Drought Management in Northeastern Colorado

by Darell D. Zimbelman,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


The Northern Colorado Water District (the District) has established a set of policies and procedures and constructed a water storage and distribution system that allows for the effective and efficient transfer of water, on an annual rental basis or on apermanent basis, to meet changing demands or climatological conditions, including drought. In fact, the District was created and the Project designed during and following the drought of the 1930s. The District operates and maintains the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which captures runoff from the head waters of the Colorado River on the West Slope of the Rocky Mountains. The stored water Is then transferred to storage reservoirs on the East Slope of the mountains, for subsequent delivery to District allottees. The District delivers an annual average of 296 million cubic meters (240,000 acre-feet) to supplement the runoff of six East Slope drainages, namely the Cache la Poudre River, the Big Thompson River, the Little Thompson River, and St. Vram River, Left Hand Creek, and Boulder Creek. The amount of water delivered by the District is directly related to the anticipated runoff from the East Slope drainages, and in most years can offset the impact of below normal runoff. Approximately 30 percent of the deliveries are for municipal and Industrial uses, with the remainder being for agricultural uses.

Subject Headings: Droughts | Water shortage | Water storage | Rivers and streams | Water supply systems | Water management | Runoff | Slopes | Colorado | United States | Colorado River | Rocky Mountains

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