Registration is open for the Colorado River District’s Annual Water Seminar set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

“Uncertainty: You can count on it; Feast or famine on the Colorado River” is the theme of this year’s affordable, one-day briefing on important Colorado River challenges. As the theme suggests, the historic poor snow year of 2018 was completely reversed by the healthy snowpack of 2019 and the unusual runoff, which continues to be strong.

But only the fifth above-average year in the last 19 does not ease up the long-term pressure on the Colorado River system. The seminar will explore the drought contingency plans in the Colorado River basin to cope with uncertain hydrology, warming temperatures and low reservoir levels at Lakes Powell and Mead.

The cost to attend is $35 in advance and $45 at the door; the cost includes lunch. Note the new location of the seminar due to renovations at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction.

Here is a list of topics and speakers:

  • “Snow-Pocalypse:” A 2019 Feast After a 2018 Famine – speaker TBD
  • When Hydrology and Management Collide: How Lake Powell Got HammeredBrad Udall, Senior Water and Climate Research Scientist/Scholar at Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Institute
  • Drought Contingency Planning Today, Renegotiating Shortage Rules TomorrowBureau of Reclamation speaker and Andy Mueller, GM, Colorado River District
  • Science Be Dammed: What We Knew about the Colorado River when the 1922 Compact was ratified-the answer will surprise you. Eric Kuhn, author
  • Actions on the Colorado River Have ConsequenceAnne Castle, former Assistant U.S. Dept. of Interior Secretary for Water and Science
  • How Much Colorado River Water Are We Depleting in Colorado and What’s at RiskJohn Carron, Hydros Consulting
  • Lunchtime Keynote Speaker: Kate Greenberg, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

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Our 2018 Annual Water Seminar, “Risky Business on the Colorado River” was held on September 14th in Grand Junction, Colorado.

We heard from speakers with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Utah Division of Water Resources, a member of the Board of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Colorado River District and others. 

The images on the left are linked to the video recordings and the images on the right, when applicable, are linked to the presentations of the respective speakers. 

Welcome by Marti Whitmore, Colorado River District Board Director CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

This year’s seminar addressed the 18 years of dry hydrology that has lowered water levels at Lake Powell and increased the risk of losing the ability to generate critical power revenue, and more importantly, starting a risky path to Colorado River Compact administration. 

Introductions by Chris Treese, Colorado River District External Affairs Manager
2018 Water seminar
Russell George, Board Member on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River Mainstream and former Colorado State Speaker of the House CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

Risky Business Indeed: Water Planning in Colorado and Colorado’s Role in Big River Challenges
George reflects on water planning discussions resulting from the creation of and through the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, the Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and most currently, Colorado’s Water Plan. 

Today, execution of Colorado’s Water Plan plan lies before us. For more information on the plan, please visit:

Eric Kuhn, Colorado River District General Manager (retired) and Author CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

Colorado River Risk Study 
The four West Slope Basin Roundtables, concerned about their future ability to develop the Colorado River as well as protecting current water uses, commissioned the Colorado River Risk Study to develop data to inform policy discussions. The study is being carried out by the Colorado River District and the Southwestern Water Conservation District. 

Phase I found without effective management adequate water in Lake Powell is at risk. CLICK IMAGE above to open PRESENTATION
2018 Water seminar
Andy Mueller, Colorado River District General ManagerCLICK IMAGE TO LAUNCH (45:57) VIDEO RECORDING

What’s in the Cards for the Upper Basin 
Mueller’s presentation included Colorado River District policy concerns on how the Risk Study informs potential actions that must be considered, demand management equity, and sustaining irrigated agricultural production.  

2018 Water seminar
Colby Pellegrino, Director of Water Resources, Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA)CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

Rolling the Dice in the Lower Basin    
The Lower Basin states are working on their own Drought Contingency Plan. Pellegrino brought perspectives on how SNWA is working to protect water levels in Lake Mead and water supply for the greater Las Vegas area.

Uwe H. Martin, Visual Storyteller and Researcher CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

Visual Food for Thought: Water, Agriculture and Land 
Martin’s current research project, “LandRush” explores the impact of large-scale agronomy investments on rural economies and land rights, the boom of renewable fuels, the reallocation of land and the future of agriculture around the world.

2018 Water seminar
Eric Millis, Utah Water Resources Director and Chair of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Commission CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

What’s Up With Utah/The Battle Against Salt
Millis gave a Utah perspective on news about the Lake Powell Pipeline and the state’s views on Drought Contingency Planning. Wearing his salinity control hat, he provided an update about reducing salt loading in the Colorado River.

CLICK IMAGE to launch VIDEO recording

Panel Discussion: Jim Pokrandt, Marti Whitmore, Russell George, Colby Pellegrino, Eric Kuhn, Eric Millis & Andy Mueller 
This moderated panel drilled down into the issues discussed earlier and engaged in a lively audience question-and-answer session. 

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