Who's who

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The purpose of Who's who is to list organizations that

  • Support and/or conduct research relevant to the Colorado River Basin
  • Provide monitoring and forecasts of the Basin's water and climate
  • Use research and data in managing water and other resources
  • Use research and data to support collaboration and advocacy

This page is not intended to be all-inclusive but tries to capture most of the important entities in these categories.

Research programs

Below are selected agency and university-based programs that support multiple researchers and have sponsored research relevant to management of water and other resources in the Colorado River Basin. Note that while these programs are responsible for many important studies and reports, many of the published research studies relevant to the basin are carried out by agency, university, and private-sector scientists unaffiliated with these programs; New research highlights the collective output of the broader research community.

Program/Unit University/Agency City State Description
Colorado River Climate and Hydrology Work Group Multiple entities na na A partnership of basin water agencies and federal agencies that supports research and related activities to improve hydrological forecasts and other predictive tools for characterizing short-term and long-term water supply and demand in the Colorado River Basin.
Center for Colorado River Studies Utah State U. Logan UT A nexus for innovative research, teaching, and outreach that informs management of the Colorado River and other major rivers of the American Southwest.
Western Water Assessment (WWA) U. of Colorado Boulder Boulder CO A NOAA CAP/RISA team; addresses societal vulnerabilities to climate variability and climate change, particularly those related to water resources, and produces policy-relevant information.
Science and Technology (S&T) Program Reclamation Denver CO By developing and applying science and technology, advances Reclamation's mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources.
Colorado River Basin R2O Program Reclamation Boulder CO Engages a variety of scientists and government agencies to collaborate on projects that advance Reclamation's use of climate information, hydrology, modeling, and decision science.
Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES) U. of Colorado Boulder Boulder CO Focuses on tools for modeling of water resource systems (Riverware), improved short- and long-term forecasting under hydrologic variability, operating policy analysis and negotiations, climate change adaptation and hydropower optimization.
NCAR RAL Hydrometeorological Applications Program (HAP) National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Boulder CO Conducts collaborative research to improve the fundamental building blocks on which hydrometeorological analyses and climate assessments depend.
Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) U. of Arizona (also New Mexico State U.) Tucson AZ A NOAA CAP/RISA team; promotes collaborative research involving scientists, decision makers, resource managers and users, educators, and others who need more and better information about climate and its impacts.
Water Resources Program U. of New Mexico Albuquerque AZ A center of expertise on water-related issues and training for environmental professionals, promoting fair, healthy and sustainable solutions to the challenges of water use in New Mexico and the Southwest.
Colorado Water Center Colorado State U. Fort Collins CO Leads interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach to address complex and evolving water-related challenges in Colorado and beyond.
Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) U. of Arizona Tucson AZ Brings together a wealth of expertise at the University of Arizona to support sound management choices in the context of climate change, linking science, information needs of managers, and decision-making.
Water Resources Research Center U. of Arizona Tucson AZ Tackles key water policy and management issues, empower informed decision-making, and enrich understanding through engagement, education, and applied research.
Center for Hydrologic Innovations Arizona State U. Tempe AZ A partnership of university researchers and water resource managers who utilize remote sensing and land surface modeling for Colorado River monitoring, forecasting, and long-term predictions.
Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center US Geological Survey Flagstaff AZ Focuses its science efforts on the effects of operations from Glen Canyon Dam on the physical, biological and ecological processes and resources of the Colorado River downstream of the dam.
Western Water Applications Office (WWAO) NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena CA Works to improve how water is managed in the arid western U.S. by getting NASA science, data and technology into the hands of water managers and decision makers.
Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center U. of Arizona; US Geological Survey Tucson AZ Provides objective scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers and other interested parties can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change impacts in the southwestern United States.
North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center U. of Colorado; US Geological Survey Boulder CO Fosters innovative and applied research in support of tribal, federal, state, and local natural resource management and decision-making, serving Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska.
Hutchins Water Center Colorado Mesa U. Grand Junction CO Performs and facilitates interdisciplinary and collaborative research, education, outreach, and dialogue to address the water issues facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Mountain Studies Institute Silverton CO Develops science that people can use to address environmental issues facing the San Juan Mountains.
Aspen Global Change Institute Basalt CO Collaborates with researchers and communities across the western U.S. to advance understanding of the impacts of aridification, and enhance the accessibility of science that supports water-related decision making.
Four Corners Water Center Fort Lewis College Durango CO An interdisciplinary center dedicated to contributing to solutions to our water challenges.
Getches-Wilkinson Center U. of Colorado Boulder Boulder CO A center of faculty and curriculum addressing environmental, energy, and natural resources law.
Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC-San Diego La Jolla CA Provides water-cycle science, technology, and outreach to support policies and practice related to extreme weather and water events in the West with a focus on Atmospheric River events.
Water Utility Climate Alliance 12 member agencies; 5 use Colorado River water Las Vegas NV Leverages collective water utility experiences to develop leading practices in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Water and climate monitoring and forecasting

Unit/Program University/Agency City State Products/Services
Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) NOAA National Weather Service Salt Lake City UT Forecasts and monitoring: Streamflow, seasonal water supply, and floods.
National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Portland OR Coordination of Westwide SNOTEL snowpack monitoring; seasonal water supply forecasting.
Arizona Snow Survey NRCS Phoenix AZ AZ-specific SNOTEL information; water supply reports.
New Mexico Snow Survey NRCS Albuquerque NM NM-specific SNOTEL information and charts; water supply reports.
Utah Snow Survey NRCS Salt Lake City UT UT-specific SNOTEL information and charts; water supply reports.
Colorado Snow Survey NRCS Lakewood CO CO-specific SNOTEL information and charts; water supply reports.
Wyoming Snow Survey NRCS Casper WY WY-specific SNOTEL information and charts; water supply reports.
Intermountain West Regional Drought Early Warning System NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Boulder CO Drought monitoring, research support, and coordination.
Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) Desert Research Institute Reno NV Climate and drought monitoring data and tools focused on Western U.S.
Colorado Climate Center Colorado State U. Fort Collins CO Climate and drought monitoring data and tools for CO.
Utah Climate Center Utah State U. Logan UT Climate and drought monitoring data and tools for UT.
Wyoming State Climate Office (WSCO) U. of Wyoming Laramie WY Climate and drought monitoring data and tools for WY.
Colorado Dust on Snow Program (CODOS) Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies Silverton CO Field-based monitoring of dust-on-snow events and impacts in CO.

Tribal nations and water agencies

There are over two dozen federally recognized and sovereign tribes within the Colorado River Basin; most have their lands in the Lower Basin. Below we note the tribes that are members of the Ten Tribes Partnership (see also 2018 CRB Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study). See also the Water and Tribes Initiative for information about tribal engagement with both basinwide and local water issues.

Nation Water Agency Website City State Ten Tribes Partnership
Ak-Chin Indian Community Maricopa AZ
Chemehuevi Indian Tribe Water Department Havasu Lake CA Ten Tribes page
Colorado River Indian Tribes (Aha Makhav) Water Resources/Irrigation Parker AZ Ten Tribes page
Cocopah Indian Tribe (Kwapa) Somerton AZ Ten Tribes page
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Fountain Hills AZ
Fort Mohave Indian Tribe (Pipa Aha Macav) Agriculture, Land, and Water Resources Dept. Needles CA Ten Tribes page
Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe (Kwatsaan) Winterhaven CA Ten Tribes page
Gila River Indian Community Natural & Cultural Resources Sacaton AZ
Havasupai Tribe Supai AZ
Hopi Tribe Water Resources Program Kykotsmovi AZ
Hualapai Tribe Department of Natural Resources Peach Springs AZ
Jicarilla Apache Nation Dulce NM Ten Tribes page
Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Fredonia AZ
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe Las Vegas NV
Moapa Band of Paiute Indians Moapa NV
Navajo Nation Dept. of Water Resources Fort Defiance AZ Ten Tribes page
Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Cedar City UT
Pascua Yaqui Tribe Tucson AZ
Pueblo of Zuni Zuni NM
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) Scottsdale AZ
San Carlos Apache Tribe San Carlos AZ
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe Tuba City AZ
Southern Ute Indian Tribe Water Resources Division Ignacio CO Ten Tribes page
Tohono O'odham Nation Water Resources Sells AZ
Tonto Apache Tribe Payson AZ
Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation Water Resources Fort Duschene UT Ten Tribes page
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (nuchiu) Tawaoc CO Ten Tribes page
White Mountain Apache Tribe Whiteriver AZ
Yavapai-Apache Nation Camp Verde AZ
Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Prescott AZ

Non-tribal water agencies

Below are the key management offices for Reclamation; the state water agencies of the seven basin states; and selected municipal agencies, water districts, and irrigation districts (generally, ones responsible for at least 200,000 acre-feet of consumptive use per year).

Agency City State Description
Reclamation - Upper Colorado River Region Salt Lake City UT Manages over 30 Upper Basin dams, reservoirs, and associated projects, including Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge, Navajo, Blue Mesa.
Reclamation - Lower Colorado River Region Boulder City NV Manages Lower Basin reservoirs, including Lake Mead, and water distribution to major users, acting as "water master" for Lower Basin.
Reclamation - Boulder Canyon Operations Office Boulder City NV Office within the Lower Colorado River Region that operates Hoover Dam.
Central Arizona Project (CAP) Phoenix AZ Operates the CAP canal and system, delivering water to the Phoenix valley, Tucson, Tribal nations, and non-tribal agricultural users.
Salt River Project (SRP) Phoenix AZ Delivers water and power to 2 million users in the Phoenix area, using CAP water, local, groundwater, and surface water from the Salt-Verde-Tonto Rivers.
Arizona Dept. of Water Resources (ADWR) Phoenix AZ Protects, enhances, and conserves Arizona's water through 24 programs, including Colorado River Management.
Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation & Drainage District (WMIDD) Wellton AZ Provides water to agricultural users and small municipalities within the Lower Gila Valley; diverts at Imperial Dam.
Yuma County Water Users' Association (YCWUA) Somerton AZ Operates the Yuma Project and provides water to agricultural users in the Yuma area, and to the City of Yuma; holds the oldest rights to Colorado River water in AZ; diverts at Imperial Dam.
Colorado River Board of California (CRB of CA) Glendale CA Protect the interests and rights of the State of California in the water and power resources of the Colorado River system.
California Dept. of Water Resources (CDWR) Sacramento CA Operates the State Water Project (SWP); when SWP allocations are reduced due to drought, a greater onus is put on MWD's and CVWD's Colorado River water.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) Los Angeles CA A cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in the greater Los Angeles area; uses Colorado River water via the Colorado River Aqueduct.
San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) San Diego CA Collective of 24 water agencies in greater San Diego; about half of its water supply comes from the Colorado River via IID and MWD.
Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Imperial CA Operates and maintains Imperial Dam and the All-American Canal; has largest entitlement of any single water user on the river (2.6 maf/yr); provides water to agricultural and municipal users in the Imperial Valley, and also to SDCWA.
Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) Blythe CA Holds the oldest water rights (1877) in the Lower Basin; provides water to agricultural users in the Palo Verde Valley and Mesa.
Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Coachella CA Provides water to residential and agricultural users in the Coachella Valley; diverts via the All-American Canal and Imperial Dam in conjunction with IID.
Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) Denver CO Works to conserve, develop, protect and manage Colorado's water; provides technical and financial assistance to water agencies throughout the state; lead state agency on Colorado River issues.
Denver Water Denver CO Largest municipal provider in Colorado (1.3 million people); about half of its supply comes from Colorado River headwaters tributaries.
Northern Water Berthoud CO Operates (with Reclamation) the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) project, providing Colorado River water to 1 million people and 600,000 acres of agriculture in northeastern CO.
Colorado River District Glenwood Springs CO Serves water users in 15 western slope counties through legal and legislative advocacy, technical and engineering support, community outreach and education, and water project grant funding.
Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) Gunnison CO Develops, promotes, and implements water conservation, augmentation, and management strategies to protect water resources in the Upper Gunnison basin for the benefit of its citizens, the economy, and the environment.
Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD) Durango CO Takes a broad strategic role to help water agencies and users across 9 counties protect, conserve, use and develop the water resources in southwestern Colorado.
Colorado River Commission of Nevada (CRC of NV) Las Vegas NV Protects the rights and interests of Nevada’s allocation of Colorado River water; represents the state in local, state and federal water and environmental programs pertaining to the River.
Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) Las Vegas NV A consortium of seven water agencies that manages, treats, and delivers Nevada's share of the Colorado River to serve 2.2 million people in the Las Vegas area.
New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (NMISC) Albuquerque NM Protects, conserves, and develops New Mexico’s waters, focusing on the eight interstate water compacts for the state's basins, including the Colorado River Compact.
Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWR) Salt Lake City UT Tasked with planning, conserving, developing and protecting Utah’s water resources, serving as the state's water steward.
Colorado River Authority of Utah (CRA of UT) Salt Lake City UT Established in 2021; works to protect, preserve, conserve, and develop Utah’s Colorado River system interests.
Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC) Salt Lake City UT Ensures the appropriate allocation of water from the Colorado River to the Upper Division States of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico; provides technical support to water agencies through studies and reports.
Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) Orem UT Manages the Central Utah Project (CUP), providing water to 1.5 million people across 8 counties, including the southern Wasatch Front.
Wyoming State Engineer's Office (WY SEO) Cheyenne WY Regulates and administers the water resources in Wyoming; safeguards the State’s current and future water supplies by preserving the ability to use and develop water allocations under interstate compacts and court decrees.

Other management units and programs

Name of Unit/Program Agency City State Description
Lower Colorado River Multi-species Conservation Program Reclamation Boulder City NV Works toward the recovery of 27 species listed under the Endangered Species Act, and 5 evaluation species; manages 18 conservation areas along the lower Colorado River.
Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lakewood CO Works to conserve four endangered and threatened native fish species in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum Basin states Farmington UT Coordinate salinity control efforts among the basin states and with federal agencies, disseminate information, and otherwise promote efforts to reduce the salt loading to the Colorado River.
International Boundary and Water Commission - U.S. Section n/a El Paso TX Provides binational solutions to issues that arise during the application of United States - Mexico treaties regarding boundary demarcation, national ownership of waters, sanitation, water quality, and flood control in the border region.
Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) Lakewood CO Markets and transmits wholesale electricity from federal multi-use water projects over a 15-state region of the central and western U.S., including Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam and other CRSP dams, Central Arizona Project, and Parker and Davis Dams.
Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP) Reclamation Salt Lake City UT Promotes cooperative integration of dam operations, downstream resource protection and management, and monitoring and research to improve the values for which the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park were established.

Other water organizations

Organization City State Description
Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA) Las Vegas NV Over 1000 members across the basin; provides a forum for exchanging ideas and perspectives on Colorado River use and management with the intent of developing and advocating common objectives, initiatives and solutions.
Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) Phoenix AZ Represents 10 large municipalities in Phoenix Valley; works to protect its members' water supplies by ensuring laws and regulations support water resources sustainability enabling continued prosperity in the desert.
Water & Tribes Initiative (WTI) Enhances tribal capacity and advances sustainable water management in the basin through collaborative decision-making.
Western States Water Council (WSWC) Salt Lake City UT Represents 18 Western states via the Western Governors' Association; ensures that the West has an adequate, secure and sustainable supply of water of suitable quality to meet its diverse economic and environmental needs now and in the future.

Water- and environment-focused NGOs

Organization Program (if applicable) City State Description
Pronatura Noroeste Ensenada Baja California, Mex Promotes the conservation of the flora, fauna and priority ecosystems of northwest Mexico.
The Nature Conservancy Colorado River Program Boulder CO Builds relationships with farmers, ranchers, municipalities, states, Tribal Nations and other partners, and develops strategies that reduce pressure on existing water supplies and increase the landscape’s resilience.
Lincoln Institute for Land Policy Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy Phoenix AZ Advances the integration of land and water management to meet the current and future water needs in the Colorado River Basin.
Walton Family Foundation Bentonville AR One of the foundation's core values is to protect rivers and the communities they support.
Western Resource Advocates Protecting the Colorado River Boulder CO Identifies common-sense steps that will keep the Colorado River flowing and improve climate resilience to better manage future water shortages.
American Rivers Southwest Region Denver CO Advocates for rivers through community-based programs, collaborative strategies to support agriculture and municipalities, and legislative means.
Sonoran Institute Colorado River Delta Program Tucson AZ Works with its partners in the Colorado River Delta to renew, restore, and reconnect its diverse ecosystems for the benefit of wildlife and people.
Living Rivers Moab UT By articulating conservation and alternative management strategies to the public, seeks to revive the natural habitat and spirit of rivers on the Colorado Plateau.
Audubon Western Water Initiative Boulder CO Aligns bird habitat protection and restoration with more reliable water supplies for communities.
Pacific Institute Oakland CA Creates and advances solutions to the world's most pressing water challenges.
Glen Canyon Institute Salt Lake City UT Campaigns to protect and restore Glen Canyon, and reverse the decline of Grand Canyon’s fragile ecosystem.