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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Southwest Water Seminar: Navigating Shortage set for April 1

By Elaine Chick | Southwest Basin Roundtable

The summer of 2021 saw severe water shortages affecting agricultural producers, the environment, recreation and towns in southwest Colorado. It’s heartening to know that as we face an uncertain hydrologic future, local water champions are tackling shortage from every angle to ensure a resilient future for our communities. 

The Southwestern Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) 38th Southwest Water Seminar will discuss these challenges, strategies and successes under the umbrella of the theme “Navigating Shortage.” Among the planned presentations, regional and local climate experts will discuss data showing southwest Colorado squarely in the bullseye of a regional aridification trend.

Keen local negotiators will discuss Colorado water’s holy grail: striking the balance between multiple needs in times of drought. How do we keep agricultural producers in business, protect the environment, provide water for our communities and maintain water-based recreational opportunities? We’ll also discuss several local efforts to improve water quality while flows drop, including a regional effort to list designate reaches as “outstanding waters.”

These topics will be discussed at the annual Water Seminar hosted by the SWCD on April 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 501 Camino del Rio, in Durango. A hybrid format is being offered for those participants who wish to attend virtually.

This year also marks the centennial of the Colorado water compact. We’ll hear from a panel on the implications of this 100-year-old document and what the next 100 years looks like in the Colorado River Basin.

Since 1981, the SWCD has held the seminar to bring together members of other water districts, water users, tribal representatives, environmental advocates, recreation enthusiasts and many interested citizens to discuss hot topics in water management. In recent years, the seminar has seen record attendance — an indication of the growing importance of water resources to the public.

To register in person for $45 or virtually for $20, visit https://swwcd.org/more/southwest-water-seminar/ before March 30. Walk-in registration may not be available if advance registration reaches capacity. The cost at the door will be $50.

The SWCD was established by the Colorado Legislature in 1941 to protect, conserve, use and develop the waters in the San Juan and Dolores river basins. For more information about the SWCD, please visit http://swwcd.org/about-us.

For more information, contact Elaine Chick, water information program manager, at (970) 759-8818 or elaine@waterinfo.org.

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