Program overview

The Colorado River District’s Partnership Projects Funding Program was created in 2021 to fund multi-purpose water projects on the Western Slope in five project categories: productive agriculture, infrastructure, healthy rivers, watershed health and water quality, and conservation and efficiency. Funding for the program was approved by Western Colorado voters as part of ballot question 7A in November 2020. These funds provide a catalyst for projects that are priorities for residents in the District to receive matching funds from state, federal and private sources.

Who can apply?

A project proponent within the District’s 15-county boundaries is eligible to apply for the Partnership Project Funding Program. Project proponents include stakeholders such as individuals, local governments, corporations, private entities such as mutual ditch companies, non-profit corporations, and partnerships.  Completed projects are not eligible for the Partnership Project Funding Program. 

What types of projects qualify for funding?

The program seeks to advance the Colorado River District’s mission “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.”

Projects should be within the River District’s boundaries and fit within the District’s Mission, Strategic Plan and the Board of Director’s policy statements. District Partnership Project Funding may be made in the form of a grant, loan and/or investment in a project. Program funds shall not be the sole source of funding for any project. Project applicants and supporters should contribute funds and use District funds to leverage additional state, federal or private funds to the project.

The program framework prioritizes multi-use projects that meet needs in one or more of the following categories:

  • Productive agriculture projects could include multiple-use storage that addresses regional priorities; developing innovative and functional water leasing; suitable agriculture efficiency and conservation approaches; technical assistance and technological innovation; and dedicated resources for increasing community literacy about irrigated agriculture and supporting agricultural market growth. The District will not utilize these funds to permanently or temporarily fallow irrigated agriculture;
  • Infrastructure projects could include upgrading aging infrastructure while incentivizing new storage and delivery projects that collaboratively address multiple needs, such as improved flows to meet demands, stream and watershed health, and habitat quality; multi-purpose projects and storage methods that are supported in the Water Plan and the Basin Implementation Plans;
  • Healthy rivers projects could include those identified in stream management plans or similar projects that support and sustain fish and wildlife, healthy aquifer conditions as they connect to healthy streams, economically important water-based recreation, wetland habitat, fish passage construction for new or revised water diversion structures, stream restoration projects, and environmental and recreational enhancements for new or revised water supply projects;
  • Watershed health and water quality projects which could include projects identified in collaborative and science-based watershed management plans that reduce the risk from and increase resilience to fires and/or floods, rehabilitate streams, or make landscapes resilient to climate change, including, but not limited to science-based mechanical forest treatments and prescribed fire, projects that address drinking water quality for under-resourced communities, and projects that address pollutants such as selenium, salts, and others, as well as mine remediation activities; and
  • Conservation and efficiency projects could include supporting agricultural water infrastructure that increases reliability and efficiency; municipal and industrial projects that promote efficiency, water conservation, green infrastructure, and outdoor landscaping to reduce consumptive use; increase leak detection for infrastructure repair and replacement; assisting communities with water-smart community development and water conservation programs; and targeting smaller, fast-growing, and communities with older infrastructure with strategic, incentive-based investments.
Application process
  1. Review the Partnership Project Funding Program Guidelines, Partnership Project Funding Program Framework, and River District Application prior to applying for and/or consulting with District Staff.
  2. Contact the River District at partnerfunding@crwcd.org to arrange for a staff consultation about your proposed application. 
  3. Submit a completed application and all supporting documentation by email to partnerfunding@crwcd.org.
Application deadlines

The Partnership Project Funding Program is a rolling program, and therefore, applications and requests for partnership funding can be submitted at any time. Applicants should anticipate four to six weeks for internal applications review, analysis and funding recommendation, contingent upon receiving a complete application. 

For funding requests that require Board approval, a completed application and all supporting materials must be submitted no later than six weeks prior to the next regularly scheduled District Board meeting. The River District’s regularly scheduled quarterly meetings fall on the third Tuesday of January, April, July, and October. 

Funded Projects

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