To lead in the protection, conservation, use, and development of the water resources of the Colorado River basin for the welfare of the District, and to safeguard for Colorado all waters of the Colorado River to which the state is entitled.
Who we are & what we do
The Colorado River Water Conservation District (River District) is a public water policy agency chartered by the Colorado General Assembly in 1937 to be “the appropriate agency for the conservation, use and development of the water resources of the Colorado River and its principal tributaries in Colorado.” We are the principal water policy and planning agency for the Colorado River Basin within the State of Colorado and provide legal, technical, and political representation regarding Colorado River issues for our constituents.
Our district is comprised of 15 West Slope counties in which a majority of the Colorado River Basin in the State of Colorado exists. These counties are:
- Rio Blanco
- and portions of Montrose, Saguache and Hinsdale
The River District covers approximately 29,000 square miles, roughly 28% of the land area of Colorado. The southernmost part of the Colorado River basin in Colorado that encompasses the San Juan River and its tributaries and the upper reaches of the Dolores River are not included within the Colorado River District.
The River District is governed by a Board of Directors. Each of the 15 counties appoints a representative. All policies, resolutions, budget actions and other major activities of the River District are approved by the Board.
What’s in a Name?
The Colorado River Water Conservation District is known by several names, which are often used interchangeably.
The following list covers the permutations of our name:
- Colorado River District
- River District
The River District is sometimes confused with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), which has a separate and distinct mission from the River District. The CWCB is a statewide agency, based in Denver and also founded in 1937, that pursues water supply protection, flood protection, water supply planning and finance, stream and lake protection and conservation and drought planning for the State.