Check our the new map of projects building resilience in the Colorado River Basin.

Colorado River in Crisis

The Colorado River is a lifeline for the West. From its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to its natural terminus in the Gulf of California, the river is a recreation playground; a resource for drinking water, food, and energy production; an engine for local economies; and an irreplaceable habitat for native birds, fish, and wildlife. The Colorado River is also an essential part of the cultural fabric for 30 recognized Tribal Nations and the nearly 40 million people that call the Basin home.

But the Colorado River is in crisis. Chronic overuse exacerbated by climate change has led the Colorado River to the brink of collapse. To prevent the system from crashing, we must begin to implement durable solutions and increase investment in water-related climate resilience to protect all who depend on the Colorado River

The Colorado River Supports

40 Million People in the U.S. & Mexico
30 Federally-recognized Tribal Nations
5+ Million Acres of farmland
780,000+ Homes powered by hydropower
11 National parks
4 Threatened or endangered fish
400+ Species of birds
16 Million Jobs across the West
A $26 Billion Outdoor economy
$1.4 Trillion Annual economic activity

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability for the Colorado River Basin to prepare for and adapt to climate shifts and extremes, including rising temperatures, increased drying, and variability in precipitation. Resilience on the Colorado River means identifying, piloting, and implementing durable strategies to avoid or mitigate climate-related risks to the Colorado River community. 

Colorado River Resilience Projects Include

Restoring forests, headwater wetlands, habitat, & riparian ecosystems

Improving agricultural practices, infrastructure, & opportunities for water-saving crops

Boosting urban, industrial, & agricultural water conservation and efficiency

The Opportunity

By investing in coordinated, durable resilience strategies, Colorado River communities can better adjust to and absorb the impacts of a hotter, drier climate while creating local jobs, improving water security, preserving cultural and traditional significance for Tribal Nations, protecting agriculture and food supply chains, and restoring and reducing pressure on rivers and ecosystems.

The time for resilience investments is now: Recent federal funding provides an important down payment to help address the Basin’s crisis, but long-term, coordinated, and more targeted funding is needed to combat the urgent, broad, and diverse challenges facing the Colorado River Basin.

Federal Funding for Resilience

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act provide a historic opportunity to support durable resilience investments in the Colorado River Basin.