Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD)

A conservation district is a policy-making body chartered by the General Assembly of Colorado to protect and develop the water resources within the district’s boundaries. Districts can hold water rights, fund water projects, litigate, and lobby for legislation. The necessary operating revenues for districts come from a mill levy established during the yearly budget cycle. There are four water conservation districts in Colorado—of which the SWCD is one. 

The SWCD was formed in 1941 and includes the Dolores and San Juan River Basins. Since their inception, the District has funded more nearly $4 million in water projects. In 2009, the SWCD committed  more than $237,000 to District-wide water projects that included such things as dust on snow research, tamarisk control, watershed improvements, as well as SnoTel and water quality monitoring. Water project recipients included the: Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies, Dolores (Soil) Conservation District, La Plata – Archuleta Water Conservancy District, Mancos Conservation District, Fort Lewis College, Lake Durango Water Company, San Juan Conservation District, and the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, and the towns of Silverton and Sawpit. The SWCD also provides ongoing support to the following organizations: 
  • Animas River Stakeholders Group
  • Club 20
  • Colorado Association of Conservation Districts (Soil)
  • Colorado River Water Users Association
  • Colorado State University Experimental Farm
  • Colorado Watershed Assembly
  • Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance
  • Family Farm Alliance
  • National Endangered Species Act Reform
  • River Protection Workgroup
  • San Juan Basin Recovery Implementation Program
  • Southwest Basin Roundtable
  • USGS Stream Gauging
  • USGS Water Quality Studies
  • Water Information Program
  • Weather Modification Program

In addition, the Southwestern Water Conservation District annually sponsors the Children’s Water Festival and Water Seminar.