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San Juan Water Conservancy District Plans Educational Film Series

Southwest Basin Roundtable has funded San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) to create three educational short films in 2024.  Professional film maker, Christi Bode of Moxiecran Media, will script and shoot “This is Your Watershed: Upper San Juan River.” Collaboration with other water organizations and stakeholders is expected to enrich our understanding of our San Juan River home.

In the planning stage, the working themes of three six-minute videos are:

  1. Introduction to the Upper San Juan Watershed: Geography, Ecological Functioning. Tributaries, and Rivers
  2. Water Uses and Needs: Environmental, Agricultural, Recreational, Industrial, Municipal, as well as Cultural and Tribal Needs
  3. The Future of our Water Supply: Threats and Opportunities

Quantitative and qualitative data, collected across decades, that explains water supply and needs will be included. Risk management and Colorado compact compliance requirements will be incorporated into explanations of all water uses – environmental, recreational, agricultural, municipal, and industrial.

The creation of the informative films are part of SJWCD’s Strategic Plan to educate the community about the water resources of the Upper San Juan River Basin and related issues, including climate change, future water needs, water resource planning, water conservation, and the work of the SJWCD.

Pagosa Gateway Project Moves Forward

Upper San Juan Watershed Enhancement Partnership (WEP) announced to SJWCD at our Special Meeting in November that funding had been received for the collaborative Pagosa Gateway Project. SJWCD funds WEP and supports its activities in the San Juan River watershed.

The Town of Pagosa Springs announced in its January 2024 newsletter that a contract with FlyWater, Inc. had been approved to achieve the construction of the Gateway project. (

WEP recently commissioned a Non-consumptive Water Needs Assessment from Lotic Hydrological ( in Carbondale, Colorado. The in-depth water study was used at all stages of the planning process for the Gateway Project. Link here to Lotic’s Non-consumptive Water Needs Assessment. Lotic_WEP_PhaseII_Report_&_Appendices

The Pagosa Gateway Project will construct a series of interventions to improve an approximately 2.1 mile section of the San Juan River, just upstream from the Town of Pagosa Springs and downstream from Running Iron Ranch. (The Running Iron Ranch is jointly owned by San Juan Water Conservancy District, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, and Colorado Water Conservation Board.) The project will address the negative impacts of decreasing stream flow on the aquatic habitat and is approved by all affected landowners. The well-researched project is designed to improve the river’s resilience in the face of climate change. All non-consumptive water uses are being considered, like the environmental needs of the river and recreational needs of the community.

According to the Town of Pagosa Springs, “project design is expected to be about 60% complete by summer 2024.” Summer design work will continue, allowing for additional fieldwork and study of environmental and cultural impacts. Construction will begin in fall 2024. Completion is expected in fall 2025.

WEP’s funding goal, $1,246,160, was reached with support from the US Bureau of Reclamation, Town of Pagosa Springs, Trout Unlimited, Southwestern Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, Pagosa Tourism Board, San Juan Water Conservancy District, Friends of the Upper San Juan, and Colorado Water Conservation Board.