Two agencies within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources manage water in the state, the Division of Water Resources (DWR) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).

The Colorado Division of Water Resources

The DWR administers Colorado’s water resources to meet current and future demands. The DWR conducts its work through its seven field offices located throughout the state.

Responsibilities of the DWR include:

  • Focuses on origin issues, reserved rights, wetlands, endangered species recovery and interstate water issues on an already limited water supply.
  • Collects and analyzes data on water supply to forecast streamflows, determine diversion requirements, investigate stream transit losses, determine evaporation losses, and calculate historic use and current conditions.
  • Issues water well permits, administers water rights, monitors stream flow and water use, inspects dams for safety, maintains data-bases of Colorado water information, and represents Colorado in interstate water compact proceedings.
The DWR Water Commissioner

Water Commissioner District MapWater commissioners in seventy-eight water districts within the seven water division field offices allocate water, issue curtailment orders, collect water use and/or diversion data and enforce water court decrees and state water laws.

Water commissioners are employees of the State of Colorado and on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in order to respond to requests for water delivery and emergencies. They play an indispensable role in the scheme of distributing water under Colorado’s prior appropriation system.

A water commissioner may do any or all of the following:

  • Establish and manage local water allocations;
  • Regulate diversions from head gates and other structures;
  • Distribute transbasin, transmountain and storage waters;
  • Meet compact obligations;
  • Inspect dams and wells;
  • Enforce restrictions;
  • Read meters;
  • Inspect and review water court applications;
  • Assist in stream flow measurements and rating of measuring devices;
  • Respond to citizen concerns and requests for information;
  • Develop and manage records, diagrams, charts and applications.

As Water Commissioner, Bill Thompson oversees the Blue River Basin for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, District 36, Water Division 5. The position he holds was created by the legislature in 1989.

Bill Thompson, Water Commissioner
PO Box 4741
Breckenridge, CO 80424

Field Office: (970) 468-2442
Division Office: (970) 945-5665

Colorado Water Conservation Board

The CWCB is responsible for water project planning and finance, stream and lake protection, flood hazard identification and mitigation, weather modification, river restoration, water conservation and drought planning, water information, and water supply protection.

The CWCB makes decisions regarding the management and development of Colorado’s water resources based on Colorado Revised Statutes, rules, resolutions and policies.

The CWCB representative, John D. Redifer, represents the Colorado River Mainstem, where the Blue River watershed is located. Redifer is Executive Director of the Natural Resource and Land Policy Institute at Mesa State College, where he serves as the Department Head of Social and Behavioral Science. He sits on the board of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and is vice president of the Tamarisk Coalition. As a political science professor, Redifer has taught for 14 years specializing in public policy, public administration and state and local government. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Colorado State University.

John Redifer
Mesa State College
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501

(800) 982-6372