Published: Nov. 12, 2020

Session One: Expanding the Toolbox of Water Financing Options

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Gone are the days when funding western water needs was merely a task of gaining Congressional authorization and appropriations for new dams and reservoirs. Today, federal funds are limited, and much of what needs to happen does not involve new infrastructure. A vast toolbox of potential funding strategies are, at least theoretically, available, although many options are unproven. Many such strategies are under consideration in Colorado for implementing the State Water Plan.


  • Nancy A. Smith, Director of External Affairs, Colorado River Basin Program, The Nature Conservancy (download presentation)
  • Lauren Ris, Deputy Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (download presentation)

CLE accreditation notice




Session Two: Water Markets and Private Investments in Western Agriculture:  A Road Forward?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Using market forces to shift the distribution and use of western water resources is a controversial topic. Some individuals fear that private investments in western agriculture will doom the sector, as water will inevitably flow to higher-paying uses and users in urban settings. To others, these investments allow agriculture to become more efficient and resilient, and when done correctly, can minimize any pain associated with large-scale water reallocations.


  • James Eklund, Founder and CEO, Eklund Hanlon LLC
  • Peter Fleming, General Counsel, Colorado River Water Conservation District

Colorado River District Supply Planning Studies

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Session Three: A Role for the Business Community

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Many members of the business community are increasingly concerned that western water scarcity is a threat to producing and selling their products, and more generally, to maintaining the healthy social and economic conditions that are needed to sustain strong economies. A variety of initiatives are now underway to address this concern, and to address water management issues both within and outside of their sphere of operations.


  • Mike Bernier, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Swire Coca-Cola
  • Todd Reeve, Chief Executive Officer, BEF/Business for Water Stewardship

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Session Four: Investing in Healthy Headwaters

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The relationship between healthy forests and reliable water supplies has been understood for centuries, and is increasingly important in an era of climate warming, forest disease outbreaks, and devastating fires.  However, the water management community historically has not been heavily engaged in efforts to protect and restore healthy source water areas. This is now changing in many pockets throughout the West, and lessons are being learned that might suggest opportunities for broader regional efforts.


  • Kimery Wiltshire, President, Carpe Diem West
  • Mike McHugh, Senior Water Resources Project Manager, Aurora Water

CLE accreditation notice