Colorado Takes Big Step Toward Securing Crucial Water Rights on the Colorado River

The Colorado River Water Conservation District just committed $20 million towards purchasing the Shoshone Power Plant water rights from Xcel Energy. The Shoshone Power Plant holds senior water rights in the region and greatly impacts flows through the Colorado River and its tributaries.

These senior water rights stabilize river flows, benefiting farmers, fish, and downstream cities.

  • The deal: A coalition led by the Colorado River District aims to buy the rights for $98.5 million. The state's contribution brings them closer to their goal.
  • Next steps: Lawmakers need to approve the expense, and the district must secure remaining funds, potentially from the federal government.

This agreement signifies:

  • Increased water security: Shoshone rights help buffer against Colorado River's unpredictability, crucial for Western Slope communities.
  • Collaborative solutions: This collaboration showcases innovative approaches to water challenges in a drying climate.
  • Statewide investment: Recognizing the interconnectedness of the Colorado River, the board acknowledges the importance of supporting Western Slope water needs.

As the deal progresses, The Water Report will track updates and delve deeper into its implications for water management in Colorado.

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Shaina Shay is an accomplished water professional with over a decade of experience in water policy, management, conservation, and community outreach. Her passion for pragmatic information sharing drives her work across the U.S. and Australia, where she has held roles with investor-owned utilities and as a senior water market specialist. Shaina's commitment to the field is reflected in her leadership positions within the American Water Works Association (AWWA), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Southern Arizona Water Users Association (SAWUA).