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Thu, Mar 05


Wine Country Inn

DARCA Annual Conference

With so many things to do, the Palisade/Grand Junction Region serves as a great location for DARCA's upcoming 2020 conference. From the engaging topics, exciting tours, and networking opportunities, this laid back conference is the perfect forum to talk about "What Is Our Water Worth".

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DARCA Annual Conference
DARCA Annual Conference

Time & Location

Mar 05, 2020, 7:30 AM – Mar 06, 2020, 8:30 PM

Wine Country Inn, 777 Grande River Drive, Palisade, CO 81526, USA


About the event

DARCA Conference, Palisade 2020

What is Our Water Worth?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

7:30 – 8:30 Exhibit set up and Registration

8:30 – 11:30 Tour of Roller Dam, canal systems, etc.- Mark Harris, Grand Valley Water Users Association

12:00 – 1:30  DARCA annual board meeting and elections with lunch (not included in registration cost.)

Have you been curious about what DARCA has been up to? Would you like to vote in the election or run for office? Come to the Annual Board Meeting, which is open to conference attendees, and will be held in the ballroom. Lunch will be served and if you tell Amber you’re coming, she’ll have a plate of lunch ready for you (not included in the registration costs.) Board members running for re-election include those in the Arkansas, Gunnison, South Platte, and Southwest basins.

1:35 – 1:50 Executive Director Address- Amber Weber, DARCA Executive Director

1:55 – 2:10 Introduction of Board and Welcome- Amber Weber, DARCA Executive Director 

The Board of Directors will get their time in the spotlight as each is highlighted about their water career and their reason why for being a part of DARCA. 

2:15 – 2:45 Alternative Valuation Method and Pilot Conservation Easement Projects- Lee Hancock, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District

2:50 – 2:55 Sponsor Spotlight- Gallagher Global Brokerage

3:00 – 3:10 Break

3:15 – 3:45 Valuing Our Water for ATMs- Bill McKee, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

As more of our water is being moved around to various uses and locations, placing a value on water is increasingly important and difficult. Bill will lead us through his thought process on the variants to valuing something that is invaluable to most of us.

3:50 – 4:20 Source Water Protection Methods- Elizabeth Carter, Aurora Water

4:25 – 4:35 Sponsor Spotlight- Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District

4:40 – 5:10 Agriculture Survey- Aaron Hrozencik, USDA-Economic Research Service

5:15 – 5:25 Closing Remarks and commercial for the evening- Kirk Russell

6:00 – 8:00 Water to Wine Event- located in ballroom: 

We will begin our program with local experts speaking to water in orchards and the wine making process and will get to taste a bit of Palisade while we are at it. A live(ly) auction will ensue with while we munch on appetizers, visit the cash bar, and network with friends. Proceeds will go to a scholarship for students and other individuals to come to the DARCA conference the following year.  

Friday, March 6, 2020

7:00 – 8:00 Breakfast in the Tapestry Lounge

7:30 – 8:15 National/State Production Output and Past and Future Weather Update- Tom Lipetsky, Colorado Department of Agriculture and Russ Schumacher, Colorado Climatologist

2019 was a rollercoaster year. Parts of the nation and state experienced weather systems which devastated crops, impacted daily life, and influenced 2020’s growing season. In this informative session, weather will be paired with production of both state and nation an what can be expected in 2020 for each.

8:20 – 8:50 Hemp and the Value of Our Water- Phillip Chavez, Diamond A Farms

Have you noticed that hemp is everywhere now? There has, seemingly overnight, been a spike in planting, harvesting, and selling of hemp. As does every crop, hemp has impacted our water. Listen in as Phillip takes us through the life of a hemp grower and that impact on water. 

8:55 – 9:05 Sponsor Spotlight- Colorado Water Conservation Board

9:10 – 9:15 Break

9:20 – 11:00 Water Use Across the State- Jack Goble, Arkansas Basin; Cleave Simpson, Rio Grande Basin; Jim Pokrandt, Colorado Basin; Others to be confirmed 

Ground water, surface water, aquifer type, irrigation methods- all of these things, and more, vary by basin. When a water user lives and touches the water in one basin other parts of the state seem far away or even nonexistent. It can be helpful to know what our neighbors are going through when they talk about their water. In this session, basin experts will discuss the basics of water in their basin describing water use, distribution, management, application methods, challenges, and successes. 

11:05 – 11:10 Speaker Spotlight- Applegate

11:15 – 11:55 Technology and Water- Can They Work Together?- Brian McPherson, Colorado Water Conservation Board and Chuck Adams, 1Up Aerial Drone Services

We’ve heard time and time again that technology does not mix with water. Brian and Chuck will tell you they are wrong- sort of. Technology can be a friend in the water business as the Colorado Decision Support System and drones are both incredible tools that can be used in the water industry by water professionals and users alike. 

12:00 – 12:10 Break

12:10 – 12:45 Lunch and Networking 

12:50 – 12:55 Speaker Spotlight- J-U-B

1:00 – 2:00 The Value of our Ag, Municipal, Environmental/Recreational Water and Partnerships- Rebekah Barrington- Ruby Ranch HOA, Rick Kienitz- Aurora Water, David Graf- Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Phil Bertrand- Grande Valley Irrigation Company

With increasing demand and decreasing supply, how do we satisfy everyone’s needs? How do all of the different types of water users play nicely on the water playground? In this session, representatives from a municipality, agriculture, environment/recreation, and HOA will come together to talk about challenges and successes while making the end user a priority.

2:05 – 2:30 Legislative Update- Chane Polo, Colorado Water Congress

Many water bills have passed over the desks of senators and representatives and Chane will outline those of importance to water users while also describing the purpose of the Colorado Water Congress.

2:35 – 3:05 Colorado 811 Affects Us All- Sanatam Khalsa, 811 Services

The One Call Law went through legislation and protects citizens and crews who are digging near utilities. At first glance, this does not seem to apply to water users, but it does. Several ditch companies have been learning about the legislation and process for the better part of a year while others are unaware of the law. This session will outline the law, the process to follow, and resources to help. 

3:10 – 3:20 Break

3:25 – 3:55 Is Stream Management Planning Important for Agriculture?- Greg Peterson, Colorado Ag Water Alliance; Emma Reesor, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project; Nicole Seltzer, River Network; Tom Alvey, Rogers Mesa Fruit Co.

4:00 – 4:10 Sponsor Spotlight- SGM

4:15 – 4:45 Raffle, Friend of DARCA award, and Closing Remarks- Mannie Colon and Amber Weber

5:00 – 7:00 Event: Dinner and Distillery tour- by RSVP only!

A great location to witness the local partnerships between the crop growers and the distillery while walking through the distillery, tasting the spirits, and grabbing dinner with friends. Please wear close toed shoes and bring $12 for your tasting and glass.



  • Conference Only- MEMBER

    Does not include any tours.

    Sale ended
  • Conference only- NON MEMBER

    Does not include any tours.

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  • Conference with Tour- MEMBER

    Includes a tour of the irrigation systems in/near Palisade.

    Sale ended
  • Distillery Tour

    Tour the Palisade Distillery, Peach Street Distillers on night two of the conference. Includes a tour, tasting, and glass. Please wear close-toe shoes.

    Sale ended
  • Conference and Tour- NONMEMBER

    Includes a tour of the irrigation systems in/near Palisade.

    Sale ended



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