Crystal Dam spilling
Crystal Dam spilling

The Western Colorado Area Office consists of two offices, one located in Grand Junction and one located in Durango, and several field offices with projects encompassing western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona. The WCAO is responsible for Reclamation projects and program activities in the Upper Colorado, Gunnision, Yampa, White, Dolores, Uncompahgre, Animas, and San Juan River Basins. WCAO staff work with many entities including: federal, state, and local governments; water providers; and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation.

On the mainstem of the Upper Colorado River and its upper basin tributaries (including the Gunnison, Uncompahgre, and Dolores Rivers) the WCAO provides or oversees the operation, management and maintenance of several projects: Bostwick Park, Collbran, Dallas Creek, Dolores, Fruitgrowers, Grand Valley, Paonia, Silt, Smith Fork, Uncompahgre and the Paradox Valley Unit of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Project. The area office sets operations and coordinates with the Colorado River Storage Project Power Office for water operations decisions regarding releases from the Aspinall Unit (Crystal, Morrow Point and Blue Mesa Dams).

The WCAO is also responsible for providing or overseeing the operation, management and maintenance of six projects in the San Juan River Basin: Animas-La Plata, Florida, Mancos, Pine River, Hammond and the Navajo Unit of the Colorado River Storage Project. Together, these Reclamation projects provide over 3 million acre-feet of water storage and serve approximately 453,382 acres of land with irrigation water in western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. This valuable water also provides recreation opportunities, hydropower, flood control and benefits for endangered fish.

One of the most important priorities for the WCAO is ensuring that dams and other project facilities are structurally safe and secure from terrorist attacks. The WCAO is responsible to ensure the continued safety of the public while fulfilling its water delivery obligations.

Last Updated: 6/15/20