Hickenlooper Activates Drought Task Force for Cities and Towns
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper fired up a special task force Friday in response to the state’s ongoing drought. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the group will focus on making sure communities across the state can deal with the effects of drought.
April snow showers brought needed moisture to our region, with conditions changing to moderate in the Roaring Fork Valley. But the southeastern section of the state struggling with extreme and exceptional conditions, and much of Colorado is still dealing with a major drought.
In response, Governor Hickenlooper activated what’s called the Municipal Drought Impact Task Force. It’s meant to help communities dealing with the effects of not having enough moisture.
Taryn Finnessey with the Colorado Water Conservation Board says cities and towns deal with drought in a variety of ways.
"Watering restrictions, outdoor watering restrictions, but we also see public health impacts, we see blowing dust storms, we see water quality impacts, we see increased risk of wildfire, we see impacts to the recreation sector," she says.
The job of the task force, she says, is to make recommendations to communities on how to best combat the drought and in some cases, provide financial support.
"One of the things that the Impact Task Force will look at is whether or not sufficient resources exist to respond to drought, and if not, they will make recommendations to the drought task force, and they will work together to make sure that sufficient resources exist to adequately respond to drought."
Colorado has about 400 water providers. And, the task force can’t work with all of them. Those who need the assistance most will get attention.
The municipal task force is part of a statewide drought mitigation and response plan required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. Besides municipalities, an agricultural drought task force has also been activated.