One of the most compelling issues in Colorado today is the sustainability of its water supplies. Colorado’s exponential growth rate and continued popularity has focused attention on the natural resources required to sustain its wildlife, communities, and businesses. Demands on Colorado’s water supply run the gamut from domestic and agricultural to provisions for recreational and wildlife uses.
Recreation has recently become a recognized beneficial use of a water right.
With its ready access and storage capability, surface water has historically been and continues to provide the bulk of Colorado’s water supply. Over-appropriation of this resource, however, combined with increased urban demands and a lack of suitable or acceptable future storage reservoir sites, has focused attention on ground-water resources. The use of ground water in Colorado for public supply and for domestic and industrial purposes dates to before 1900. Ground-water resources currently supply approximately 18 percent of the state’s needs and ground-water development is continuing at a fast pace.