The Metropolitan Denver Water Authority (MDWA) was established in 1985 as a political subdivision of the State of Colorado. It was the outgrowth of an exploratory committee convened in 1982 by the Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson County governments.

2011 Officers

Pat Fitzgerald, Platte Canyon W&S District, President
John Hendrick, Centennial W&S District, First Vice President
Steve Daldegan, Lakehurst W& District, Second Vice President
Elmer Dudden, Pleasant View W&S District, Treasurer
Bob Tonsing, Secretary and Executive Director

About the Authority's Funding

The Authority's administrative costs are covered by member dues. Special Projects are financed on a subscription basis when they are not part of the annual adopted budget. Typically not all of the Authority members take part in those projects, and sometime non-members are invited to subscribe on a fair share basis. Nine Special Projects have been facilitated the MDWA to date.


The Metropolitan Denver Water Authority (MDWA) founders decided that the Authority should not directly be a water provider, although that is authorized under State law.

Rather, its mission was and is to assist existing municipal water providers in meeting the expanding water needs of some of the Nation's fastest growing urban areas.

In its early years MDWA commissioned new water supply source and infrastructure engineering studies, retained financial advisors, and assisted in drafting Congressional bills to make those processes more workable for local governments and special districts. More recently the Authority's programs and projects have included the following past and present projects.

Past & Present Projects

Organizing and managing the 2001 Water for Millennium III conference, which was attended by 180 water-concerned leaders from across Colorado.

Organizing and managing the 2002 Colorado Water Convention. It drew more than 200 delegates from 74 associations, agricultural and domestic water districts, municipalities, counties, State government, labor unions and a variety of businesses.

Commissioning a scientific study titled "Drought Analysis of the Metropolitan Denver Water Supply," which utilizes ancient tree rings and observed stream flow in the East Slope and West Slope watersheds that provide most of Metro Denver's water supply. The study documents severe droughts, normal, and high-precipitation periods that have occurred since 1710 A.D.

Organizing and managing the 2007 Future Water Supply Sources Seminar. More that 220 business, government and water agency officials from Colorado, plus California and Wyoming, attended. The subtitle of the seminar was “Closing the 205,286,130,000-Gallon Shortfall.”

Ongoing and Future Possibilities

Managing the Metro Water Forum, a 18-year-old program in which business, civic and water community leaders get together over breakfast to hear presentations by prominent speakers on current and future water and environmental problems and policies in Colorado. The Forum sessions, which are held several times a year, are sponsored jointly by Denver Water and the MDWA. More the 30 Forum meetings have been held to date.

Providing headquarters facilities and management for the Nationwide Public Projects Coalition (NPPC), which seeks to restore balance to Federal regulatory powers, where extreme interpretations of environmental laws impede the ability of state and local governments to provide water, wastewater, storm water and highway infrastructure and services. The members, nearly all local governments, range from Alaska to Georgia and from California to New England. The Coalition takes part, usually in the form of amicus curiae briefs filed in federal court litigation, and in drafting and securing sponsors of Federal Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act reform legislation.

Remaining at the ready for one of its original missions — facilitating joint financing mechanisms for participants in major new water supply and storage facilities for the benefit of responsible growth in all sectors of the Denver Metro area. Political vagaries in Washington have impeded this mission, but MDWA leaders feel that ongoing population growth, coupled with lessons learned from drought, mandate prudent utilization of our water entitlements.