Southwest Water Seminar2022-01-05T17:08:18-07:00

For 38 years in southwestern Colorado, water managers, irrigators, municipal representatives, tribal members, environmental advocates, recreation enthusiasts, and interested citizens have come together each year for the SWCD’s Southwest Water Seminar. It’s a unique opportunity to interact with other individuals who are passionate about water resources, and hear expert speakers from around the state and region.

COVID-19: SWCD takes the health and safety of attendees and our broader constituency very seriously. We will be monitoring this situation and stay in coordination with local officials to ensure the 2022 seminar is safe for you.

SWCD’s 37th Annual Seminar, “Headwaters to Headgates: Uniting Leaders and Lessons for Southwest Colorado,” had another record number of attendees. U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton, Becky Mitchell, Colorado Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission, as well as KKTV meteorologist Brian Bledsoe were among the speakers. Click here to read a Durango Herald article based on a presentation at the seminar.

Below are several presentations given at the seminar. Click here to review the final program.

Weather We Like it or Not
Brian Bledsoe – KKTV

Laser Mapping of Mountain Snowpacks
Jeff Deems – National Snow & Ice Data Center

Phase III Preliminary Results: Colorado River West Slope Risk Assessment
John Currier – Colorado River Water Conservation District

Making Waves in Water Education
Jayla Poppleton – Water Education Colorado

Proposing a Reverse Auction Exchange: Compensating Farmers for Reductions in Consumptive Use
Steve Ruddell – Economist, David Stiller – Consultant

SWCD’s 36th Annual Water Seminar, “Weathering the Weather: Resilience in Managing Our Water Resources Today,” was attended by almost 200 people, and highlighted lessons for our local communities in preparing for and responding to sudden challenges. Experts discussed how wildfire impacts water supplies, the state’s response to emergencies such as the 2013 front range flooding, the western slope’s risk in the context of Colorado River obligations and drought, as well as avoiding devastating infrastructure failure, among other related topics. Hear an interview about the seminar with Executive Director Bruce Whitehead or read coverage of the event in the Durango Herald.

Below are the presentations given at the 2018 seminar. Click here for the full program.

Forests, Wildfires & Water Supplies
Andy Colosimo – Colorado Springs Utilities
Steve Hartvigsen – San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership

Water Wizard Quiz: Are You Ready for an Emergency?
Dave Grey – Water Wizard

Five Years Since the Front Range Flood
Sean Cronin – St Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District
Eric Wilkinson – Northern Water Conservancy District
Kevin Rein – State Engineer

Floating the Tough Years: An Agile Recreation Economy
Becky Mitchell – Colorado Water Conservation Board
Cathy Metz – City of Durango

Protecting Our Supplies & Communities
Matt Gavin – Colorado Dam Safety

Recounting the Oroville Dam Spillway Failure
Bill Croyle – Retired CA Division of Water Resources

System Resilience: Planning for Drought on the Colorado River
Karen Kwon, Brent Newman – Colorado Attorney General, CWCB

2017 Annual Water Seminar

The 2017 theme was “Solving the Water Funding Puzzle.” Across the West, the struggle to finance water projects and programs is constant. Speakers from state, federal and local perspectives discussed opportunities to continue essential water programs, address aging infrastructure and implement the water plan. Below are presentations provided by the speakers.

Click here for the 2017 program, and read bios on the speakers.

Seminar coverage in the Durango Herald (editorial).

Seminar coverage in the Pine River Times.

Bill Levine (DNR) SWCD Seminar

Jim Maras (USDA) SWCD Seminar

Dick Brown (Lobbyist) SWCD Seminar

Emily Brumit (CWC) SWCD Seminar

Kirk Russell (CWCB) SWCD Seminar

Pat Steadman (Former State JBC) SWCD Seminar

Dave Grey (The Wiz) SWCD Seminar

Mike Brod (CWR&PDA) SWCD Seminar

Celene Hawkins (TNC) SWCD Seminar

Ken Curtis (DWCD) SWCD Seminar

Nathan Fey (American Whitewater) SWCD Seminar


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