Upper Eagle River Water Providers Commit a Combined $1 Million towards Shoshone Permanency

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority Boards’ contribution brings total fundraising efforts to $51.15 million.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 

Vail, Colorado — On May 23, during their respective meetings, the boards of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority supported a joint contribution of $1 million towards the Colorado River District’s purchase of the Shoshone water rights. Combined, these two entities are the second largest water provider on the Western Slope, operating the public water system that serves East Vail through Edwards in the Eagle River Valley.

“In 2012, both our organizations, along with Eagle County and Eagle Park Reservoir Company, were the first among 17 West Slope signatories to sign the historic Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, which is foundational to Shoshone permanency,” said UERWA Board Chair George Gregory. “We’re thrilled with the progress of this long-term project.”

“This is a permanent investment in the health of our rivers,” said ERWSD Board Chair Dick Cleveland. “Continuing the historic flow regime associated with the Shoshone water rights ensures that our community’s rivers keep flowing and can provide us with water for recreational, environmental, and domestic uses.”

Since the signing of the purchase and sale agreement in December, 18 entities on the West Slope have committed $11.15 million to the purchase and permanent protection of the historic Shoshone water rights. Along with the $20 million appropriated by the State of Colorado and the $20 million from the Colorado River District’s Community Funding Partnership, the amount raised is over halfway to the total purchase price of $99 million.

“We could not do this without the support of all the organizations that make up the West Slope Coalition,” said Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Colorado River District. “This momentum not only highlights the community’s commitment to preserving our precious water resources, but also strengthens our collective efforts to ensure a sustainable future for the Colorado River Basin.”

The broad-based Shoshone Water Right Preservation Coalition will continue to seek funding to fulfill the final $99 million purchase price and additional closing conditions by the end of 2027. At the same time, the Colorado River District continues to negotiate an instream flow agreement in partnership with the state to ensure that the water will continue to flow regardless of the status of power production at the Shoshone Hydroelectric Plant in Glenwood Canyon.

These very senior, non-consumptive rights are a cornerstone of West Slope communities, supporting recreational and agricultural economies, municipal water and wastewater providers, and ensuring the continued health of the 15-Mile Reach – a critical stretch of river for the recovery of threatened and endangered fish.

A durable solution and multi-generational investment, Shoshone permanency will ultimately provide priceless benefits for water users on both sides of the divide. More information
about the Shoshone Water Right Preservation Campaign & Coalition can be found at: www.KeepShoshoneFlowing.org.


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