Crystal River Project


For decades, the Crystal River has suffered from low flows in average and dry years, stunting the river’s ecosystem and impacting recreation. In the face of the 2012 drought, local project partners in Pitkin and Garfield Counties reached out to Colorado Water Trust to discuss challenges and brainstorm streamflow restoration solutions. After many conversations with various local experts and stakeholders, Colorado Water Trust suggested a flow restoration strategy based on non-diversion agreements with water users upstream of the Carbondale Ditch.


Loans & Leases

In 2018, Colorado Water Trust and Cold Mountain Ranch signed the first contract for a Water Conservation Program on the Crystal that compensates the Ranch when they coordinate their diversions to boost flows in the river. The project operated for the first time in 2022, returning some of the Ranch's water to the river.


Roaring Fork Conservancy, Public Counsel of the Rockies, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Lotic Hydrological, Cold Mountain Ranch, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Pitkin County


In 2022, the Crystal River project restored

Million gallons

119 acre-feet
of water to the Crystal River.


2018 - Present