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Saving Rivers by Opposing Irresponsible New Dam/Diversion/Pipeline Projects

We love rivers! And, that’s why we work hard to save and protect them. Dams, diversions, and pipelines drain and kill rivers, and thus we work to stop new dams, diversions, and pipelines across the Southwest U.S. We support alternatives to new dams and diversions that protect and restore rivers — those alternatives include water conservation and efficiency, water recycling and reuse, growth management, and water-sharing agreements with farmers. We are actively promoting water conservation and efficiency in all states and cities across the basin especially in Colorado, Utah, and Southern California.

Unfortunately, water planners throughout the 7-state Colorado River region are planning even more new dams, diversions, and pipelines that would further drain the river and its tributaries.  Here’s the continually growing and updated list of bad dam/diversion/pipeline proposals in the Colorado River basin that we are tracking closely and/or fighting to stop:

In Colorado:

  • Moffat Collection System Project in Colorado (15,000 acre feet — being built)
  • Windy Gap Firming Project in Colorado (30,000 acre feet — being built)
  • Wolf Creek Reservoir on the the White River in Colorado ( 85,000? acre feet — hasn’t begun permitting yet, but expected soon)
  • The San Juan Headwaters Project  ( ? acre feet — local water district voters voted ‘no’ and sent the money back to the state)
  • Irresponsible water use from the Animas-La Plata Project (? acre feet. New diversions will start soon — already built, but needs permits and MOUs for water use)
  • Eagle River MOU (30,000 acre feet, not yet started permitting — story here and here). See our “wall of opposition” here.
  • Six proposed new dams on the Fryingpan River in the Holy Cross Wilderness. (6,000 acre feet or more)
  • A proposed new dam on the Crystal River.
  • The “Cow Creek Pipeline” in Ouray County.
  • Crystal River Ranch Dams, (1,000 acre feet), pre-permitting
  • Haypark Reservoir (?? acre feet), pre-permitting
  • Clinton Reservoir Expansion
  • Three proposed dams in Upper Blue River Watershed by City of Colorado Springs
  • Coffintop Dam/Reservoir on South St. Vrain Creek, Lyons, CO. (not Colorado River water)

In New Mexico: 

  • Gila River Pipeline in New Mexico (12,000 acre feet — Governor nixed the funding. future unknown)
  • The “Babbitt Diversion” out of the San Juan River (see story here)
  • Navajo-Gallop Water Project (36,000 acre feet — being constructed)
  • Navajo Water Rights Settlement (85,000 acre feet granted to Navajo, but no project proposed yet — see story here)

In Utah: 

  • Price River Dam in Utah  ( ? acre feet — Corps halted BuRec’s permitting process, for now)
  • Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah (86,000 acre feet — permitting process occurring now by the Dept of Internior, but will need other permits)
  • Green River Water Rights Exchange (up to 50,000 acre feet. In litigation.)
  • Flaming Gorge Pipeline (55,000 acre feet, water rights application filed which we “protested” in Utah State Water Court)
  • Navajo Utah Water Settlement Act, 81,500 acre feet. Bill in Congress.
  • Green River Oil Shale (10,000 acre feet/year, challenged in court)
  • The Green River/Wasatch Front Diversion (see story here)
  • The “Cove Project” (see comment letter here). We won — the project has to do a full EIS.

In Wyoming: 

  • Fontenelle Dam expansion on the Green River in Wyoming (~125,000 acre feet — Trump signed bill giving WY the water right. Project has not started permitting yet. Temporarily put “on hold“.)
  • The 280-foot-high dam on the West Fork of Battle Creek in Carbon County, a tributary to the Yampa. ( ? acre feet — hasn’t begun permitting yet)
  • Big Sandy Reservoir Enlargment on the Big Sandy River, a tributary to the Green River. ( 2,435 acre feet, Record of Decision released.)

In Arizona:

Faming Gorge Pipeline

Altogether, the proposals above would divert a new ~400,000 acre feet of water (or more, perhaps LOTS more) out of the Upper Basin of the Colorado River and its tributaries. In addition, state water planning processes in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are also yielding even more bad proposed water projects that we may address in the future.  Nevada, Arizona, and California are also proposing new destructive water supply projects, including some proposals to settle Native American water rights that may include even more dams and diversions. Save The Colorado believes that our society needs to stop draining and destroying rivers and needs to focus on river protection and restoration. Thus, we are addressing the threat of these proposed irresponsible projects on many levels through science, law, and public advocacy.

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