Skip to main content

Water Information Program

A logo with a water droplet and the letters "WIP" for Water Information Program.

In August of 1994, the Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD), in cooperation with several water agencies and entities in southwestern Colorado, pooled their resources and created the Water Information Program (WIP). Each program partner has its own set of priorities and issues and the WIP provides an unbiased forum for communicating information. Participating partners contribute to the WIP based on their unique resources ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In turn, the SWCD contributes a dollar-for-dollar match. In addition, the SWCD provides the equipment and office space for the WIP.

Water education is one of eight comprehensive aspects of the Colorado Water Plan to ensure a sustainable water supply for Colorado’s growing population by 2050 in a way that respects and preserves the state’s diverse values. Water education, outreach, and public engagement are critical to addressing Colorado’s significant water challenges. The Water Information Program is unique in Colorado bringing seminars, workshops and leadership programs to the public related to all aspects of our watershed and water conservation throughout the SW Basin.

The Water Information Program is a public information program sponsored by a variety of organizations that include agricultural, electric/energy, environmental, and water sectors in the nine-county Dolores/San Juan River Basin of Southwestern Colorado. The purpose of the WIP is to explain, promote, and publish objective and balanced information and educational workshops and festivals related to water in Southwestern Colorado.

The WIP operates with each participating entity having a seat on the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee meets 3-4 times per year and provides Program oversight and direction. Each member has an opportunity to share information about their organization, upcoming projects or challenges, partnering opportunities, networking and possible stories for the WIP newsletter, and has a page on the WIP website. The meetings are a great way for members to know what is going on with other organizations and in the community.

The Water Information Program (WIP) provides essential opportunities for water education to the community. WIP is a public information program sponsored by a variety of organizations that include agricultural, electric/energy, environmental, and water sectors in the nine-county Dolores/San Juan River basins in southwestern Colorado. The purpose of WIP is to explain, promote, and publish objective and unbiased information and hold educational water workshops and festivals.

A partial list of WIP services and programs includes:

Educational Programs 
  • Children’s Water Festival: For 24 years the Water Information Program has produced the Children’s Water Festival on behalf of the Southwestern Water Conservation District. The festival takes place the first Wednesday in May and has been held at Fort Lewis College. Over 800 fifth grade students from across the nine-county Dolores/San Juan river basins participate, with more than 30 presenters and 50 volunteers who lend support to make this fun event such an annual success. Volunteers are always needed!
  • Water Law in a Nutshell Course: Led by Mr. Aaron Clay, Attorney at Law and former 26-year Water Referee for the Colorado Water Court, Division 4, this workshop offers an online setting to learn about aspects of the law related to water rights and ditch rights as applied in Colorado. Subject matter includes appropriation, limitations, abandonment and enforcement of various types of water rights, special rules for groundwater, public rights in appropriated water, interstate compacts and more. This workshop is offered a few times throughout the year and qualifies for continuing education credits for realtors, appraisers, and lawyers. There is a separate water law course specific to realtors offered as well.
  • Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Training Workshop: This is an annual intensive two-day in-the-field teacher training on local watersheds that qualifies for continuing education credit. The workshop builds teachers’ capacity for teaching watershed science by providing place-specific knowledge and activities that can be easily integrated in science and social science curricula.
  • WebsiteIn addition to current events and news, there is a plethora of useful water-related information at
  • NewsletterThis e-newsletter covers a wide variety of local water-related news.
  • Brochures: Come by the office to pick up brochures on a wide variety of water-related topics, including rainwater harvesting, ditches and diversions, and water conservation.
  • Lending Library: Now with more than 200 water-related books and movies available for checkout.
  • Water Display: This regularly updated display is used at numerous events throughout the region and year, such as the SWCD Southwest Water Seminar and local libraries.

For more information on any of these programs or services, visit the website, call WIP Program Manager Elaine Chick at 970-247-1302 x3 or feel free to stop by at 841 East 2nd Avenue in Durango. Also, follow the Water Information Program on Facebook and Twitter!

Join our mailing list