The Colorado Water Plan
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Governor Jared Polis addressing attendees at the Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention on January 28.


Colorado Water Leaders Gather for Annual Water Congress Convention

On January 29 – 31, the Colorado Water Congress hosted its annual convention in Westminster, where hundreds of attendees discussed the biggest water issues facing Colorado this year. The Colorado Water Conservation Board moderated a variety of workshops and panels – covering the ongoing Demand Management Feasibility Investigation, Instream Flow Recommendations, Stream Management Plans, Water Conservation and Efficiency, Agriculture, Climate Change, and updates on the Colorado Water Plan.

Other highlights included a forum for Colorado state legislators to share their perspectives on upcoming water policy, as well as addresses from Attorney General Phil Weiser and Governor Jared Polis.

PHOTO: Chane Polo (Colorado Water Congress), Dianna Orf (Orf & Orf), Sen. Kerry Donovan, Rep. Dylan Roberts, Rep. Donald Valdez, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, Rep. Marc Catlin

Colorado Water Conservation Board Approves $2.8 Million in Watershed Restoration Program Grants

Over the past two months, Colorado Water Conservation Board staff reviewed and advanced 11 Watershed Restoration Program Grant applications that requested more than $100,000 in funding. The Board approved all 11 recommendations at its January 28 meeting. Each of the grantees submitted competitive applications that proved to support objectives outlined within the Colorado Water Plan, including flood mitigation, watershed assessments and restoration, water quality projects, and watershed science education for K-12 students.

In addition to a variety of water grants, the Board approved two Water Project Loans including an Augmentation Water Purchase for the Town of South Fork in the Rio Grande Basin in order to support the town’s municipal water system.

Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Extended 13 Years

A victory for wildlife and Colorado water, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and the Governors of Nebraska and Wyoming signed a Cooperative Agreement to extend the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (Program) with $156 million. The Colorado Water Conservation Board has played a major role in this Program’s creation and ongoing efforts, including policy and financial support.

“This collaborative program supports the recovery of four threatened and endangered species by improving and maintaining habitat in the Platte River in Nebraska while allowing for continued water use in Colorado,” said Colorado Water Conservation Board's Director, Rebecca Mitchell. “We look forward to continuing our role in the upcoming years of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program.”

The Program was set to expire at the end of 2019. However, with support from the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Colorado Parks and Wildlife; the Department of Natural Resources; and other state, federal, and non-governmental partners; a bill supported by the entire Congressional delegation from Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming was passed and signed by the President before the New Year.

Together with its water users, the Colorado Water Conservation Board is celebrating the Program’s more than a decade record of success. As the Program enters into its next 13 years, it has momentum to continue to recover threatened and endangered species, which provides assurance for future water use in Colorado.

PHOTO: Don Ament recognizes Rep. Joe Neguse (CO) for his dedication to the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program.

Colorado Water Trust and the Colorado Water Conservation Board Launch Annual Request for Water Process

Each January, Colorado Water Trust and the Colorado Water Conservation Board launch the annual Request for Water Process. This process offers a streamlined approach to water transactions to benefit the environment on streams throughout the state. Voluntary water sharing arrangements or voluntary acquisitions of senior water rights, on a temporary or permanent basis, can help restore flows to rivers in need, sustain agriculture, and maximize beneficial uses of Colorado’s water.

This process is confidential, completely voluntary and open to all water right owners, including agricultural, municipal, industrial, or other users. Offers will be accepted through June 30.

Colorado Water Plan Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Over the past five years since the launch of the Colorado Water Plan, it has seen great success. Through the Water Plan Grant Program, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) has supported a variety of projects across the state, which have supported the goals and objectives of the Water Plan and made progress on more than 65% of the Plan’s critical actions. In May, Colorado joined seven other Upper Colorado River Basin states in signing a historic Drought Contingency Plan that will ensure continued compliance with the 1922 Colorado River Compact. As the Western United States faces a growing population and warming climate, it is more important than ever that Colorado and our neighbor states seek solutions for water efficiency to meet the demand of all water users. That is why the CWCB is working closely with the nine Basin Roundtables to update Basin Implementation Plans using new state-of-the-art data tools and climate change projections. Using lessons learning over the past five years as well as new tools, CWCB and the Basin Roundtables look forward to releasing an updated, comprehensive Water Plan in 2022.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board is currently offering historically low interest rates for Water Project Loans, so APPLY NOW to secure funding for upcoming water supply projects. 

This month, agricultural producers under the Colorado Master Irrigator (CMI) program will convene for a four-part workshop series to equip graduates with tools and strategies to help sustain or preserve Ogallala aquifer levels in ways that are profitable for their operations. The Colorado Water Conservation Board, along with other Federal, state, and local partners, is supporting the CMI program through a Colorado Water Plan Grant. This collaborative and innovative program encourages voluntary water conservation and efficiency using an interactive class format and peer-to-peer exchange. Graduates of the CMI program will also be eligible for special discounts on irrigation equipment as well as special cost-share funding opportunities. The first CMI program workshop will take place on February 12.


Upcoming CWCB Meetings & Events

Demand Management Workgroup: Education & Outreach
Monday, February 10 / 9:00am – 3:00pm / Denver Botanic Gardens in Gates Hall

Demand Management Workgroup: Administration & Accounting
Monday, February 10 / 10:00am - 1:00pm / Colorado Water Congress, Denver
Demand Management Workgroup: Monitoring & Verification
Monday, February 10 / 10:00am – 3:00pm / Salida
Rio Grande Basin Roundtable
Tuesday, February 11/ 2:00pm – 5:00pm / San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Alamosa / Download the agenda
Joint South Platte & Metro Basin Roundtable
Tuesday, February 11 / 4:00pm – 8:00pm / Southwest Weld County Bldg, Longmont / Download the agenda
Arkansas Basin Roundtable
Wednesday, February 12 / 12:30pm – 3:00pm / Pueblo Community College
Water Availability Task Force Meeting
Tuesday, February 18 / 9:30am – 11:00am / Red Fox Room, Denver
North Platte Basin Roundtable
Tuesday, February 18 / 6:30pm – 8:30pm / US Forest Service Bldg, Walden
Interbasin Compact Committee Meeting (Joint Meeting Day 1)
March 4 / 9:00am - 4:00pm / Sheraton Denver West

Demand Management Workgroup Workshop (Joint Meeting Day 2)
March 5 / 8:30am - 3:30pm / Sheraton Denver West 
Yampa/White Basin Roundtable
March 11 / 6:00pm – 9:00pm / Clarion Inn & Suites, Craig
Gunnison Basin Roundtable
March 16 / 4:00pm – 7:00pm / Holiday Inn Express, Montrose
Colorado Basin Roundtable
March 23 / 12:00pm – 4:00pm / Glenwood Springs Community Center

View the full CWCB Event Calendar here

Featured Water Events

2020 Western Water Futures Games: The Colorado Water Workshop Re-Imagined!
May 20 - 22 / Gunnison

For 43 years, the Colorado Water Workshop was the premiere conference for discussion of Western Slope water issues. To address changing concerns in the Western water world, the workshop began a new chapter in 2019 focused on bringing students and young professionals into the discussion on pressing water topics. Retitled the Western Water Futures Games, expansive new goals for the workshop formed including sharing of information held by water mentors, the development of innovative solutions around Western water issues, and the production of projects resulting in meaningful impacts addressing water resources. Join us at Western Colorado University for this innovative new water resource conference May 20-22. 

Diane Hoppe Scholarship Award

The Colorado Water Conservation Board administers the Diane Hoppe Memorial Scholarship, which is a $2,000 one-year scholarship for a Colorado high school student interested in western water issues planning to attend a public institution of higher education in Colorado. Diane Hoppe was appointed to the CWCB as the South Platte Basin representative in 2012, and she was elected chairwoman of the board in 2015. Diane passed away on February 27, 2016. Her family worked with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to establish this scholarship in her honor. 

Students who will be graduating from high school in the spring of 2020 and are planning to attend a trade school, technical school, community college, or a four-year accredited college in the United States are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

Application information can be found here.
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The Colorado Water Conservation Board mission is
to conserve, develop, protect and manage Colorado’s water
for present and future generations

1313 Sherman Street, Suite 718
Denver, CO 80203

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