Speaking Locally 2022

Overworked and Under Threat: Preserving the Colorado River

Thu Oct 20, 2022
6:00 PM - 7:30 AM

The Colorado River is a workhorse – sustaining life as we know it for more than 40 million people in 7 Western states and two countries; providing water to irrigate crops, sustaining communities with drinking water, and supporting incredible recreational opportunities and diverse wildlife. All in all, it provides an economic benefit of $1.4 trillion – including a $26 billion recreation economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, it’s impossible to ignore the state of the Colorado River. From our local papers to the New York Times, headlines of dropping reservoir levels, low flows, and increased demand are abundant. This complex system established with the Colorado River Compact of 1922 – and over-allocated at its inception – is strained.

With more demand and a more unpredictable water future, how do we move forward? What role do we play and what actions can we take as a headwaters state? How do we balance a system of diverse and demanding uses? How do we find hope?

Join Vail Symposium and Eagle River Watershed Council as our moderator, journalist Luke Runyon, guides us through a conversation with Colorado River and water management experts Pat Mulroy and Fay Hartman to learn about key challenges that have led us to critical levels and how the collective we take action to protect the mighty Colorado River and our way of life.

Presented in partnership with the Eagle River Watershed Council


Fay Hartman

Fay Hartman

Conservation Director

Colorado River Basin Program

Luke Runyon

Luke Runyon


National Public Radio

Pat Mulroy

Pat Mulroy

Senior Fellow for Climate Adaptation

UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West