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Colorado River

Securing a stable water future for the West
Securing a stable water future for the West

The Colorado River provides water and power supplies to nearly 40 million people in seven states. A healthy Colorado River Basin is essential to ensuring the American West has enough water to sustain a growing population and the region's natural and working lands.

Climate change is ushering in a hotter and drier reality. Colorado River water levels have declined sharply. This threatens the river’s future. The foundation is working to find a pathway through coming water shortages to create stable and sustainable water supplies.

We are increasing efforts to get more water into the Colorado River and its tributaries using nature-based solutions. These solutions protect, restore, conserve and sustainably manage water systems. By working with nature, we can build healthier watersheds and adapt to climate change.

Success will require collaboration. It requires a commitment to long-term solutions that help people and nature thrive together. We partner with local communities. With tribal leaders. With farmers. With ranchers. And with others impacted by the water crisis.

We are helping build diverse coalitions. And we are elevating communities that deserve a greater voice in water decisions. Their ideas will help secure a stable water future for the benefit of people and nature.

Theory of Change: Colorado River
Even as climate change intensifies droughts and wildfires across the Colorado River Basin, the Walton Family Foundation believes there are practical reasons to be hopeful and take action to protect and conserve water resources in the West. Through conservation, collaboration and engaging communities, we work to find solutions so that nature and people can thrive together.
Colorado River. Horseshoe Bend
Collaborative, inclusive and community-led water solutions

The foundation promotes healthy watersheds and improving and protecting flows within the Colorado River Basin. We:

  • Elevate the voices of those most affected by water policies. We will include them in crafting policies that strengthen the environment and economies in their communities.
  • Work with on-the-ground partners to support nature-based solutions and innovative farming and ranching practices.
  • Bolster sustainable agriculture in the Colorado River Basin. We'll support communities using market demand for sustainably produced products to improve how farms and ranches work.
Water in the west video thumb
Featured Video: Water in the West
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.
Nature-Based Solutions for Healthy Water
The foundation believes nature-based solutions can help restore ecosystem health and protect water quality and quantity in the Colorado River Basin.
Kara Stevens February 9, 2022
First-of-its kind project will use machine learning and remote sensing to track beaver wetland changes in the Colorado River Basin
Americans want action to protect water supply

Americans want to come together to protect water, communities and nature.

  • 3 in 5 voters say drought, increased temperatures, wildfires, extreme weather and flooding are a product of climate change’s effect on water.
  • A majority agrees climate change will alter important aspects of life in the U.S. like agriculture, water and the economy.
  • 1 in 4 Americans believe their state will not have enough water during their grandchildren’s lifetimes.
Colorado River Research
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