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1147 24 Road, Grand Junction, CO • Open Monday-Friday 7:30am-4pm

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Grand Valley Water Users Association

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GVWUA History 

Grand Valley Water Users’ Association (GVWUA) was formed in 1905 to obtain authorization from the Reclamation Service and the United States Congress for a federal irrigation project that would irrigate the higher ground north of the Colorado River in the Grand Valley, to operate the project once it was built, and to repay the cost of construction of the Grand Valley Project. 


GVWUA is a Water Users Association organized as a non-profit corporation under special Colorado statutes relating to Water Users Associations.  The Water Users Association statutes were enacted by the Colorado Legislature in 1905, and authorized the formation of Water User Associations as quasi-public corporations for the purpose of entering into repayment contracts with the United States for irrigation projects constructed under the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902.


GVWUA operates an irrigation water right owned by the United States but held in the name of the GVWUA and for Grand Valley Project purposes, pursuant to a contract with the United States.  This irrigation water right is in the amount of 730 cubic feet per second (CFS), has a priority date of 1908.GVWUA also operates a water right for power purposes, which water is also owned by the United States.  Both water rights are part of the Grand Valley Project, constructed by the United States Reclamation Service.


Water is diverted for the Grand Valley Project from the Colorado River into the Government Highline Canal at the roller dam located approximately 8 miles upstream from Palisade, Colorado.  The Government Highline Canal, which is located on the northwest side of the Colorado River in DeBeque Canyon, carries water down stream about 4.6 miles below the diversion dam to a point where a portion of the water is diverted into the Orchard Mesa Power Canal and siphoned to the southeast side of the canyon under the Colorado River to provide an irrigation water supply for the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District and water supply for the Grand Valley Hydroelectric Power Plant.  The Government Highline Canal continues flowing down stream through Tunnel # 3 on the northwest side of the Colorado River.  Pursuant to contracts with Palisade Irrigation District and Mesa County Irrigation District, water is delivered from the Government Highline Canal to the ditches of those two entities (the Price and Stub Ditches).  The Government Highline Canal continues westward for about 47 miles.


Delivery of irrigation water to GVWUA water users begins on the west side of Indian Wash near 28 1/2 Road and continues on westward to about 5 Road.  The Government Highline Canal provides irrigation water to approximately 23,341 acres of Class 1 water right land, located north of the Colorado River above and north of the Grand Valley Irrigation Canal.


The facility features of the Grand Valley Project as operated by GVWUA includes the Cameo Diversion Dam, the 55-mile-long Government Highline Canal, 150 miles of   laterals, approximately 100 miles of drainage ditch channels and attached appurtenants.


Water has been allocated to the lands served by the Government Highline Canal pursuant to “Subscription for Stock” agreements which were entered into between the GVWUA and owners of prospective irrigated lands in the early 1900’s.  Those Stock Subscriptions agreements have been recorded with the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.  Once allocated to specific land as specified according to these subscription agreements, the water remains appurtenant to those lands, and cannot be sold separately from the land to which they are allocated.  Since the right to use irrigation water within the Project area is appurtenant to the subscribed irrigable lands, the right to use GVWUA water is automatically transferred with the land, when Class-one water right land is transferred from one owner to the next owner.


All individuals associated with buying and selling land in Mesa County, Colorado within the Grand Valley Project area, should be aware of lands on which Reclamation has a   right-of-way, or owns in fee title.  The Canal Act of 1890 provides a federal reservation for right-of-way for ditches and canals on lands within the Grand Valley Project area.


Some land interests obtained by Reclamation and operated by GVWUA has a limited right-of-use right-of-way.  With a right-of-way, including the “ditches and canal” patent reservation, Reclamation does not own the underlying land; Reclamation and by contract, GVWUA only has use of the land for the specific right reserved or granted: to enter onto and from lands owned by others for the sole purpose to construct, operate and maintain canal and ditch works for irrigation, drainage and reclamation.  


Others including the underlying landowner cannot interfere in any way with Reclamation’s or GVWUA’s senior property right to use the same land.

Water Assessment

GVWUA irrigation water is available in most years from April 1, through October 31 of each year. Assessments are billed in December for the upcoming irrigation season based on allotments for individual parcels of land. Any excess usage from the previous season is included on the December bill.  The following are the Base Assessments for 2020 Irrigation Water Season.
Class 1 Acreage
Base Assessment Cost
Seasonal Allotment, acre-feet
0.01 – 0.99 Ac.
21 acre-feet
1.00 – 1.99 Ac.
23 acre-feet
2.00 – 2.99 Ac.
25 acre-feet
3.00 – 3.99 Ac. 
26 acre-feet
4.00 – 4.99 Ac.
27 acre-feet
5.00 – 5.99 Ac. 
27 acre-feet
6.00 – 6.99 Ac.
28 acre-feet

For properties with 7.00 Class-1 acres and above, the Base Assessment rate is $17.62 per Class-1 acre.

Irrigation Water Seasonal Allotment (irrigation water season runs from April 1 through October 31st)
on 7.00 acres and above = 4 acre feet per Class-1 acre.

Excess irrigation water rate charged = $6.61 per acre-foot of irrigation water used above Seasonal Allotment  

$100 has been added to each account to cover the Capital Reserve costs incurred from work on the Roller Dam, laterals and other entities, which are all part of the overall system used to get irrigation water to the water users.  Due to the high cost of repairs to these entities, there is a need for GVWUA to have reserves on hand in order to keep water flowing in the canals and ditches in case of a dam break or canal breach.  

Note: For Subdivision rate information, please contact the GVWUA at 242-5065.


See the attached PDFs for US Bureau of Reclamation Easement information. 

Rights of Ways



(970) 242-5065


1147 24 Road
Grand Junction, Colorado 81505-9639

GVWUA observes these holidays:

New Year's Day

Presidents Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Christmas Day

GVWUA Water Rights 

Irrigation water rights with Grand Valley Water Users Association (GVWUA) are described as Class-one Water Righted Acres (Class-one Acres).  Such Class-one Acres with GVWUA are appurtenant to specific acres of land based upon land class maps held by GVWUA.  When the ownership of the land changes, the water stays with the land.

GVWUA Irrigation Customers H2Order

request water online


Request Irrigation Water Online

GVWUA Customers can now submit requests for irrigation water using our new H2Order system.

- Order water from your phone or other mobile device

- Receive order confirmation by text or email

- Track water usage with data from order confirmations

GVWUA Irrigation Season

Irrigation season runs from April through October.

Mid-October is usually when we start emptying our canals.

Dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions or other unforeseeable events.


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