2023 Drought Task Force

About the Colorado River Drought Task Force:

During Colorado’s 2023 legislative session, Senate Bill 23-295 passed the state legislature with near-unanimous support in both the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Polis on May 20, 2023, officially creating the Colorado River Drought Task Force.

The Task Force is comprised of 17 voting members representing water users on both sides of the Continental Divide and one non-voting chairperson. Along with the critical perspective provided by a Tribal Sub-Task Force, the group will develop actionable recommendations for the 2024 General Assembly on steps the state can take to protect the Colorado River and all who rely on its water. These recommendations, due no later than December 31, 2023, should address how the state can provide greater tools for Colorado water managers responding to drought – tools that protect local agriculture and communities while maintaining Colorado’s interstate commitments on the Colorado River.

Creation of the Drought Task Force is a next step in a decades-long discussion about demand reduction. Any recommendations made by this Task Force must be consistent with the foundational documents which have been developed through extensive stakeholder engagement both by the state and the conservation districts such as the 2023 Colorado Water Plan, principle four in Chapter Four of the Colorado Water Plan’s Conceptual Framework, the CWCB’s 2018 Demand Management Support and Policy Statement, as well as the Upper Basin Demand Management Storage Agreement (DMSA).

It should be noted that the River District’s support for this stakeholder bill is not an endorsement of Demand Management. It is, however, a recognition that it is possible that a Demand Management or another systematic water conservation program may be authorized, funded, and implemented in the Upper Basin. Collaboration and cooperation, therefore, will be essential as stakeholders move forward in developing long-term, durable solutions on the Colorado River and all who depend on it in Colorado.

Related Resources from the Colorado River District

Read the Colorado River District’s Guiding Principles for Participation in the Colorado River Drought Task Force.

 View the Guiding Principles HERE (.pdf).

In response to a call from the Drought Task Force Chair, the Colorado River District’s appointed representative, Andy Mueller,  submitted the following draft of a potential “road map” for reaching consensus on these difficult issues.

 View the Suggested Road Map HERE (.pdf)

Meetings & Updates:

The Colorado River Drought Taskforce will hold meetings twice a month from July to December, 2023. The first meeting of the month will be held in person, the second, virtual.

Please visit the Colorado River Drought Task Force website here to find the most up-to-date information about meetings and agendas.

SB295 Colorado River Drought Task Force Meeting Schedule
July 31, 2023 – Virtual
August 10, 2023 – Denver
August 24, 2023 – TBD
September 14, 2023 – TBD
September 28, 2023 – TBD
October 12, 2023 – TBD
October 26, 2023 – TBD
November 9, 2023 – TBD
November 16, 2023 – TBD
December 7, 2023 – TBD