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Working Together for a Healthier Colorado River Basin


For millions across the West, the Colorado River is life. This magnificent river and its tributaries supply drinking water to communities big and small, keep thousands of ranches and farms in business and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. But the Colorado is a river at risk.

Water in the West is a series of stories about the people working to address threats to water supply in the Colorado River Basin and find conservation solutions that make economic sense for people and communities. The Walton Family Foundation is working with partners throughout the basin, in the U.S. and Mexico, to ensure healthy rivers by restoring riparian areas, encouraging water efficiency and pursuing flexible, market-based solutions that improve water management.

Water in the West

Protecting the Sources of Life and LiveliHoods

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The Colorado River Delta Mounts a Comeback

In northwestern Mexico, Osvel Hinojosa opens channels for water's return to a dry Delta. LEARN MORE >

Growing Crops, Feeding People and Conserving Water

Zach Hauser

With the Verde River's flows increasingly threatened by drought and development, Zach has embraced conservation as the key to protecting his family's livelihood. 

Working closely with The Nature Conservancy, Hauser & Hauser Farms has reduced its water use with new technology that has improved the efficiency of their irrigation system.

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In Wyoming's High Desert, A Conservation Solution that Benefits Ranchers and Rivers

In the shadow of three mountain ranges, Freddie Botur markets water to a thirsty region. LEARN MORE >

On Colorado's Western Slope, Water is Lifeblood for Century-Old Family Farm

Paul and Norman Kehmeier

Working with The Nature Conservancy, Paul and his father Norman enlisted in a water market pilot project aimed at increasing water security throughout the Colorado River Basin. 

Because long-term water security – in the face of a growing population and a changing climate – will depend on developing creative water management solutions throughout the basin. 

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Battling an 'Incredible Invader' on a Beloved Wild River

On Utah's Escalante River, Sue Fearon works with landowners to fight the growth of the invasive Russian olive. LEARN MORE >

On Impaired Rivers, Reclaiming Native Habitat One Mile at a Time

Mike Wight

In the two decades Mike has been rafting and kayaking the rivers of the American West, he has witnessed an unsightly transformation of the riparian landscapes. 

Lush riverbanks once lined with cottonwoods, willows and box elders were overtaken by thickets of tamarisk so dense they blocked all view of the land beyond water’s edge. Sandy beaches where he would once pull in to camp became inaccessible as groves of the woody invasive crowded shorelines. Rivers dominated by tamarisk become impenetrable.

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Creating a Better Future for the Salton Sea

Frank Ruiz is fighting to resolve an environmental and health crisis on the 'California Riviera.' LEARN MORE >

Restoring a Remote River in the Heart of a Western Wilderness

Stephanie Minnaert

Stephanie moved to southern Utah from Boulder, Colorado, to indulge her passion for canyoneering in and around Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Now, she's tasked with protecting the Escalante River and all of its secret nooks and crannies.

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In a Fly Fishing Hotspot, Partnerships Save Water and Trout

As director of Trout Unlimited's western water habitat program, Scott Yates builds partnerships with private landowners to find creative ways to reduce demand for water in the arid Colorado River Basin. LEARN MORE >

Partnering to Ensure Healthy Farms on a Healthy River

Mark Harris

Water is why agriculture remains the engine of the economy in Grand Valley. Its reliable supply is the only reason peach orchards and corn and vineyards can thrive in this arid desert landscape at all.

Mark intends to keep it that way.

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In Parched Arizona, a River’s Friend Keeps the Water Flowing

After Chip Norton retired a decade ago, he went to work saving the river of his youth. LEARN MORE >