Colorado lawmakers approve law to study technologies like blockchain for water management

Both chambers of Colorado's legislature have approved legislation that, if signed into law, would study a range of new technologies like blockchain for their potential use in managing the state's water supplies.

Forty-five lawmakers co-sponsored the legislation, which states:

"[I]t is in the public interest to authorize and direct the University of Colorado, in collaboration with Colorado state university and the Colorado water institute, to conduct feasibility studies and pilot deployments of these technologies and to report to the general assembly on the potential of these technologies to improve Colorado water management.

The legislation envisions studying unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensors and "blockchain-based documentation," the latter of which would be comprised of:

"[B]lockchain-based documentation, communication, and authentication of data regarding water use; fulfillment of obligations under Colorado's system of prior appropriation, including augmentation plans; and water conservation." 

Any conclusions from the feasibility studies would be presented to the legislature sometime in the next year, according to the text. The bill was sent to Colorado's governor, the crypto-friendly Democrat Jared Polis, for signature on June 17.

The bill's approval comes as western U.S. states grapple with an ongoing drought as well as the long-term issue of water rights and management.