Grand County Irrigators Release Stored Water to Boost Fraser River Flow

Granby, Co., (Sept 18, 2023) – On September 18, 2023, the Grand County Irrigated Land Company (GCILC) started releasing water from Meadow Creek Reservoir to boost instream flows in the Upper Fraser River. Releases from the reservoir will be picked up by the Moffat Collection system and in exchange Denver Water will reduce diversions at the Jim Creek collection point. This will boost flows in the Upper Fraser River through the Town of Winter Park and on downstream. This project is part of a one-year agreement between GCILC and Colorado Water Trust (the Water Trust). Both parties hope it can be the first year of a longer-term solution to low flows of the Fraser River.

The added flow from the project, estimated at 3 cfs (cubic feet per second), is intended to support river health during times of low flow. The Water Trust analysis shows that flows in the reach of the Fraser River from Crooked Creek to the Town of Winter Park are regularly below the 8 cfs necessary to preserve the natural environment; and that low flows are most common in September.

To implement this project GCILC and the Water Trust obtained approval for a Water Conservation Program from the Colorado River District. This program allows GCILC to release the stored water for an environmental benefit without impacting the use records associated with those storage rights. GCILC worked with the Learning By Doing group to decide which stream reach would benefit from the project and with Denver Water to move the water through the Moffat collection system to the Upper Fraser.

“Historically the Upper Fraser River near Winter Park has seen low flows, particularly in August and September when resident trout are starting their fall spawning migration. Boosting flows at this time can help those fish have successful spawning runs and keep this valuable recreational fishery healthy. We are fortunate to have an excellent partner in GCILC and we look forward to working with them long into the future to keep the Fraser River flowing strong,” Tony LaGreca, Project Manager, Colorado Water Trust.

“By partnering with the Water Trust, GCILC hopes the releases of water from Meadow Creek Reservoir will, in a small way, help to mitigate the impacts to the watershed from the trans mountain diversions, and be consistent with the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement,” Mike Holmes, Grand County Irrigated Land Company.

Under state statute, Water Conservation Programs can operate in 5 years out of a 10-year period. This is the first year of operation for this project. The parties plan on evaluating the success of this first year of operation before applying for future years of operation.

This is a true, broad collaboration between a local irrigation company (GCILC), a statewide Colorado nonprofit (The Water Trust), and international and national companies providing the funding to help make it all possible (The Coca-Cola Company and Swire Coca-Cola). Thanks to the financial support of the two companies, the Water Trust will reimburse the GCILC for the environmental flow releases.

ABOUT COLORADO WATER TRUST: Colorado Water Trust is a private, nonprofit organization that restores water to Colorado’s rivers by developing and implementing voluntary, water sharing agreements. Since 2001, the Water Trust has restored nearly 21 billion gallons of water to 600 miles of Colorado’s rivers and streams.

ABOUT THE COCA-COLA COMPANY: The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is a total beverage company with products sold in more than 200 countries and territories. Our company’s purpose is to refresh the world and make a difference. We sell multiple billion-dollar brands across several beverage categories worldwide. Our portfolio of sparkling soft drink brands includes Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta. Our water, sports, coffee and tea brands include Dasani, Smartwater, vitaminwater, Topo Chico, BODYARMOR, Powerade, Costa, Georgia, Gold Peak and Ayataka. Our juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverage brands include Minute Maid, Simply, Innocent, Del Valle, Fairlife and AdeS. We’re constantly transforming our portfolio, from reducing sugar in our drinks to bringing innovative new products to market. We seek to positively impact people’s lives, communities and the planet through water replenishment, packaging recycling, sustainable sourcing practices and carbon emissions reductions across our value chain. Together with our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people, helping bring economic opportunity to local communities worldwide. Learn more at and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

ABOUT SWIRE COCA-COLA: With revenues of $3 billion, Swire Coca-Cola, produces, sells and distributes Coca-Cola and other beverages in 13 states across the American West. The company’s territory includes parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Employing more than 7,200 associates the company’s headquarters is in Draper, Utah.

For more information, contact:
Tony LaGreca
Colorado Water Trust
Phone: 720-570-2897

Mike Holmes
Grand County Irrigated Land Company
Phone: 970-531-7854