Resolving a Groundwater Conflict in Colorado

by Leonard Rice, Leonard Rice Consulting Water, Engineers, United States,
Jon R. Ford, Leonard Rice Consulting Water, Engineers, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Critical Water Issues and Computer Applications


In 1985, the City of Lakewood, Colorado, submitted applications for permits to drill 20 wells in the Arapahoe Aquifer with the intent of appropriating 4300 acre-feet annually for eventual use in the City park and greenbelt system. The applications were reviewed by the State Engineer's Office, and several issues were identified. The State Engineer held in his Findings of Fact that Lakewood could only appropriate 3060 acre-feet annually. He also found that the Arapahoe Aquifer contained two sub-aquifers and that wells could only develop one sub-aquifer thereby doubling the number of wells that would have to be constructed to withdraw the water appropriated. The City used maps obtained from geologic analyses to demonstrate that the Arapahoe Aquifer was a single hydrologic system and to verify the volume of water available for appropriation. The expected outcome of negotiations with the State Engineer's Office is that the original appropriation will be adjudicated and that the Arapahoe Aquifer will not be subdivided. As a result the City will save the cost of drilling approximately 20 wells and obtain the right to produce 4300 acre-feet per year.

Subject Headings: Wells (water) | Groundwater | Dispute resolution | Water resources | Water rights | Offshore platforms | Municipal water | Parks | Colorado | United States

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