By Zoe Goldstein

During their regular meetings on Thursday, May 23, the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District boards jointly pledged $1 million to the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s effort to purchase and preserve in perpetuity the Shoshone water rights.

The two attached Shoshone water rights, established in 1902 and 1929, form the oldest and largest non-consumptive right on the Colorado River. To be non-consumptive means that any water taken out of the river at the power plant is ultimately returned in full to the river.

Together, the Shoshone water rights enable a total of 1,408 cubic feet per second of water, or over 1 million acre-feet of water, to flow through Glenwood Canyon per year. When the Shoshone call is in place, junior water users upstream must stop or supplement the water they take from the river.