Colorado lawmakers recently put forward Senate Bill 23-177 to distribute funds to supporting grants going toward the state’s water plan. The state will aggregate funds as follows:
- $10.6 million from the water plan implementation cash fund fed by Colorado sports betting revenue
- $2 million from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB)
What is the Colorado Water Plan?
By unanimous decision, the CWCB first released the plan in 2015 and on Jan. 24, 2023, it was finalized. In short, the Water Plan means to “meet Colorado’s most critical water challenges,” according to a report by the CWCB.
Providing safe drinking water and improving farm irrigation are some of the key goals and purposes of this plan. Colorado Governor Jared Polis commented:
“In Colorado, water is life. Colorado’s Water Plan sets a vision for vibrant communities, successful farming and ranching, thriving watersheds, and climate-resilient planning. I’m excited to see how the updated plan supports a more resilient future here in Colorado for years to come.”
Gov. Polis has approved $17 million in funding and proposed $25.2 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year budget.
A look into SB 23-177 and appropriations for FY 2023-24
Senate Bill 23-177 appropriates $10.6 million of the funds from Colorado sports betting revenue towards the Water Plan and $2,000,000 from the CWCB.
Here is a breakdown of the other projects and the amount of funding the state will allocate:
- Central Colorado Water Conservancy District’s augmentation efficiency project: $3,000,000
- State water plan advancement project: $2,000,000
- Reservoir enlargement assessment project: $1,000,000
- Continuation of the weather forecasting partnership project: $1,000,000
- Water resources mobile field data collection: $800,000
- Floodplain map modernization: $500,000
- Weather modification permitting program: $500,000
- Continuation of the watershed restoration program: $500,000
- Active satellite monitoring system: $380,000
- Continuation of the Colorado Mesonet program: $150,000
Good timing for the projected doubling of Colorado sports betting tax revenue
Based on the way things are going, Colorado budget analysts projected halfway through the current fiscal year that sports betting revenue in the state could get as high as $24 million. This number is double the revenue earned in the 2021-22 FY.
The current model has the majority of funds going toward the Colorado Water Plan. The state taxes 10% of sports betting revenue.
The first $130,000 in sports betting revenue goes towards paying for gambling addiction services and support. Then 6% of sports betting tax, up to a cap of $1.7 million, goes to a hold harmless fund. This fund is for the protection of traditional forms of gambling.
All remaining Colorado sports betting tax revenue goes towards addressing Colorado’s water needs. Including working on improving agriculture, storage, conservation and water-related education.
The reason revenue expects to double is that the legislature recently passed a bill to limit how many bonus sportsbooks can offer. Since bonus and promotions are deducted from revenue before tax is deducted, overall revenue numbers can expect to be much higher than last fiscal year.