The Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD) was created on April 16, 1941 by the Colorado General Assembly through House Bill #795 (Statute 37-47). SWCD is comprised of nine counties: Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan, San Miguel, and parts of Hinsdale, Mineral, and Montrose. Each Board of County Commissioners appoints a representative to the SWCD Board of Directors, which meets every other month.

SWCD’s charter is to protect, conserve, use and develop the water resources of the Southwestern basin for the welfare of SWCD, and safeguard for Colorado all waters of the basin to which the state is entitled. Following this mandate, SWCD has assumed a broad strategic role on behalf of its diverse constituents. SWCD representatives advocate for southwestern Colorado’s water interests at the local, state and regional levels. 

In February 2022, the SWCD Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan with the following six strategic priorities:

  1. In coordination with the appropriate partners, ensure the SWCD remains engaged in obtaining, updating and analyzing water supply, demand and quality data necessary to address the water management challenges facing southwest Colorado;
  2. Lead advocacy for southwest Colorado in Colorado River, interstate, and transmountain issues;
  3. Balance meeting multiple water needs amongst a diverse set of priorities, especially when there is potential for conflict or mutual benefit;
  4. Support investment in improvements to existing infrastructure as well as the development of new infrastructure for multiple uses in southwest Colorado;
  5. Strengthen the continued professional and efficient operation of SWCD while building a culture of mutual trust and respect; and
  6. Cultivate SWCD’s credibility with decisionmakers and the public through targeted outreach efforts.

Please read the full strategic plan below and 2022 action plan:

We welcome collaboration with the public, and with our local, state and regional partners in advancing these efforts over the coming years.