article photo 2

Colorado Water Plan is Historic Step Forward

Posted: 11/19/2015
By: Nathan Fey

DENVER, Colorado - As the leading conservation group representing whitewater paddlers in Colorado, American Whitewater is pleased that years of hard work on the State's’s first-ever water plan reflects Coloradans’ overwhelming support for conservation and river protection. It is critical that the Plan be implemented accordingly, so that rivers are protected, restored, and enjoyed!

American Whitewater and our conservation partners including Audubon, American Rivers, Conservation Colorado, Environmental Defense Fund, San Juan Citizens Alliance and Western Resource Advocates, released a statement today that applauds Colorado’s first-ever water plan as an important step forward for the state in terms of future water management. 

The final plan reflects Coloradans’ values made clear in 30,000 public comments that revealed overwhelming support for conserving water in our cities and towns, protecting rivers and promoting a strong riverbased recreation economy.

We agree the plan will help protect Colorado’s $9 billion recreation and outdoor economy, our vital agricultural communities, and the birds and wildlife that depend upon healthy rivers for survival, while also helping to preserve our way of life.

We support the plan becasue it makes important progress in securing 
Colorado’s water future by:

• Setting the first-ever statewide water conservation targets for cities and towns,
prioritizing water conservation as never before

• Helping preserve and restore our rivers by proposing annual funding for healthy
rivers, which will create ongoing and unprecedented financial support for river
assessments and restoration

• Making new, costly and controversial large trans-mountain diversions, which harm
rivers and local communities, much less likely

Together with our partners, we express optimism about the plan’s overall direction, and are
committed to the implementation process. 
 The plan will not be valuable without action from Colorado’s leaders to implement it. Meeting all of Colorado’s water needs will require implementation and action in the same spirit of collaboration, flexibility and innovation that was shown in producing the plan.

“We commend the Governor, the CWCB and the Basin roundtables for ensuring actions to protect Colorado’s river systems and river-dependent recreation are incorporated into the plan. These critical actions need funding, stakeholder input, technical consultation and study as we manage water for the future and ensure that our recreation industry and whitewater rivers are world-class.” Nathan Fey of American Whitewater said in a statement released today.

"AW and our partners will work with Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to protect Colorado’s environment by strengthening the water project evaluation criteria so the state engages only in those efforts that are cost-effective and have support from local communities."

American Whitewater is collaborating with the state, water utilities, irrigators, the business community and others in taking action to ensuring Colorado increases water conservation and recycling, keeps rivers healthy and flowing, and avoids new large trans-mountain diversions.

More information on the Colorado Water Plan can be found at


Associated Projects

Colorado SWSI (CO)

Colorado's Statewide Water Supply Initiative may very well determine the fate of Colorado's whitewater rivers by dictating how much water can be removed from rivers to serve a growing population.

Read More
Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!