Record Demand for CWCB Water Plan Grant Funding

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March 13, 2024 (Denver, CO) - The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) approved 52 Water Plan Grant applications today, which will distribute $17.4 million to fund critical projects to manage and conserve water, improve agriculture, spark collaborative partnerships, and much more. This funding cycle, CWCB received a record 70 applications requesting $25.6 million—$8.2 million more than is currently available. 


“Water is on the top of many Coloradans’ minds. And the projects this program funds are critical to meet and mitigate our state’s most critical water challenges,” said Lauren Ris, CWCB Director. “We received significantly more applications than we had  funding for this cycle of Water Plan Grants, showing just how much demand there is for this important funding, and how critical it is that we continue to fuel this effort.”


Every year, the Water Plan Grant Program provides millions of dollars of funding for projects in five key categories: Water Storage & Supply, Conservation & Land Use, Engagement & Innovation, Agricultural Projects, and Watershed Health & Recreation. Water Plan Grants support the Colorado Water Plan, and funded projects are wide-ranging and impactful to the state, focusing on enhancing water infrastructure, restoring ecosystems, supporting education and community collaboration, boosting water conservation and efficiency, guiding resilient land use planning, and more.


During this fiscal year, the CWCB awarded 83 grants totaling $25.2M. CWCB’s Water Plan Grants run on two application cycles: the December application deadline receives final Board approval during the March Board Meeting, and the July deadline receives votes in September. On March 13, 2024, the Board voted to approve December’s 34-project cohort.


This cycle’s project applications are diverse in scope and location. A few examples include: 


  • South Platte River Basin Salinity Study (Agricultural, $464,361): Colorado State University will conduct a comprehensive study on salinization across seven regions in the South Platte River Basin, to understand the severity and variability of salinity in water and land resources.
  • Denver One Water Plan Implementation Phase 2 (Conservation & Land Use, $200,000): Mile High Flood District will continue Phase 2 of Denver’s One Water Plan, which promotes coordination and collaboration among various city departments, organizations, and agencies in charge of managing all aspects of the urban water cycle.
  • Watershed PenPal Program (Engagement & Innovation, $136,947): Roaring Fork Conservancy will connect communities across the Roaring Fork Valley and Front Range, fostering understanding of water challenges through discussion, letter writing, and shared experiences.
  • Park Creek Reservoir Expansion (Water Storage & Supply, $1,750,000): The North Poudre Irrigation Company will expand the Park Creek Reservoir, increasing water storage capacity by 3,010 acre-feet to benefit agricultural use and water management.
  • South Boulder Creek Watershed Restoration Phase 3 (Watershed Health & Recreation, $1,000,000): Colorado Trout Unlimited will build upon previous phases of this project to support final design and permitting for multiple in-stream diversion structures in South Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado.


Looking forward, the CWCB hopes to continue the Water Plan Grant program for decades to come. Projects funded and supported through this program address water-related challenges by harnessing the latest research, tapping into community engagement, and developing innovative solutions that allow water partners, agencies, and Coloradans to work together.