To be an active leader in issues affecting the water resources of the Upper Gunnison River Basin.
This mission statement reflects the following values held by the District’s Board of Directors.
The Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) was established in 1959 by a vote of area taxpayers. The UGRWCD’s mission has evolved over the years to “being an active leader in all issues affecting the water resources of the Upper Gunnison River Basin.” The UGRWCD is located in south-central Colorado in the headwaters of the Gunnison River Basin. The mainstem of the Upper Gunnison River forms at the confluence of the East and Taylor Rivers in Almont and converges with other tributaries on its way into Blue Mesa Reservoir. Seven tributary mountain watersheds make up most of the Upper Gunnison River Basin. These seven are Ohio Creek; East River, which includes the Slate River; Taylor River; Tomichi Creek, which includes Quartz Creek; Cochetopa Creek; and, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison. The UGRWCD strives to develop, promote, and implement water conservation, augmentation, and management strategies to protect water resources for the benefit of its citizens, the economy, and the environment.
- The Board opposes any new transfers of water from the Gunnison River and its tributaries upstream of Blue Mesa Dam to other basins because such transfers would interfere with existing beneficial uses of water, damage economic stability, and reduce environmental quality within the District.
The Board supports wise land use policies by local governments to protect the water resources of the basin.
The Board regards irrigation, flood control, municipal and industrial uses, ecological needs, recreational opportunities, and aesthetic values to be important matters for the District and the public it serves and advocates achieving a balance among competing uses of water within the District to minimize conflict among them.
The Board is committed to managing and funding effective monitoring, protection and restoration programs in order to maintain high water quality standards as a necessary part of a healthy economy and environment in the District.
The Board accepts the preponderance of scientific evidence indicating that warmer temperatures are already having effects in the District on quantity and timing of precipitation, evaporative losses, forest health and timing of spring peak runoff, and other effects that will increase in the future; it is therefore necessary to adapt the Board’s planning assumptions to such changed conditions.
The Board strongly supports irrigated agriculture in the District for its economic and environmental contributions to the community and for the cultural and social values of farming and ranching.
The Board believes that the District must participate in statewide processes to address challenges like climate change, drought, population pressure, water shortages, and projects and programs to address those challenges; and in those statewide processes, the District must be a strong and consistent voice guarding against inequitable and unmitigated damage to Western Slope interests.
The Board recognizes the need for collaborative efforts with partners to develop positions regarding legislation that has a nexus with water.
The Board recognizes that effective water management requires attention to the health and viability of the entire watershed and the groundwater moving through the land and interacting with the surface waters.