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Strategic Plan

Tri-County Water Conservancy District

Strategic Plan


The Tri-County Water Conservancy District was decreed on the 19th day of August 1957 in Civil Action No. 7744.  The District is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado and a body corporate with all the powers of a public or municipal corporation.  The District serves portions of Delta, Montrose, and Ouray counties and each county has the representation of five Board of Directors judicially appointed to serve on the District’s Board.  The District includes all of Ouray County except the City of Ouray which was withdrawn, that portion of Montrose County drainage area which runs into the Uncompahgre River, and that portion of Delta County lying south of the Gunnison River plus parcels in North Delta that are served by the City of Delta.  The District spans approximately 1,400 square miles.       

The District owns and manages water rights utilized in the Uncompahgre Valley and acts as a liaison between the public and the federal government.  In December 1976 the voters in the District voted to accept the repayment contract for the construction of the Ridgway Dam to store and deliver project water for irrigation, municipal, industrial, and other uses.  The District subsequently entered into agreements and contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation and other entities within the District for the sale and use of irrigation, municipal, and industrial water.

The District distributes domestic water throughout the rural area of the Uncompahgre Valley and currently serves 7,500 residential and commercial taps through approximately 615 miles of pipeline, 21 storage tanks, 42 pump stations, and other appurtenances.  The District performs its own operation, maintenance, and construction activities as directed under the policies and guidelines set by the District’s Board of Directors.

The District joined in the formation of the Project 7 Water Authority (P7) which provides water treatment services for the P7 member entities.

In 2002 the City of Aspen and the District, in a joint effort, revisited the economic feasibility of constructing the hydropower project at Ridgway Reservoir.  Based on commitments from both entities and the funding that was available, an 8MW hydroelectric generating facility was constructed and began generating power in February 2014. 


 The District's mission is to provide dependable quality service for delivery of domestic water to District customers and to manage, operate, maintain, and utilize the Dallas Creek Project in the most efficient, economical, and sustainable manner.


The purpose of this Strategic Plan is to develop a set of guiding principles for District operations.  Operating the District and participating in water issues of local, state, and national importance have become increasingly complex since the District was formed, and promise to become more so.  Responsibilities delegated by the District Board often require the management staff to take action on behalf of the District or represent District priorities in advance of any opportunity for a full discussion and decision by the whole board.

Following review and revision at the Management and Board levels resulted in a consensus-based set of priorities which reflect the Board’s current position.  The Strategic Plan will provide guidance to staff and a record of Board positions and priorities.   It is considered a “living” document to be revised as needed.

We will carry out the following major initiatives as the primary components of the District’s Strategic Plan to fulfill its mission. 

Water and Hydropower Management: 

  • Manage day-to-day operations for delivery of domestic and raw water. 
  • Search for new and modern ways to meet future challenges.
  • Pursue accurate, efficient, and economically sound practices for future operations.
  • Improve systems automation.  Manage customer and infrastructure-based data through the use of GIS and IT.
  • Operate and maintain an 8-megawatt hydropower plant in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Analyze and construct required capital improvements to maintain and guarantee sustainability.
  • Construct a water treatment plant near Ridgway Reservoir to provide a redundant and reliable domestic water service to customers.
  • Contract with outside agencies as required ensuring longevity and reliability of domestic water service.  Schedule and verify ongoing compliance with all District contractual agreements. 
  • Monitor and participate in ongoing Regional Water Management Monitoring and Studies, Watershed Protection, and Water Quality efforts in the Uncompahgre and Gunnison River Basins.
  • Support and participate with the other local water entities in maintaining water resources and potable water service.
  • Educate the public in Water Conservation and Water Wise Education.  Establish a Water Conservation office and public information pamphlet distribution service.

Water Resource Planning:

  • Protect existing, develop new, and maintain conditional water rights.
  • Continue efforts to be the premier water resources planning and development agency for our constituency.
  • Initiate a legitimate and effective regional water conservation program.
  • Support and participate in the efforts ongoing by the Gunnison Basin Roundtable.
  • Monitor, support, and participate in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Species Recovery Program.
  • Support and participate in the watershed protection efforts affecting the water quality and supply in the Uncompahgre River.
  • Continue discussions on efficient and effective Ag-to-Municipal water rights conversion to ensure sustainability.
  • Develop ways to manage the effects of drought on water rights, water supplies, and water management.

Water and Hydropower Organizations:

  • Support and participate in the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, Aspinall Operations, SWAT 4, Ouray County Water Users Association, Regional Planning, Water for the Future, and No Chico Brush.
  • Support and participate in Rocky Mountain Section American Water Works, Inter-Basin Compact Committee, Colorado Water Congress, Colorado Rural Water Association, National Water Resources Association, and Colorado River Water Users Association.
  • Support and participate in any organization or activity that provides benefits or education to the water and/or hydropower communities.
The District will proactively support and participate in all issues affecting water and hydropower and protect this natural resource.  We will continue to identify and prioritize activities, to improve current and future operations, to recognize new challenges, and to continue to develop and accomplish the organization’s ongoing mission.

Adopted July 16, 2014