The Colorado River Storage Project Act, authorized on April 11, 1956, became an important factor in the development and management of water in the Upper Basin. The act authorized construction of the Colorado Storage Project (CRSP) which was intended to provide for storage in the Upper Basin to allow the Upper Basin to develop its apportionment of the Colorado River while assuring delivery of the Lower Basin’s full allocation.
The CRSP Act authorized construction of four initial units which included: the Wayne N. Aspinall Unit in Colorado (Blue Mesa, Crystal, and Morrow Point Dams), Flaming Gorge Unit in Utah, Navajo Unit in New Mexico, and Glen Canyon Unit in Arizona; and the construction of 11 participating projects. Subsequent legislation expanded the total number of authorized participating projects to 23 although one project was deleted. There are currently 22 authorized participating projects.
The purpose of the participating projects was to develop water in the Upper Colorado River system for irrigation, municipal and industrial uses, and other purposes, and participate in the use of revenues from the Upper Colorado River Basin Fund to help repay the costs of irrigation features that are beyond the ability of the water users to repay. Revenues from hydropower developed at the CRSP initial units were used to fund these smaller irrigation projects which supply water to agricultural and urban areas outside the watershed.
To date, 16 of the currently authorized 22 projects have been completed or are in the process of completion. The five remaining participating projects were determined to be infeasible and were not built. The participating projects supply more than 554,000 acre-feet of water for irrigation with an annual gross crop value of more than $49 million. These projects also provide more than 110 billion gallons of water annually to meet all or part of the needs of more than 1.2 million people.
- Central Utah (initial phase) - Utah
- Emery County - Utah
- Florida - Colorado
- Hammond - New Mexico
- La Barge - Wyoming **Later found to be infeasible**
- Lyman - Wyoming and Utah
- Paonia - Colorado (works additional to existing project)
- Pine River (Extension) - Colorado and New Mexico **Deleted**
- Seedskadee - Wyoming
- Silt - Colorado
- Smith Fork - Colorado
- Eden - Wyoming
- San Juan-Chama - Colorado and New Mexico
- Navajo Indian Irrigation Project - New Mexico
- Bostwick Park - Colorado
- Fruitland Mesa - Colorado **Later found to be infeasible**
- Savery-Pot Hook - Colorado and Wyoming **Later found to be infeasible**
- Animas-La Plata - Colorado
- Dallas Creek - Colorado
- Dolores - Colorado
- San Miguel - Colorado **Later found to be infeasible**
- West Divide - Colorado **Later found to be infeasible**
- Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project