Best Practices for Collaborative Water Decisions: Moving from Concept to Action

The future of water in Colorado and the West requires the best collaborative problem-solving and consensus-building skills available. To meet this need, CDR Associates and the Colorado Water Institute teamed up last month in Palisade, Colorado to offer the first in a series of interactive workshops on Best Practices for Collaborative Water Decisions: Moving from Concept to Action.

24 lively and inquisitive water professionals, stakeholders and decision makers from western Colorado and the Front Range gathered at the Wine Country Inn in Palisade to hone their skills in collaborative decision-making and share their experiences with other professionals. Recognizing that collaborative models are increasingly necessary to effectively address the complex and challenging issues affecting water in Colorado, the workshop helped strengthen capacity among water leaders and professionals to participate in multi-stakeholder problem-solving processes.

Participants came from federal and state agencies including the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado Division of Water Resources and the Colorado State Conservation Board; water districts such as the Colorado River District, Dolores Water Conservancy District and the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District; agriculture users such as the Grand Valley Water Users’ Association, environmental non-profit organizations such as the Tamarisk Coalition and the Environmental Defense Fund; municipal governments; private sector entities; and independent water consultants.

The training team consisted of seasoned professionals with broad knowledge of water issues and a breadth of experience in designing, managing and facilitating complex collaborative processes. Trainers Ryan Golten and Todd Bryan of CDR Associates brought strong backgrounds in water resources and collaborative skills and processes. MaryLou Smith of the Colorado Water Institute and Dan Birch of the Colorado River District brought many years of experience in collaborative water planning, allocation, engineering and management.

The Palisade workshop is the first in a series of three collaborative water workshops being planned by CDR and CWI for locations throughout the State. The workshop may also be tailored for specific groups, agencies and organizations that are working together on water allocation issues. For more information on upcoming or potential future workshops, please visit public training courses, or contact Todd Bryan or Ryan Golten.