As part of the annual process updating its 21 formally adopted policies, the Colorado River District Board approved a new policy and gave initial review of four existing policies at the January 16, 2018 quarterly meeting.

The Board reviews roughly one-third of its policies annually. Proposed policy changes must be agendaed for at least two quarterly meetings before final action taken.

Additionally, the board reviewed and edited the following four existing policies which will be revised for potential re-adoption at the April quarterly meeting.

The Colorado River Storage Project Act (CRSPA) policy reaffirms the River District’s support for the intent of the CRSPA to develop the water resources of the Upper Colorado River Basin. The River District will advocate for fulfillment of the purposes of the Upper Basin Fund by utilizing “the full use of power revenues, generated by the initial units, together with appropriations, as needed, to fully maintain these projects and integrated facilities …” In addition, the policy advocates for the protection of Lake Powell reservoir levels to ensure the production of hydroelectric generation.

The Federal Reserved Water Rights policy advocates that the “… quantification of any federally reserved water rights be the minimum amount essential to preserve the primary purpose of the federal action that creates the federal land designation.”

The Colorado’s Prior Appropriation policy reaffirms the River District’s support of “Colorado’s system of prior appropriation as a fair and orderly system for allocating Colorado’s scarce water resources.” It has “proven to be both successful and flexible in addressing the changing demands, beneficial uses and values regarding Colorado’s water resources (e.g., instream flow and recreational in-channel diversion water rights) …

Adaptation of the Prior Appropriation Doctrine may be warranted to ensure the equitable allocation of Colorado’s remaining Colorado River entitlement … within Colorado … to equitably allocate water uses in the event of interstate compact administration.”

The Upper Colorado River Recovery Program policy “supports the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and its dual purpose of recovering fish species listed as endangered while allowing historical water use and water development to continue consistent with state law and Colorado’s entitlements under the Colorado River Compacts.” 

Subsequent to an extensive discussion, the Board directed staff to incorporate additional language into the Agricultural Water Use policy. The Board’s discussion of strong support for and promotion of Western Colorado agriculture will be incorporated into the next version of this policy to recognize the critically important contributions that irrigated agriculture makes to the economy and environment of Western Colorado.

Proposed language changes will be brought back to the Board at its April 17, 2018 meeting for additional discussion, input and potential approval.

Here are links to the full-text of these revised (http:// and previously approved policies (www.

To comment on any policies please submit to

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