Fraser River Flow Restoration
A handful of water diversions from tributaries to the Upper Fraser River can reduce flows and have the potential to significantly impact downstream flows in dry years. Previously, the water rights holders were hesitant to take any steps to reduce diversions, conserve water, or enhance flows in the creek because they would have risked losing or devaluing their water rights under certain provisions of western water law. As a result, water rights holders lacked the ability to share water with streams in times of drought or other environmental stress.
The Upper Fraser Tributaries project makes use of a relatively new Colorado law that allows water rights holders to enter into a long-term water conservation program and use their water to benefit rivers—without risk of losing or devaluing their water rights. With funding provided by BEF’s Water Restoration Program, the Colorado Water Trust worked closely with the water user to develop an approved Water Conservation Program that can restore flows to several streams in the Fraser River Basin in five out of the next ten years.
The Upper Fraser Tributaries project can restore up to 167 million gallons of water per implementation year to benefit up to 16.4 stream miles on streams tributaries and the Fraser River itself.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit