Aug 242014

Four warm water fish species that inhabit the lower reaches of the Colorado River watershed in western Colorado have been listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. East Slope and West Slope water providers in the Upper Colorado Basin have committed to permanently supply 10,825 acre-feet of water per year (“10825 water”) to assist with the recovery of the endangered fish. This water is supplied to the “15-Mile Reach” of the Colorado River near Grand Junction during the late summer months. During this time of year the stream flow of the Colorado River within the 15-Mile Reach is substantially impacted by upstream water diversions, and the supplemental 10825 water is beneficial to the endangered fish recovery program.
The commitment to provide 10825 water is divided equally between East Slope and West Slope water providers, with each responsible to supply 5,412.5 acre-feet per year on a permanent basis. Currently, the 10825 water is provided on a temporary basis by Denver Water (from Williams Fork Reservoir) and by the Colorado River Water Conservation District (from Wolford Mountain Reservoir). The water providers must have permanent agreements in place that identify the permanent source of the 10825 water by December of 2009.
The East and West Slope water providers have agreed to cooperatively analyze and compare a wide range of alternatives to meet their obligations to provide summer and fall flow enhancements to the 15-Mile reach on a permanent basis. The 10825 Water Supply Study will develop and assess these cooperative alternatives. The study is managed by Grand River Consulting and is directed by a Steering Committee made up of a broad coalition of water providers who use water from the Colorado River basin, including the Ruedi Water and Power Authority. It is likely that Ruedi Reservoir, which has provided substantial water for endangered species over the last 20 years, will play a significant role in fulfilling the western slope’s 10825 obligation. For more information on the 10825 issue visit

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