Learn about the water beneath us

Brief by Central Staff

Water – June 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Since the surface waters of Colorado are already spoken for — and often even over-appropriated — the focus in the search for more water has turned downward to groundwater.

That’s a complex realm of tributary and non-tributary aquifers and confined and unconfined basins, along with the usual Colorado water concerns of priority and adjudication.

To improve public understanding, in 2003 the Colorado Geological Survey compiled and published The Ground Water Atlas of Colorado, which costs $30.

But if you just need an overview, a synopsis of the atlas is available on-line at http://geosurvey.state.co.us.wateratlas. It’s heavy on informative graphics, so a broadband connection is almost a necessity.

It contains introductory chapters on our state’s groundwater resources, as well as specific discussions for each of the state’s major aquifers, like the Closed Basin in the San Luis Valley. The book had seven chapters, and the website offers three or four pages from each chapter. It also has a full glossary, and high-resolution graphic files can be downloaded.

Groundwater will grow in importance as Colorado’s population and water demands grow, and this is a good place to start learning more about what might be beneath our feet.