The Colorado Forum was established in 1978 to create an informed, objective voice on critical public policy issues facing the state.  Our 77 members are recognized leaders in the business, education, health care, media, legal, real estate, agriculture, financial, energy, consulting, tourism, construction, and non-profit communities and represent disparate parts of the state.  Forum membership is politically diverse; we are a nonpartisan organization that operates by 100% consensus. Read More.



WATCH: Our members discuss their experiences with The Colorado Forum here.



Our Perspective 


The shortage of water in key areas of the state, the unpredictable reliance on precipitation from year to year, and our growing population have led to concerns about the effects of drought on urban water demands, agriculture, and fire danger as well as minimum stream flow, fish and wildlife health, and other water related matters.  We supported the creation of Colorado’s first State Water Plan and continue to support implementation efforts.  We believe that state and regional leaders need to facilitate a civil, productive dialogue among key water users that will allow water to be allocated for maximum productive use, while protecting regional agriculture, natural resources, tourism, and consumer interests.
Colorado is the only headwaters state in the nation.  All the surface water in the state originates in our high mountains.  As a result, Colorado is particularly impacted when annual precipitation, rain or snow, lags behind historic averages, as it has for much of the 21st century.  When coupled with the state’s dramatic population growth, drought conditions are exacerbated.
The Forum has long been concerned about the negative effects of drought on urban water demands, rural agriculture operations, energy extraction, and the state’s keystone recreation industry.  Since 2010, the state has seen multiple catastrophic wildfires costing billions and changing our landscape.  Fish and wildlife health have been threatened by drought.  When stream flows recede, the state suffers.  As one of the Upper Basin State signatories to the Colorado River Compact, Colorado must also juggle its own considerable state water needs with its obligation to send a predetermined amount of water from the Colorado River and all its in-state tributaries, downstream to Lake Powell.
In an effort to navigate these challenges, we continue to support and encourage the implementation of the state water plan with additional financial resources and cooperation among competing water users.  We believe that state and regional leaders need to engage in a civil, productive dialogue involving the numerous stakeholders.  Our goal is to help the state allocate water for maximum productive use, while protecting the state’s agriculture, environmental, tourism, and commercial industries.

Our Work


For many years, the Forum’s primary focus was the resolution of Native American water rights issues in the San Juan Basin through the federally sponsored, state supported Animas La Plata water project.  The Forum was a tenacious advocate for this project which is now completed and serves an important purpose in the San Juan Basin.

Recently, we have provided input on the development and implementation of the State Water Plan. The Forum created an informed, experienced, and diverse working group of individuals to focus on how the powerful elements of the State Water Plan might be implemented.  This group was able to agree on a series of concepts that are important next steps for the Colorado State Water Plan implementation.  We continue to engage in efforts to identify revenue sources and encourage cooperative engagement of diverse water users in the state to conserve and prioritize water use to allow Colorado to continue to prosper.