Whether it’s from your kitchen tap or the irrigation spigot, we all rely on West Slope water. Learn more about current issues by tuning into Water With Your Lunch – the River District’s series of educational lunchtime webinars. Check out our upcoming webinars or watch the ones you missed below to learn more about your West Slope water.

All Colorado River District webinars are free to attend. Advanced registration is required for upcoming webinars.

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: HOW TO MAKE IT RAIN WHEN IT’S NOT RAINING

June 29, 2022

How to Make it Rain When it’s Not Raining – Funding Your West Slope Water Project The Colorado River District’s latest installment of Water With Your Lunch aims to help West Slope water users successfully navigate the federal funding opportunities provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. A cross-discipline team of River District staff, and guest speaker Nate Pearson of DNR, present information about specific funding categories for water projects, how to put together a successful federal grant application, and how to leverage other grant opportunities to maximize funding and project impacts. Along with a look at the various federal funding pools for water projects, River District staff present details on the recently established Community Funding Partnership “Accelerator Grant.” This special funding opportunity is designed to support the grant-writing, feasibility, design, preliminary environmental review, benefit analysis, and engineering needed to complete federal funding applications.

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WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: KNOW YOUR SNOW

FEBRUARY 22, 2022

The current snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin sits above seasonal averages, but our big reservoir levels hover below 30%. We see flakes in the sky and skiers on the slopes but historically low streamflow and dry soils.

How do these factors add up? What do current conditions tell us and how does it compare to the past? Can we make a difference through cloud seeding? And what is happening with our climate? Is there such a thing as a ‘new normal’?

In this webinar which aired Tuesday, February 22, 2022, hear experts weigh in on the answers to these questions and more.

This third-annual ‘Know Your Snow’ webinar begins with a look at the overall health of the snowpack and how it might impact Colorado’s ongoing drought conditions and soon-to-begin spring runoff. Panelists explain how they measure, model, intercompare, and even enhance our annual snowpack, making this information usable for snow lovers, water enthusiasts, and interested public. Included is an explanation of NOAA’s recent adjustment of the ’30 Year Average,’ or new climate normal, and how that changes the way we interpret that data. We also learn more about cloud seeding and its impacts on local snowfall.

Panelists Include: Jeffrey Deems – Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Airborne Snow Observatories Sarah Tessendorf – Project Scientist with the Hydrometeorological Applications Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Paul Miller – Service Coordination Hydrologist for the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center Lindsay DeFrates (moderator) – PR & Media Specialist at the Colorado River District

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: NextGen Ag

November 16, 2021

Technology and the Future of Family Farms in Western Colorado

Colorado’s West Slope agriculture is one-of-a-kind. The food grown for people across the state and the nation is tended not by large corporate entities, but by small, multi-generational family farms and ranches. These local operations provide an economic backbone for communities across the Western Slope, but in a hotter, drier climate, they face staggering challenges. Water With Your Lunch: NextGen Ag continues the River District’s popular lunchtime webinar series with a panel of local farmers, ranchers, and scientists speaking to the integration of new technologies to enhance water use efficiency and how agricultural innovation may secure a future for the next generation.

Alongside a discussion of current and developing solutions, the panel discusses how certain efficiency upgrades can affect return flows and water management, as well as agricultural infrastructure investments and collaborative solutions for funding the future of agriculture on the Western Slope.

Panelists Include: – Dr. Perry Cabot, Research Scientist and Extension Specialist, Colorado Water Institute, CSU Extension and CSU Agricultural Experiment Station, Mesa County – Paul Bruchez, Owner and Operator, Reeder Creek Ranch, Grand County – Dave “DK” Kanzer, Director of Science and Interstate Matters, Colorado River District – Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance -Marielle Cowdin, Director of Public Relations, Colorado River District (moderator)

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: PLUMMETING POWELL

August 5, 2021

How Lake Powell’s Decline Affects West Slope Water Users

Lake Powell has been making the news a lot lately with sobering photos and headlines. This webinar will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about this Basin-wide issue and how we got to this point. Three expert panelists will discuss their views on current conditions and possible future pathways for Colorado River water users. Discussion topics will include the longtime overuse of the Colorado River by Lower Basin states; the day-to-day effects of a 21-year drought on Western Colorado soil and stream conditions; and how past policy decisions impacted operations on the Colorado River. Finally, panelists will highlight their unique perspectives on how the current hydrological conditions and future policy decisions could affect the future of the Colorado River Compact. Water With Your Lunch:

Plummeting Powell panelists include: – Anne Castle, Senior Fellow at Getches-Wilkinson Center, CU Boulder Law School – Steve Wolff, General Manager at Southwestern Water Conservation District – Andy Mueller, General Manager at the Colorado River District.

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: WEST SLOPE WATER AT THE CAPITOL

APRIL 14, 2021

West Slope legislators and policy experts joined Colorado River District staff to provide updates on water legislation and funding efforts, including the potential impact of state and federal stimulus dollars on West Slope water projects.

Sen. Kerry Donovan and Rep. Dylan Roberts opened with an overview of water policy priorities for the current legislative session. Sen. Bob Rankin, a member of the Joint Budget Committee, provided an overview of budget discussions and funding decisions that impact West Slope water supplies alongside Gayle Berry, a budget expert and former state representative from Grand Junction. During her time as a legislator, Berry also served on the Joint Budget Committee.

Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Colorado River District, presented on the state of funding for West Slope water projects and how River District funding can be leveraged to attract state and federal investments in Western Colorado’s water projects.

Link to presentation from Zane Kessler, director of government affairs at the Colorado River District
Link to presentation from Amy Moyer, director of strategic partnerships at the Colorado River District

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: PARTNERSHIP PROJECT FUNDING PROGRAM

FEBRUARY 10, 2021

In this webinar, the Colorado River District gave an overview of the Partnership Project Funding program including how to apply, what kind of projects this funding can be used for and our goals for the program.  

The Partnership Project Funding Program will 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 District funds will be directed to projects identified as priorities by communities, water users, and Basin Roundtables in the District.

Link to presentation from Andy Mueller, general manager and Alesha Frederick, director of information and outreach at the Colorado River District
Link to application documents

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: OUR SNOW AND OUR WATER

December 16, 2020

Our snow is our water. The snow that we ski and ride becomes the water that quenches crops and communities. As winter begins, we’re all wondering what our water future holds and how will it impact us. 

In this webinar, we heard forecasts for snowpack and water supply and discussed the economic impact of snow and water on the West Slope. Presenters also addressed long–term changes that are becoming visible in Colorado’s mountain snowpack. Understanding how snowfall, water and our livelihoods are connected is vital to understanding actions we can take to protect our West Slope water and sustain our West Slope economies. 

Link to presentation from Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist at Open Snow.
Link to study Gratz referenced. 
Link to a presentation from Paul Miller, a service coordination hydrologist at the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.
Link to presentation from Alan Henceroth, chief operating officer at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.
Link to presentation from Todd Hagenbuch, Colorado State Extension Agent in Routt County

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: PROTECTING THE WATER SECURITY OF WEST SLOPE COMMUNITIES

OCTOBER 14, 2020

The Colorado River District will continue its Water With Your Lunch webinar series at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, with a discussion of three different regions in the District and how those communities view their drinking and agricultural water supplies, threats to them and how to plan for a water-secure future.    

Water security means many things to the Colorado River District, whose mission is to make sure western Colorado’s water sources are protected for household use, agriculture, recreation and the environment.

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: WHAT’S UP WITH HEDGE FUNDS AND WATER IN THE GRAND VALLEY?

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

We’ve all been wondering, why is a New York-based hedge fund buying Grand Valley farmland? As part of the Colorado River District’s “Water With Your Lunch” webinar series and the fight to protect West Slope Water, the River District hosted a discussion about Water Asset Management, the investment firm behind the ag land purchases that have stirred up curiosity and concern on the Western Slope.

Water Asset Management founder Disque Deane was invited to the discussion that included Andy Mueller, the River District’s general manager, and Marc Catlin, a farmer from Montrose and state legislator representing House District 58. Catlin also sits on the River District Board of Directors. The invitation was declined by Water Asset Management but written responses to questions were provided and can be found below.

Water Asset Management responses to Colorado River District Questions

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: THE CALLS THAT COMMAND THE COLORADO RIVER

AUGUST 5, 2020

On the main stem of the Colorado, the most heavily diverted of the river’s basins, two historic structures have much to say about providing water security for Western Colorado. One is the Shoshone Hydropower Plant in Glenwood Canyon. The other is the Grand Valley Diversion Dam in Debeque Canyon, sometimes known as the Roller Dam for its engineering design.

Learn more from presentations by Jim Pokrandt, community affairs director of the Colorado River District; Mark Harris, manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association in Grand Junction, operators of the Roller Dam; and Fay Hartman, conservation director, Colorado River Basin Program at American Rivers.

Link to Colorado River District and Grand Valley Water Users PowerPoint Presentation
Link to American Rivers PowerPoint Presentation

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: RISING TEMPERATURES, RISING CHALLENGES

JULY 14, 2020

Water is the lifeblood of the Western Slope, but where does it come from? In short, it comes from snow, spring rains and summer monsoons. And all three are being impacted by prolonged drought and increased weather variability in the Colorado River Basin 

The public can learn more about weather, water and climate at the Colorado River District’s free  “Water With Your Lunch” Zoom webinar from noon to 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 14.  State Climatologist Russ Schumacher will join River District Deputy Engineer Dave Kanzer in a discussion about the interrelationships between climate and hydrology  — and the cycles of snow, rains and monsoons. In sum total, this is our water supply in the West. 

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: WATER POLICY AND YOU

JUNE 30, 2020

Experts and policymakers provideD updates and answered questions on important water issues at the state and federal level.

Presenters included state Reps. Marc Catlin and Dylan Roberts, Colorado River District Director of Government Relations Zane Kessler, former Colorado House Representative and state legislature expert Gayle Berry and federal policy experts Sara Tucker and Garrett Durst.

Link to Colorado River District PowerPoint Presentation
Link to Natural Resource Results PowerPoint Presentation

WATER WITH YOUR LUNCH: A WEBINAR FOR WEST SLOPE WATER USERS

JUNE 10, 2020

Presentations were made by Andy Mueller and Zane Kessler of the Colorado River District and partners from Colorado Cattlemen’s and American Rivers. Topics included:

  • Challenges facing West Slope Water users
  • A discussion of the important roles that American Rivers and Colorado Cattleman’s play in key West Slope water issues

Link to Colorado River District PowerPoint Presentation
Link to American Rivers PowerPoint Presentation
Link to Colorado Cattlemen’s Association PowerPoint Presentation