Alternative Transfer Methods

Colorado’s Water Plan sets a goal of achieving 50,000 acre-feet of water shared through voluntary alternative transfer methods by 2030 and establishing alternative transfer methods that compete with, if not out-perform, traditional "buy-and-dry" transactions in the water market. Alternative transfer methods include a variety of approaches such as option agreements and short-term leases to meet various water supply needs in ways that minimize permanent reductions in irrigated agriculture and associated socio-economic and ecological externalities. Alternative transfer methods can be used to meet a variety of water supply needs including drought recovery, environmental and recreational flow, groundwater sustainability, and compact compliance. 

The Colorado Water Conservation Board continues to provide both financial and technical support to encourage the development and implementation of alternative transfer methods. 

CWCB Releases ATM Status Report

CWCB, in partnership with WestWater Research, the Colorado Water Center at Colorado State University, and J-U-B Engineers, recently completed a status assessment of progress made on achieving Colorado Water Plan measurable objectives for alternative transfer methods. The status assessment report also provides a framework for the continuing development of ATMs in Colorado to reduce the socio-economic and environmental impacts of more traditional water transfers and to support various Colorado Water Plan goals. 


Findings in the report indicate that while significant progress has been made in achieving the Colorado Water Plan ATM objective, much work remains to be done. The report also finds that state investment in ATM development continues to provide critical information on the agronomic and socio-economic impacts and benefits of ATMs when compared with traditional transfers and has been effective in demonstrating several potential applications of ATMs such as assisting in meeting environmental and recreational flow needs and providing a tool for voluntary compact compliance.

Point of Contact

Alex Funk
303-866-3441 x3201