Colorado taking demand-management workgroups behind closed doors

Aspen Journalism: The directors of the Colorado Water Conservation Board have consented to let staffers hold closed-door meetings of nine workgroups that would explore a water demand-management program and to let staffers require the participants to sign confidentiality agreements.

“Workgroup members will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement to abstain from discussing outside of the workgroup forums any information that is deemed confidential or privileged per the terms of the agreement,” read a slide shown at the state agency’s most recent meeting, which took place here May 15.

In presenting the closed-meeting plan, Brent Newman, the chief of CWCB’s interstate, federal and water information section, told the agency’s 15 directors: “We need these groups to be able to candidly identify, discuss and examine important issues without undue attribution.”Newman also stressed that any recommendations formed in the closed-door workgroups, expected to meet throughout the year, would be shared in a series of public workshops. He also said any decisions about whether, and how, the state sets up a demand-management program will be made by CWCB directors.

The closed-door meetings about demand management, also known as water-use reduction, are being slated just as the prospect of such a program in Colorado is increasing.

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