Vail Symposium, Eagle River Watershed Council tackle the law of the Colorado River in panel program |

Vail Symposium, Eagle River Watershed Council tackle the law of the Colorado River in panel program

Weekly staff report
The Colorado River Compact of 1992 is the cornerstone of the Law of the River and dictates the management of the river's flows between Upper Basin and Lower Basin states, flowing through seven western states.
John-Ryan Lockman | Special to the Daily

If you go …

What: The Law of the Colorado River: Conflict and Collaboration.

When: Thursday, Oct. 3. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m.

Where: Hotel Talisa, Vail.

Cost: Tickets are $25 prior to 2 p.m. on the day of the program; tickets are $35 after 2 p.m. and at the door.

More information: Visit

VAIL — The mighty Colorado River is a source of life flowing through seven Western U.S. states and Mexico, providing water to nearly 40 million people; it’s the backbone of agriculture, tourism, recreation, irrigation and hydropower industries in the West.

The river basin has a complex history of governance at the state, federal and local level known as the “Law of the River.” Famously over-allocated at the time of signing, the Colorado River Compact of 1922 is the cornerstone of the Law of the River and dictates the management of the river’s flows between Upper Basin and Lower Basin states.

How do water managers take on an already over-allocated river with growing stressors such as drought, climate change and an ever-growing population? What will happen if water levels continue to drop in Lake Powell and Lake Mead? What is a “compact call” and what will it mean for Western states, as well as Eagle County as a headwaters community?

The Vail Symposium presents The Law of the Colorado River: Conflict and Collaboration on Thursday, Oct. 3, at Hotel Talisa in Vail with experts John McClow, Anne Castle, Pat Mulroy and Eric Kuhn. The panel is intimately involved in the management of the Colorado River Upper and Lower basins and will present answers to these questions as well as the innovative strategies being implemented to combat the growing threats to the river such as the Drought Contingency Plan, System Conservation Pilot Program, Minute 319 & 323 and more.

The program starts at 6 p.m. and costs $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are available at

“The Colorado River is a lifeblood in our community both recreationally and in terms of agriculture,” said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “We’re pleased to be able to host such a timely and enlightening discussion in partnership with the Eagle River Watershed Council.”

About the speakers

Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for natural resources, energy and the environment at the University of Colorado, focusing on western water policy issues. From 2009 to 2014, she was assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Eric Kuhn was, until earlier this year, the general manager of the Colorado River District, a position he held since 1996. Kuhn started employment with the Colorado River District in 1981 as assistant secretary engineer and has served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission since 1981. From 1994 through 2001, he served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

John H. McClow is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Colorado Law. He has practiced law in Colorado since 1973. He has represented the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District since 1991, becoming full-time General Counsel in 2006. He is a member of the Board of Directors and is past president (2014) of the Colorado Water Congress and is vice-chair of its State Affairs Committee. He served as Colorado’s Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission from 2013-14.

Pat Mulroy is a former senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program. In addition, she serves as the senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West. She is a founding chair of the Western Urban Water Coalition, and she was a founding member of the Water Utility Climate Alliance. She served on the Board of Directors for the National Water Resources Association and with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies first as treasurer (2009-2011) and then as president (2011-2013).

Moderator Holly Loff has served as the executive director of Eagle River Watershed Council since 2013. Under her direction, the Watershed Council set and continues to implement a strategic organizational path that focuses on advocating for the health of the watershed, focusing on education, fostering collaboration and securing diversified funding.

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