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Grand Valley Water Users Association

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A Brief History of Grand Valley Water Users Association 

National Reclamation Act of 1902

Water would be essential for the development of the arid American West. The United States Congress passed the Reclamation Act in 1902 to build infrastructure for irrigation water and hydropower. The Reclamation Service (later renamed Bureau of Reclamation) partnered with local organizations in western states and territories to complete these waterworks. The projects were funded through the sale of federal land in western states and repayment of project costs by the beneficiaries.

Grand Valley Water Users Association

In 1905, Colorado’s General Assembly authorized the formation of local water associations to enter into repayment agreements with the Reclamation Service for construction of irrigation infrastructure. That same year, Grand Valley Water Users Association (GVWUA) was organized as a private Colorado not-for-profit corporation and it remains so today.

Grand Valley Project

GVWUA and the Reclamation Service developed the Grand Valley Project. This federal project irrigates the higher ground north of the Colorado River in the Grand Valley of Mesa County, Colorado. GVWUA has operated the Grand Valley Project since its completion and repaid the cost of its construction.

Grand Valley Project Facilities

  • Grand Valley Diversion Dam – aka the Roller Dam – on the Colorado River in DeBeque Canyon
  • Government Highline Canal, which is 55 miles long
  • 130 miles of laterals
  • More than 100 miles of drains
  • Partnership in a hydroelectric power plant

In recent years, nearly all of the laterals have been reconstructed as pressure-piped laterals. They deliver irrigation water to more than 1,000 individual locations. Much of the Government Highline Canal is lined to prevent seepage and to reduce salinity and selenium loading in the Colorado River.

Irrigation Water Delivery

GVWUA diverts water at the Roller Dam on the main stem of the Colorado River east of Palisade, Colorado in DeBeque Canyon. This water is delivered to:

  • Orchard Mesa Irrigation District
  • Mesa County Irrigation District
  • Palisade Irrigation District
  • Vinelands Power Plant
  • Grand Valley Water Users

The five-mile Canyon Canal portion of the Government Highline Canal travels through three tunnels before entering the Grand Valley northeast of the town of Palisade. 

Before entering Tunnel Three, the water for the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District and the Vinelands Power Plant is directed under the Colorado River and Interstate 70 into the facilities of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District. 

At the outfall of Tunnel Three, GVWUA diverts water from the Canal into the Stub Ditch for the Mesa County Irrigation District and the Price Ditch for the Palisade Irrigation District. GVWUA also provides water to both Districts through Main Canal Headgates on the Canal between Tunnel Three and Indian Wash east of 28 Road.

Delivery of irrigation water to GVWUA water users begins on the west side of Indian Wash near 28 1/2 Road and continues westward, ending near 5 Road. 

The Government Highline Canal provides irrigation water to approximately 25,000 acres in the GVWUA service area and approximately 15,000 acres in the other irrigation districts listed above.

Links to Learn More

  • Rocky Mountain PBS Colorado Experience: Western Water – and Power

Colorado Experience: Western Water—and Power – YouTube

  • Palisade Historical Society: Irrigation History

Irrigation History | Palisade Historical Society (historicpalisade.org)

  • The Bureau of Reclamation: A Very Brief History

Bureau of Reclamation (usbr.gov)

  • Grand Valley Project

Grand Valley Project (usbr.gov)
GRAND VALLEY PROJ. D2 (usbr.gov)

View of the dam looking downstream June 1916
Roller Dam in June 1916

2023 Irrigation Season

2023 Irrigation Season beginning the first week of April pending completion of Zebra Mussel eradication @ Highline Lake.


Online water request tool for
GVWUA Irrigation Customers

- With H2Order, customers can order irrigation water online

- Enter meter readings and flow rate changes using your phone, tablet and other devices

- Receive H2Order confirmations by e-mail (or text via cell number)

- Track water usage with data in your confirmation emails

- Give it a try today

- With H2Order, customers can order irrigation water online

- Enter meter readings and flow rate changes using your phone, tablet and other devices

- Receive H2Order confirmations by e-mail (or text via cell number)

- Track water usage with data in your confirmation emails

- Give it a try today


Thank You Facebook Post


System Conservation Program

Greetings GVWUA association member,

The Colorado River community finds itself in a dire situation after decades of drought and overuse of water by the Lower Basin States. The Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC) has released a Request for Proposals for voluntary participation in a System Conservation Pilot Project (SCPP) in 2023. The GVWUA has responded to the UCRC Request for Proposal.

You may be eligible to participate in the 2023 SCPP through a program administered by the GVWUA.

A shareholder is preliminarily eligible to participate in the 2023 SCPP if they:

1.) Actively irrigate 30 or more acres within our service area

3.) Are “actively engaged in farming” as defined by the Farm Service Agency.

Participants will be compensated for their participation and will be required to fallow irrigated land. Strict land management measures will be required throughout the program.

If you are interested in participating in the 2023 SCPP please email J-U-B Engineers, Inc. at Lgingerich@jub.com or Smikhail@jub.com for more information. Applications are due on or before March 1, 2023. A fact sheet and application can be found by clicking on the links below.


Tina Bergonzini, General Manager

Online Payments Now Available

- Online payment options are now available. The Pay Now button is at the top right corner of this Home page.

- Please Note: Convenience fees apply.

- GVWUA will continue to accept mail in checks, and in person payments. All credit card transactions will include convenience fees.

2023 Assessments / 2022 Excess Water

The deadline for paying the 2022 irrigation water assessments and 2021 excess water fees is June 15, 2022. After that date, assessment liens on properties with unpaid accounts will be filed through the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's office.

Bills may be paid by cash, check or credit card. Online payment options are now available.


What We Do

GVWUA is responsible for the flow of water in its canal, in its laterals and through its headgates.

All parts of delivery systems (ditches, laterals, pipelines, pumps) beyond the headgates are the responsibility of landowners.

If subdivisions in the GVWUA service area are interested in organizing their own laterals via a Homeowners Association, please send an email to info@gvwua.com.

GVWUA observes these holidays:

New Year's Day

Presidents Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Christmas Day