Storage Alternatives

Water storage is a crucial feature of Colorado’s water supply systems. Adequate water storage is necessary to meet peak summer water demands and for extended drought periods. The need for additional water storage capacity in Colorado was highlighted by the 2000-2004 drought period when many surface reservoirs were nearly empty.

Surface-water reservoirs are the mainstay for water storage in Colorado – but there is another option that can augment our current water storage capabilities. That alternative is to store water underground in aquifers.

The Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) has completed an analysis of storing water underground through “artificial recharge.” Artificial recharge is defined as any engineered system designed to introduce water to, and store water in, underlying aquifers. The study is titled Artificial Recharge of Ground Water in Colorado: A Statewide Analysis (Environmental Geology Series 13). The various geological and technical aspects of artificial recharge in Colorado were researched and compiled in this study.

For more information, read the executive summary. The publication can be ordered from the Colorado Geological Survey at 303-384-2655 (toll-free at 800-945-0451) or in the online bookstore.

CGS has published two online reports on the potential for aquifer recharge in two small alluvial aquifers: Upper Black Squirrel in El Paso County and Lost Creek in Adams and Weld Counties.