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 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 EG-13 Artificial Recharge of Ground Water in Colorado: A Statewide Analysis (Environmental Geology Series EG-13) and is available on our bookstore. The various geological and technical aspects of artificial recharge in Colorado were researched and compiled in this study. See the executive summary for more information.

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