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Concepts of ground water recharge and well augmentation in northeastern Colorado




Smith, Stephen W., author
Barta, Rachel J., author
Magnuson, Donald O., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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In northeastern Colorado, severe drought plus recent state court rulings have caused new and increased pressures on water rights. The current drought has been analyzed and is now thought to be a 300-year event based on proxy data obtained from tree rings. The drought factor, dramatic regional growth, transference of water from agriculture to municipal, and the increasing price of water have all put water rights under new and increased pressures. Tributary wells in the South Platte River Basin, in particular, have been severely impacted because of recent State Supreme Court rulings. In response, several ditch and canal companies have implemented their own ground water recharge programs and well augmentation plans to replace out of priority depletions to the river caused by well pumping. The approaches that several canal companies have used in developing a long term strategy are described. Interestingly, the dynamics of ground water recharge and well augmentation programs also dovetail nicely with canal modernization strategies and SCADA. In particular, the efforts of the New Cache la Poudre Irrigating Company and the Union Ditch Company are described to include application for new junior water rights, implementation of ground water recharge programs, and filings of augmentation plans for member wells in their respective service areas.


Presented during the USCID water management conference held on October 13-16, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The theme of the conference was "Water rights and related water supply issues."

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