Upper Colorado Study
Evaluating Conserved Consumptive Use in the Upper Colorado
The Colorado Basin Roundtable is sponsoring the “Evaluating Conserved Consumptive Use in the Upper Colorado” project. This is a multi-year field research project to address information gaps related to voluntary water conservation measures on high altitude, irrigated grass pastures that support livestock. The study paired fields subjected to full or partial year irrigation curtailment in 2020 with reference fields that were irrigated normally and is monitoring the impacts through 2023. The project seeks to answer the following questions:
- How can we accurately and cost-effectively estimate water use and water conservation at scale?
- What are the impacts of reduced irrigation on perennial grass fields and how do they recover under normal irrigation?
- What does participation in a water conservation project mean for producers’ bottom line and for the ag-based community and economy of the region?
- How do water conservation projects impact river flows and wildlife habitat?
This information will help agricultural water users, water managers, State entities, and other stakeholders better determine how, and under what conditions, agricultural water conservation can provide drought resilience and help address local, state, and regional water supply challenges.