Colorado River VIP Tour

Colorado River VIP Tour Filled with Active Discussions among Diverse Interests

On November 17-18, the Colorado River VIP Tour 2016 made its way from Hornsby Bend to Matagorda Bay and back—with stops all along the route. The invitation-only bus trip hosted more than 40 tour participants—representing elected leaders, legislative and congressional staff, state agencies, water organizations, scientists, educators, utility managers, rice farmers, and community stakeholders—who all listened, learned and shared information about the Texas Colorado from diverse user and water-policy perspectives.

Hosted by the Colorado River Alliance, Tour attendees and guests engaged in vital conversations about the challenges, demands, management and sustainability of this shared water resource. The Texas Colorado River provides drinking water for more than one million people, irrigation water to generations of rice growers and ranchers, industrial water to a booming coastal economy, and essential fresh water flows to coastal estuaries and ecosystems.

“This tour is an important program of the Colorado River Alliance,” said River Alliance executive director Brent Lyles. “It brings better understanding of the challenges and many demands on this beautiful Texas river. When we talk, we find solutions.”

Tour Itinerary

Tour Participants


Photo Gallery

Unless otherwise noted, the photos are courtesy of WaterPR.


Gulf Prairie

Texas Water Foundation

Lost Pines

Austin Water

Prosperity Bank

SWCA Environmental Consultants


Contact Brent Lyles,, for questions relating to the event.


Colorado River Tour Builds Understanding among Diverse Interests

AUSTIN, TX – On November 13, the Colorado River Tour left Austin on a two-day, invitation-only bus tour along the Colorado River to Brownwood and back. More than 40 participants on board—representing state and regional leadership, water planners and managers, scientists, environmental interests, and community stakeholders—listened, learned and shared information about the Texas Colorado from diverse user perspectives.

The semi-annual tour is an event of the Colorado River Alliance with a mission to inform and elevate the dialog about the Colorado River and Texas’ water resources. “This is an opportunity to spend two full days going in-depth into Texas’ complex water issues”, says River Alliance executive director Sarah Richards, “and to engage with our allies who work to secure the vitality of this critical Texas resource.”

The Tour traveled north from Austin along the Colorado River basin where participants got a firsthand look at reservoir levels and river flows, or lack thereof, as well as getting an overview of issues facing the entire watershed. Participants learned about the current health of the river and received updates from the municipal, industrial, agricultural and environmental sectors. See Tour Itinerary, map, and photos.

Many stops were made along the way, allowing a closer look at public and private facilities that use and manage the river’s water. In addition to on-site tours, participants were engaged in bus talks on topics ranging from environmental flows to the economic impact of the Highland Lakes.

Key stops included:

  • Samsung Semiconductor, Austin
  • Mansfield Dam, Austin
  • Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet
  • Leonard Bros Pecan Orchard, San Saba
  • Wedding Oak Winery/Civic Center, San Saba
  • Adams Street Community Center, Brownwood
  • Texas Botanical Gardens, Goldthwaite
  • Drought Talk, Goldthwaite Airport
  • Ferguson Power Plant, Horseshoe Bay

 Presenters include (partial list):

  • Joe Beal, LCRA General Manager 2000-2007
  • John Burke, Region K Planning Group Chair
  • Kathleen Jackson, TWDB Board Member
  • Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger
  • Dr. Robert Mace, Deputy Executive Administrator, TWDB
  • Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald
  • Bob Rose, LCRA Chief Meteorologist
  • Dave Schneider, Samsung Austin Semiconductor
  • Phil Wilson, LCRA General Manager

Praise from Tour participants:

“The sites we visited and the speakers were excellent!  I was amazed at how perfect the timing was as we traveled such a large area – a clear indication of excellent planning. The information I gained will be extremely helpful as I explore ways to assist our stakeholders throughout the Colorado River region.”

-Rick Rhodes, Office of Rural Affairs, Department of Agriculture

“Thank you for a wonderful experience Thursday and Friday.  I learned so much about the upper basin, had an opportunity to visit with old friends, and met many, many new friends.  I so appreciate your accommodating my schedule.  I was able to attend everything!  Please convey my appreciation to everyone.”

-Honorable Donna Klaeger, County Judge, City of Burnet

“Thank you for all of your work and organization in implementing a successful trip yesterday and for including Kathleen and me. We really enjoyed the hands-on experience and thought the speakers were very informative!”

-Jennifer White, Chief of Staff to Board Member Kathleen Jackson, TWDB

Thank you to presenting sponsor Forestar Group and to additional sponsors CH2M HILL and Freese & Nichols. Thank you to program partners LCRA and Texas Water Foundation.

See the full itinerary, Tour map and view photos