• BREAKFAST: Colorado Gives Day


    Join us for breakfast on December 8th to celebrate philanthropy in Colorado.

    Every donation on Colorado Gives Day is increased through a $1 Million Incentive Fund, which means more money for filling Colorado's rivers!

  • GUEST BLOG: Water Sharing on the Little Cimarron River


    Read Staff Attorney, Zach Smith's, contribution about water sharing between irrigation and instream flows for the Colorado Foundation of Water Education's blog.

    Western Rivers Conservancy plans to irrigate the land on this 214-acre ranch in Gunnison County AND use water to boost streamflows during dry times.

  • VIDEO: Cache la Poudre River Restoration Project


    A new video showcases the City of Fort Collins' work at McMurry & North Shields Ponds, lowering unnaturally steep riverbanks & removing an abandoned dam.

    We supported the Fort Collins Natural Areas Department's conservation work by raising funds for deconstruction of a physical barrier, the Josh Ames Diversion Dam.


Groundbreaking State Law Tested in Colorado Headwaters Stream

The infamous use-it-or lose-it rule is arguably the biggest barrier to water conservation and river-flow restoration in the western United States. It basically says that if anyone holding water rights does not put them to full use, the unused portion can be taken away and allocated to serve the needs of another water user.... 

Perversely, the use-it-or-lose-it principle gives water rights holders an incentive to waste water so that they don’t risk losing any of their increasingly valuable water rights.

Bit by bit, however, new state laws and innovative projects are chipping away at this outdated rule, and keeping rivers flowing for fish, wildlife and local communities. A groundbreaking 2013 Colorado law provides new flexibility that allows water rights owners to allocate water to a river during times of critical low flow.


Sandra Postel of National Geographic's Freshwater Initiative and Todd Reeve of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation wrote about our project on Willow Creek for National Geographic's Water Currents: Insights into the World of Freshwater blog.

What Can I Do with My Water?

What Can I Do with My Water?

Are you a water user wondering how you might use your water rights to restore flows in your local streams?  You’ve come to the right place.

The Colorado Water Trust team works with willing water users to improve streamflows in water-short streams.