Colorado River Buttermilk Clouds above Colorado River at Sorrel River Ranch in Utah. © Tom Till

Colorado River Basin

Five Things You Can Do to Help the Colorado River

How can you help the Colorado River? Here are five easy ways!

The Colorado River provides drinking water for more than 36 million people in the U.S. and Mexico. It irrigates over 5 million acres of agricultural land—supplying a majority of carrots, lettuce and other vegetables in the winter to U.S. consumers. It provides hydropower and supports a $26 billion recreation economy. It is critically important for people and essential for wildlife.

But all of this is at risk. Demands on the river exceed supply and the river has been stretched to the breaking point. The good news is you can take simple actions right at home to help! 


1. Know where your water comes from: You may be surprised how far your water has to travel before reaching your faucet! If you’re reading this, chances are some (or all!) of your water comes from the Colorado River.

2. Use less water: Every drop counts! Use water saving devices and reduce your outdoor water use in the summer. Need some other ideas?

  •  Shorten your shower by two minutes and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full and save up to 200 gallons a month.
  • Fix that leaky faucet or running toilet and save up to 300 gallons per month.
  • Use native and drought-tolerant plants to landscape your home and water them in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation. Water-wise landscaping can greatly reduce water use—and lower your water bill.

3. Choose your food wisely: Consider the source of the food you eat and how it’s grown. Consider buying food grown locally and sustainably, using water-efficient practices.

4. Support organizations that protect our rivers: Learn more about organizations like The Nature Conservancy that protect and restore our rivers.

5. Encourage friends and family to take action: Inspire others to care for our lands and rivers. Explore the outdoors and try new adventures like rafting, fishing and hiking.

Tackling Water Shortage We're working with farmers to protect the Colorado River.


Our Colorado River program is an unprecedented effort to find innovative ways to save the river for nature and people. We combine on-the-ground work in local communities with policy initiatives to develop collaborative, science-based solutions that:                

  • Help balance the water needs of cities, farmers and nature.
  • Help protect and restore native fish (some found nowhere else in the world) by working with some of the river’s biggest dams to bring back more natural water flows.
  • Restore habitat for birds and fish by removing invasive weeds that compete with native plants and alter stream flows.
  • Create policy to help the Colorado River; we facilitated an historic agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to restore flows to the Gulf of California.

We believe the needs of people can and must be met without sacrificing the health of the Colorado River system. 

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