Denver, Colorado — On Monday, January 29, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) voted unanimously to appropriate $20 million in the 2024 Projects Bill for Shoshone Water Right Preservation. The funding commitment represents another key milestone in the campaign to permanently protect the historic, non-consumptive Shoshone water rights on the upper Colorado River for future generations, an outcome long-sought by 20 Western Slope water entities and local governments.

“On behalf of the Colorado River District, our Coalition Partners, and the many that have worked tirelessly on this issue for decades, we’re grateful to the CWCB for voting to appropriate $20 million in the 2024 Projects Bill for Shoshone Water Right Permanency,” said Andy Mueller, Colorado River District General Manager.

“We also greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of CWCB staff in this effort and their positive recommendation of funding to the board. We consider the state an integral partner in protecting Shoshone’s flows in perpetuity, and the $20 million funding milestone brings this generational investment in Colorado water security one step closer to the finish line. We look forward to continued partnership with the state as the Shoshone Water Right Preservation Coalition moves forward.”

“The CWCB Board considered this funding application very carefully,” said Lauren Ris, CWCB Director. “This is a significant step towards maintaining historic flows on the Colorado River. As an agency, we will continue to do our due diligence in this process, with the hope that these efforts can benefit the environment and give West Slope water users more certainty.”

Prior to Monday’s vote, 18 people – each of whom joined in-person or virtually on behalf of local governments, water providers, NGOs, and other entities – signed up to testify in favor of the $20 million Shoshone investment.

“On behalf of Grand County, we can’t emphasize enough how important this water right is,” said Merritt Linke, Grand County Commissioner. “All of our economies, including agriculture and tourism depend on Shoshone water right. To permanently protect that water right is to protect our businesses, our communities, and our Grand County way of life.”