Save the Date for the 2021 Annual Water Seminar:

2020 Annual Water Seminar: Zooming in on West Slope Water

The Colorado River District’s Annual Water Seminar is going virtual this year with a series of lunchtime webinars the week of Sept. 21-24, 2020. 

“Zooming in on West Slope Water” is the title of the seminar week to reflect the Zoom platform for the events and the focus on important water topics for western Colorado. 

Traditionally, the Annual Seminar is held as a one-day public event in Grand Junction. To maintain public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the River District is switching to a virtual platform. One benefit is that registrants will receive recordings of each event so they can watch them at their own convenience. 

Colorado attorneys and judges who attend the entire seminar can earn six general continuing legal education credits.

Noon to 1:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21 – West Slope Water 101

Join us for a lunchtime webinar to learn the basics of Colorado water! Speakers will go over the basics of water rights, where every discussion of Colorado River policy begins. They’ll cover how water rights are deployed to provide irrigation, drinking water and recreation in Colorado. They’ll also fill you in on transmountain diversions, and key water rights on the West Slope.
Colorado River District General Council Peter Fleming 

Colorado River District Senior Council Jason Turner  
Host: Colorado River District General Manager Andy Mueller 


Noon to 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 – Water Works: the Colorado River District in Action

The Colorado River District works across a broad spectrum of water challenges with its constituents to protect the water security of western Colorado while promoting better water use and protection of the environment. Subjects to be covered are Elkhead Reservoir in Moffat and Routt counties where storage provides water for energy production and endangered fish; the Lower Gunnison Project that is helping agricultural producers modernize water use while stopping salts from seeping into waterways; and the Windy Gap Bypass in Grand County, a collaborative project with transmountain diverters and the environmental community to re-connect the Colorado River at the Windy Gap forebay.
Colorado Water Conservation Board Endangered Species Policy Specialist Jojo La
Delta County Rancher 
Dixie Luke
Colorado River District Deputy Chief Engineer Dave Kanzer 
Mely Whiting Colorado water project legal counsel for Trout Unlimited’s Western Water and Habitat Program
Kevin Lock, water resources project engineer for Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District
Host: Jim Pokrandt, Community Affairs Director at the Colorado River District


Elkhead Reservoir

Lower Gunnison Project

Windy Gap Connectivity Channel

Noon to 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23 – Heating Up the Talk About Why River Flows are Down

Rising temperatures are robbing the Colorado River system of flows. Drought, aridification of the West and reduced river flows are driving down Lakes Powell and Mead while impacting local water users at the same time. A panel of speakers will review the current science, the on-the-ground impacts and how two major water providers are planning for a new normal.
Jeff Lukassenior research associate, Western Water Assessment, CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder 
Juliet Eilperin, senior national affairs correspondent at the Washington Post
Laurna Kaatz, climate science, policy, and adaptation program manager at Denver Water
Colby Pellegrino, Colorado River program manager for Southern Nevada Water Authority
Host: Colorado River District General Manager Andy Mueller 

Noon to 1:15 p.m. Thursday – Of Primary Importance: The Secondary Economic Impacts of Demand Management

How would demand management impact our Mainstreet economies? How would it change spending at rural businesses such as local diners and mechanics? The River District and its partners in the Water Bank Workgroup commissioned a study of how demand management of water, meaning not using it and sending it to Lake Powell, would impact communities if water were to become a “cash crop.” This study examines how spending patterns could change should a demand management program be implemented in Colorado.
Sonja Chavez, General Manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District 
Douglas Jeavons, managing director of water, natural resource and environmental economics at BBC Research 
Aaron Derwingsonagricultural coordinator for The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program
Host: Alesha Frederick, Director of Information and Outreach for the Colorado River District 


Read the Secondary Economic Impact Study here:

2019 Annual Water Seminar

Our 2019 Annual Water Seminar was a 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.

2019 Annual Water Seminar Welcome

“Snow-Pocalypse:” A 2019 Feast After a 2018 Famine

Jeff Lukas, Associate Scientist, Cires, University Of Colorado

When Hydrology And Management Collide:
How Lake Powell Got Hammered

Brad Udall, Senior Water And Climate Research Scientist/Scholar At Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Institute

Drought Contingency Planning Today, Renegotiating
Shortage Rules Tomorrow

Jessie Khaya And Rebecca Smith, Bureau Of Reclamation Modeling Research Team, University Of Colorado & 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 Consequence

Anne 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 Risk 

John Carron, Hydros Consulting

Making A Case For The Grand Bargain: Lunchtime Keynote Speaker

Douglas Kenney, Director Of The Western Water Policy Program Within The University Of Colorado Law School

Of Primary Importance – Secondary Economic Impacts  Of Demand Management

Sonja Chavez, Colorado River District;
Doug Jeavons, Bbc Consulting

Click on the individual headings on the poster below to view the PowerPoint Presentation from that speaker.

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 DirectorCLICK 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 HouseCLICK 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 AuthorCLICK 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 ResearcherCLICK 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 CommissionCLICK 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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