West Slope Coalition Members Contribute an Additional $300,000 for
Shoshone Water Right Preservation

Funding from a diverse group of organizations represents strong community commitment to clean drinking water, agriculture, and the economy.

Thursday, March 14, 2024 

Glenwood Springs, Colorado — In early March, four more West Slope entities made substantial financial commitments toward the preservation of the historic Shoshone water rights on the Colorado River. On March 12, Basalt Water Conservancy District agreed to commit $100,000 to the effort. Earlier this month, the City of Rifle committed $100,000, and nearby West Divide Water Conservancy District, $50,000. In the Grand Valley, Palisade Irrigation District agreed to contribute $50,000 and intends to ratify this commitments at their April Board meeting.

“Maintaining the flow regime in the Colorado River sustained by historical operation of the Shoshone plant supports the Basalt Water Conservancy District’s ability to provide dependable legal water supplies to thousands of people in the Roaring Fork River basin in Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin counties,” said Chris Geiger, spokesperson for Basalt Water Conservancy District. “This pledge is an investment for the benefit of our constituents and all Western Colorado. We are pleased to join with the River District and dozens of other Western slope stakeholders to support this critical effort.”

“West Divide truly appreciates the many years of effort the Colorado River District has put into this priority project in the Colorado River Basin,” said West Divide Water Conservancy District Board President, Samuel Potter. “As flows on the Colorado River are depleted from transmountain diversions and threats of lower basin calls loom, the Shoshone water right ensures flows are available in this reach of the river for agriculture, municipalities, recreationalists, environmental flows, and overall aesthetics of the river corridor that we call home.”

Rifle City Council provided the following statement: “The City of Rifle, whose citizens rely on the Colorado River for water, is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Colorado River District to ensure that the Shoshone water rights are protected.  Securing the Shoshone water rights is an unprecedented opportunity to safeguard the health of the Colorado River for future generations.”

These organizations, along with many other water management agencies and local governments on the West Slope, have been a part of the decades-long effort to permanently protect the flows of the Upper Colorado River by securing these water rights in perpetuity. On December 19, 2023, the Colorado River District and Xcel Energy signed a historic Purchase & Sale Agreement (PSA) for these rights, and the River District committed $20 million towards the $98.5 million sale price. Just over a month later on January 29, 2024, the Colorado Water Conservation Board unanimously approved another $20 million through an appropriation in the 2024 Projects Bill in recognition of the statewide benefits of Shoshone permanency.

“We’re incredibly grateful for these meaningful contributions toward Shoshone permanency and heartened by the excitement from coalition partners to bring this effort across the finish line,” stated Andy Mueller, Colorado River District General Manager. “Protecting Shoshone’s historic flows is a long-term investment in water security for all of Colorado and for the many water users and municipalities on the West Slope that face a hotter, drier future.”

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


Press Release as PDF
Colorado River near Rifle, 2015
Frying Pan River Above Basalt