A potential use of water is a use of water which is foreseeable, such as industrial use of water during processing of oil shale in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, in the western United States. In Colorado, oil companies have purchased and leased back to agricultural producers much of the available water in the area.

Another common situation is that of a metropolitan area or city where population grown is foreseen. An example would be the Front Range area of Colorado where most urban development in Colorado is concentrated.

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