New Improvements for Colorado’s Instream Flow Program

Your Water Colorado Blog

By Jamie Duvall

curecanti Image Source: Gunnison River, Curecanti NRA by Tony Fernandez

Turns out it takes more than just luck to keep water flowing through Colorado’s rivers. Colorado’s instream flow program has protected streamflow conditions and provided flexible use options to water right owners for over 44 years. With its creation in 1973, the instream flow program gave the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) the unique ability to hold instream flow rights—water rights with the sole purpose of preserving the natural environment by remaining in streams or lakes. Since 1973, the program has contributed to the preservation of more than 9,700 miles of stream and 480 natural lakes by acquiring water rights and appropriating them for instream use.

As administrator of the instream flow program, the CWCB receives recommendations for water rights to be appropriated to specific lakes or reaches of stream. The CWCB then reviews these recommendations by conducting…

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