Banner for Colorado River VIP Tour

What an amazing experience! The 2018 Tour took place November 15-16 and traveled upstream from Austin to San Angelo and back, stopping at key locations to explore land-use best practices, issues in water quantity and quality, the impacts of growing populations, the dams and reservoirs of the Colorado River, emerging technologies to curtail water waste, and more. Attendees heard from experts and engaged in respectful, meaningful conversations about natural resource stewardship, water issues, and the future of the Texas Colorado River. Attendees on this two-day bus tour included representatives of regional elected leaders, water-planning experts, diverse water users and managers, community stakeholders, and more.

The following photos of the 2018 Colorado River VIP Tour are courtesy of Robert Mace:

^ Participants on the 2018 Tour

^ The Concho River in San Angelo

^ Jenna Walker discusses groundwater and surface water interactions.

^ Melissa Miller, Executive Director of the Colorado River Alliance

^ Imperiled freshwater mussels

^ Peggy Sechrist, at the Sechrist Ranch in the Hill Country

Click here to view more photos from the 2018 Tour, courtesy of Al Braden.

Check back soon for downloads of presentations and more photos of our participants and speakers!

Why this program matters

The Texas Colorado River is the lifeblood of millions of people and their communities, providing not just drinking water but also water for agriculture, manufacturing, power generation, and more. Its natural beauty and recreation opportunities have helped make the communities in its basin some of the fastest-growing areas in the country. The population of the river’s basin (the land area that drains to the river, also known as the watershed, which includes almost 40,000 square miles) will double again by 2040. The demands on the river — a water supply that is already dwindling over time due to increasingly frequent droughts — will rise steeply.

At the Colorado River Alliance, our mission is to champion the river’s long-term vitality through education and engagement, and we recognize that our state’s long-term survival depends on a deeper understanding and research-based stewardship of the Texas Colorado River. The Colorado River VIP Tour educates leaders about the complex issues of water use, supply and demand, and the connections between land and water. As a result, this program prepares leaders to participate meaningfully in their communities’ decisions about water resources, conservation, and river stewardship. Said one participant, “I had no idea what I didn’t know. This tour was incredibly eye-opening.”

2018 Advisory Group

The Colorado River Alliance, in partnership with the Texas Water Foundation, has recruited the following Advisers to guide decisions about the 2018 VIP Tour’s stops, speakers, and invitees: Carole Baker (Texas Water Foundation), Lisa Benton (LCRA and TCEQ Clean Rivers Program), Blair Fitzsimons (Texas Agricultural Land Trust), Karen Ford (WaterPR), Tom Mason (retired, formerly LCRA General Manager), Carlos Rubinstein (RSAH2O), Emily Warren (Meadows Center for Water and the Environment), and Christy Youker (Texas Disposal Systems).

The 2016 Colorado River VIP Tour Was Filled with Active Discussions among Diverse Interests

On November 17-18, 2016, the Colorado River VIP Tour made its way from Hornsby Bend in Austin 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 ranchers and rice growers, industrial water to a booming coastal economy, and essential freshwater 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.”

2016 Tour Itinerary

2016 Tour Participants

2016 Tour Presentations

2016 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