The Colorado Geological Survey conducts scientific studies of how geology affects and controls the water resources within Colorado. This includes the study of groundwater’s geologic framework and its occurrence, movement, and quality. We also investigate natural, “background” conditions of water quality, identifying the effects of water-rock interactions on surface-water and groundwater. CGS works with other agencies (such as the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Colorado Water Quality Control Division, the U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey) to help study and mitigate the effect of historic mining on water quality. Our hydrogeologists serve as technical advisors to the State’s nine Basin Roundtables under the InterBasin Compact Committee (IBCC).

Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande River (foreground) flowing toward the viewer. This water has 9.5 miles to flow before reaching New Mexico, and 1,250 more miles to go before it reaches its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Colorado Geological Survey is a research and data-gathering agency, not a regulatory agency. Divisions within the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formulate policy and regulate the use of water in Colorado. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) promotes the protection, conservation and development of Colorado’s water resources and minimizes the risk of flood damage. The Division of Water Resources (DWR) administers and enforces all surface and groundwater rights throughout the state of Colorado, issues well permits, approves construction and repair of dams, and enforces interstate water compacts.

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