Colorado Water Trust

A nonprofit organization

Colorado Water Trust’s mission is to restore water to Colorado’s rivers.

Just as land trusts serve as facilitators for land owners who want to conserve their property, Colorado Water Trust serves as a facilitator for water rights owners who want to use their water to benefit river habitats. Our team of water lawyers and water resource specialists innovates within Colorado’s system of water rights to develop market-based solutions that secure water for rivers while also protecting people’s livelihoods. Through purchases and leases of water, water sharing agreements, and other legal and infrastructure tools, we restore river flows that benefit both people and the environment. 

Colorado Water Trust is committed to a future where water is used and shared efficiently, allowing rivers and streams to flow healthy and strong for fish and wildlife, local economies, and the beautiful landscapes for which Colorado is famous.

You can make a general donation to Colorado Water Trust, or you can balance your annual water use with a gift to myRiver Balance.

myRiver Balance helps you give back by returning the amount of water you use each year to Colorado's rivers and streams. 

It's easy! Just these 5 steps: 

  1. Determine the amount of water you would like to balance based on your annual water use (You can find a calculator on our website.
  2. Make a donation to myRiver Balance with an amount of your choice, based on your annual water use. 
  3. Colorado Water Trust will use myRiver Balance funds to purchase or lease water for a river, helping to balance Colorado's water equation. 
  4. Colorado Water Trust will provide you with a report on which rivers were boosted using the myRiver Balance Fund. 
  5. Share myRiver Balance with you family and friends!  

Learn more about myRiver Balance here.


The mission of Colorado Water Trust is to restore water to Colorado's rivers.

Background Statement

Colorado Water Trust was founded in 2001 when Colorado was heading into the worst drought the region had ever seen and rivers were deeply threatened. A group of water lawyers, engineers, and conservationists began to explore new ways to use and move water that would support healthy rivers. Colorado Water Trust’s founders envisioned a nonprofit entity that would provide market-based solutions to secure water for environmental purposes. By innovating from the traditional use of water laws, they could take the tools and systems that were created to withdraw water from rivers for human use and instead use them to do the opposite: restore water to rivers.

Over the past 22 years, Colorado Water Trust has pioneered numerous legal tools to implement 25 projects throughout the state, many which operate every year, that have ultimately returned nearly 21 billion gallons of water to 600 miles of Colorado’s rivers and streams.

Today, we work closely with over 50 partners every year from municipalities, food producers, state and federal agencies, fellow nonprofits, and more, to find creative solutions that help us share water with the environment during critical times of need.

We are the pre-eminent environmental water transactions expert in Colorado, committed to a future where water is shared efficiently and with low transactional cost or friction. It is a future that climate change has forced our state to embrace, and we are leading the way.

Organization Data


Organization name

Colorado Water Trust

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)





1312 17th Street #766
Denver, CO 80202

Service areas





720-570-2897 8

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