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Colorado River

Basin Overview

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Colorado Water Divisions

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Sources: Colorado Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer; Colorado Water Conservation Board; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Geological Survey. Map by Thomas Dickinson.

SUMMIT

Dillon Res

Division 1: South Platte and Republican River Basins

Division 6: Yampa, White and North Platte River Basins

Snake River

Frisco

E

Greeley

Longmont Boulder

Denver Aurora

Division 5: Colorado River Mainstem Basin

Breckenridge

Grand Junction

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Colorado Springs

Delta

Division 4: Gunnison River Basin

Fountain

Montrose

Canon City

*

Pueblo

Division 7: Dolores and San Juan River Basins

Division 2: Arkansas River Basin

Division 3: Rio Grande River Basin

Colorado Historical Average Annual Stream Flows

Major River

Continental Divide

Major Tributary

Water Tunnel or other trans-basin diversion structure

383,500

308,200 107,200 1,509,000 526,300

N. Platte Yampa

6

White

South Platte

5

1

BLUE EAGLE

4,440,000 Colorado

437,000

30,580

26,080

4

Arkansas

3

2

154,800

HUERFANO

Rio Grande McELMO

Animas 7 & Florida

San Juan

660,100 443,900

CONEJOS

320,200

Consumptive use—The amount of water withdrawn that is transpired by plants, incorporated into products or crops, consumed by humans or livestock, lost to evaporation or otherwise removed from the immediate water environment. Cubic foot per second (cfs)—A streamflow measurement equal to a volume of water one foot high and one foot wide flowing a distance of one foot in one second. One “cfs” is equal to 7.48 gallons of water flowing each second. Nonconsumptive use—A beneficial use of water that does not require removing it from the immediate water environment; this usually applies to a recreational or environmental use. Return flows—That water which, after application to a beneficial use, returns to the stream system either on the surface or as groundwater.

ROARING FORK

1,839,000 Gunnison

Delores

NORTH FORK REPUBLICAN

Acre foot—The volume of water required to cover one acre of land (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot—equal to 325,851 gallons or 1,233 cubic meters. Call—Usually a written document filed with the division engineer stating that a water right holder is not receiving all of the water they are entitled to by decree and requesting that the division engineer shut down (curtail) all upstream water rights junior to them until their senior right is satisfied.

Fort Collins Loveland

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The Colorado River Basin encompasses approximately 9,830 square miles. The largest cities are Grand Junction (population 45,669) and Glenwood Springs (population 8,301). Elevations in the basin range from greater than 13,000 feet in the headwater areas to about 4,300 feet where the Colorado River exits the state. The basin’s mountainous headwaters gradually give way to a series of canyons and gentler terrain as the river follows along the Interstate 70 corridor toward the Grand Mesa, Grand Junction and the Utah border. A substantial portion of the basin is composed of federally-owned land. Rangeland and forest are the predominant land uses in the Upper Colorado Basin (about 85 percent). Forested land is present throughout many parts of the basin. Wilderness, livestock grazing, recreation and timber harvest are the predominant use of federal lands. Active and inactive mines can be found in the basin. Coal mining once occurred in the central portion of the Roaring Fork Valley and continues in the lower Colorado Valley.

Total Leaving Colorado

Prepared by the Colorado Division of Water Resources Hydrographic Branch (2011 Revision). All values in acre feet (AF)

9,997,000 AF

Runoff—Precipitation, snowmelt or irrigation water that appears in uncontrolled surface streams, rivers, drains or sewers. Transbasin or transmountain diversion—A diversion of water from its natural drainage basin into another drainage basin, typically from the West Slope to the East Slope of Colorado by means of tunnels or canals across the Continental Divide.

Headwaters | Summer 2011

5

Profile for Water Education Colorado

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Headwaters Summer 2011: The Mighty Colorado  

As the Colorado River flows through its seven-state, canyon carving traverse, it is tapped and retapped-- supporting acres of irrigated agri...

Profile for cfwe