The Gunnison River Whitewater Park has been in the planning stages since 1996. In March 2002, the District entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Gunnison County to design and develop the Whitewater Park. Under the agreement, the District is responsible for obtaining a water right for the Whitewater Park while Gunnison County is responsible for construction of the physical structures and facilities. By the spring of 2003, design, permitting, and most of the construction work were complete and the Gunnison Whitewater Park was open for its first operational season. In January, 2006, the District obtained a conditional recreational in-channel diversion (RICD) water right for the “Gunnison Whitewater Course” (Case No. 02CW38). In 2007, in response to concerns of its constituents, the District adjudicated a change of water right that allows appropriations junior to the RICD water right to be made without the need for augmentation where such appropriations would otherwise be required to provide augmentation to the RICD water right (Case No. 07CW71). Construction of all of the designed features was completed in 2011.
The Course is located within the channel of the Gunnison River, downstream of U. S. Highway 50 West of the City of Gunnison. The Course has been the site of the Gunnison River Festival each year since completion, and has been used by Western Colorado University and local outfitters as a kayak training course, as well as thousands of private recreational boaters and kayakers. In October, 2012, the Water Court issued a decree that made the RICD water right absolute (Case No. 12CW4).