Colorado High Mountain Aquifer Study

by W. Martin Roche, US Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, CO, USA,
William J. Steele, US Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, CO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Forum '86: World Water Issues in Evolution


This paper describes the potential for formulating water projects in Colorado using the storage capability of high mountain glacial aquifers. Although a terminal moraine provides a natural dam for a glacial basin, it is not totally impervious. Water is constantly moving through and around it. Seasonal snowmelt provides a fresh water source and acts to flush the glacial aquifer. As a storage facility, these basins would capture water at a time of high flow and release water when the availability of a dependable water supply is in high demand downstream. Reduced evaporation losses and savings of capital cost for constructing surface storage reservoirs are two advantages of using glacial aquifers. By pumping these aquifers at strategic times, the storage could be integrated into existing and future water projects, to provide for future demands, and to firm-up project yields in water short years.

Subject Headings: Water demand | Mountains | Aquifers | Basins | Water storage | Storage facilities | Underground storage | Water resources | Colorado | United States

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