City of Glenwood Springs pledges $2 million for Shoshone Water Right Preservation campaign

Fundraising effort tops $50 million and exceeds halfway mark towards total purchase price. 

Friday, May 17, 2024 

Glenwood Springs, Colorado During a regular public meeting on Thursday, May 16th, the Glenwood Springs City Council voted unanimously to contribute $2 million to the Shoshone Water Right Preservation campaign. These senior water rights, currently used for hydroelectric power production at the Shoshone Power Plant, are essential for maintaining the flows of the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon. 

Last December, the Colorado River District, on behalf of a growing coalition of West Slope water entities and local governments, signed a purchase and sale agreement with Xcel Energy to secure and protect the Shoshone water rights for a price of $99 million. 

The City of Glenwood’s $2 million contribution pushes the total amount raised so far to over $50 million, just over half the total cost. The Colorado River District will continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to secure the remainder of the purchase price before the deal closes in 2027. 

“This forward-thinking investment in the permanent protection of the Shoshone rights is a legacy investment for Glenwood because the health of our rivers is directly tied to the heart of our community, quality of life for our residents, and our local economy,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Ingrid Wussow. “We are incredibly appreciative of the dedication of all partners who have worked to advance this opportunity for our community today and for generations to come.”  

According to the Shoshone Outfitter Partnership, the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon experiences over 70,000 commercial customer trips and an estimated 80,000 private boaters who launch from the Grizzly Creek and Shoshone boat ramps. River recreation drives the summer economy of the City of Glenwood Springs, which sustains local businesses and a foundational tax base for the city through its recreation- and tourism-based economy. Achieving Shoshone permanency provides certainty and security for outfitters, the hospitality industry, and all local businesses that rely on resident and nonresident tourists and qualified employees. In 2022, the Colorado River Outfitters Association estimated that commercial river rafting through Glenwood Canyon created an economic impact of $23.5 million. 

West Slope partner organizations have now contributed $10.05 million in local funding. Last December, the Colorado River District’s Community Funding Partnership grant program committed $20 million, and the Colorado General Assembly recently appropriated another $20 million through the Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects Bill (HB24-1435). 

“We thank the City of Glenwood Springs for their strong leadership and support in securing the future of the Colorado River,” says Andy Mueller, Colorado River District General Manager. “With the City’s contribution, our growing West Slope coalition has secured $50 million, over half of the purchase price, in less than five months. These funding commitments serve as examples of the decisive mentality needed to support long-lasting solutions for future generations.” 

A durable solution and multi-generational investment, Shoshone permanency will 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: 


Press Release as PDF