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Summer Newsletter 2021

Sonja Chavez, General Manager


As the General Manager of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (District), it is not uncommon for me to be asked, “What does the Upper Gunnison District actually do?”  This question always gives me a moment of pause because I’m thinking, “Where do I begin and how do I keep this to a short conversational answer?”  The Board and staff of the District certainly wear many hats, and in this issue of our newsletter, we hope to provide a broader perspective of all of the waters we dip our collective toes into! 

To start, the District was established in 1959 by a vote of area taxpayers.  Our mission is to “be an active leader in all issues affecting the water resources of the Upper Gunnison River Basin.” As a special tax district with funding from property tax revenues, we take our fiscal and statutory responsibilities very seriously.  We are 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 this summer’s edition of our newsletter, you will learn more about the programs we lead, sponsor and participate in, including augmentation programs, water quantity and quality monitoring, Wet Meadows Restoration and Resiliency, District Grant Program, Gunnison River Festival, Growing Gunnison Water Smart, and the Gunnison Conservation District. 

These are but a sampling of many local programs we are involved in as we also work hard to participate in statewide and federal issues that affect water resources within our basin, on the Western Slope, and within our State.  We make sure that the Upper Gunnison District is a strong and consistent voice guarding against inequitable and unmitigated damage to our water interests.  For instance, my staff and/or I and our General Counsel (attorney) represent water interests and provide technical support on the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group, Upper Colorado River Commission, Colorado Water Congress Federal and State Affairs and Water Quality Committees, Colorado Water Conservation Board Demand Management Technical Work Groups, Governor’s Water Equity Task Force, Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee, and Gunnison Basin Roundtable.

As you can see, with all of the hats we wear, there is rarely a dull moment in the water world.  And while we all do our very best to address the water issues of the day, the one thing we can’t do is control Mother Nature.  So, until she decides to pull us out of this cycle of drought, let’s all do our very best to conserve where we can.  Enjoy your summer!

Lawrence and Sun Ditch - before

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