools 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:

Beautiful mountain views and recent development around the ski resort in Steamboat Springs, CO.


Water Savings Resource Guide and Model Provisions for the Colorado Headwaters. Finalized April 2020 with support from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Basin Roundtable, and Del Corazon Consulting.
Model Land Use Standards for Water Quality Protection. In 2018, QQ released its updated Model Water Quality Protection Standards for the QQ region. 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 QQ region, they are also the only existing model standards for water quality in the State. The model includes standards for designing the site, protecting water quality during construction, and post-construction inspection and monitoring. The model code also includes a user guide and a repository of water quality considerations for land use planning outside of the code itself.
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.

  • 2019, May. Sonoran Institute Growing Water Smart training specifically for QQ members.
  • QQ Members recently participated in a workshop focused on integrating land use and water planning: Growing Water Smart in the Headwaters. A summary of the meeting is available at this link.
  • 2014 Water and Land Use workshop outcomes summary offers a good example of the type of discussion and format of those workshops.
  • Follow this link for the excerpted Land Use & Water Section of the Water Plan.

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.
  • Follow this link for the excerpted Land Use & Water Section of the Water Plan.

LINKS TO RESOURCES AND PARTNERS.