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Alt. Water Transfers

Cover HW Fall 2017

Water sharing and banking, coined "alternative transfer methods" or ATMs, could provide flexibility for stretched water supplies —but not without marked challenges. Read the Fall 2017 issue of Headwaters magazine and explore options to:

  • keep water in farming
  • help municipalities plan ahead
  • share between ag and environmental uses
  • bank water on the Colorado River

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Colorado river that could become the state's second wild and scenic protect river—Deep Creek:

Deep Creek 5 web

Water Education Colorado

Cooperation vs. Competition

Headwaters Cover

This issue of Headwaters magazine chronicles how Colorado has entered into the most comprehensive and public dialogue ever attempted about the state's water future. Citizen roundtables are reaching across hydrologic divides to address questions which have often resulted in division rather than agreement.

Read the articles in text format below, or flip through the magazine online.



Headwaters Beyond the Printed Page

Water Education Colorado goes beyond printed material to help our readers meet and understand the views of IBCC and Basin Roundtable members.

VOICES OF THE IBCC—staff member Kristin Maharg visited with IBCC members in March 2009 to discuss their thoughts on a vision for Colorado's water future, new water supply strategies and the Colorado River compact. Listen to audio selections from these interviews here.

FACES OF THE IBCCAt the March 2009 Interbasin Compact Committee meeting, photographer Kevin Moloney asked participants to create a self-portrait using a remote camera release. We've posted a selection of these images, along with quotes from the magazine.

Rio Grande Basin

by Laurie J. Schmidt

Take a valley surrounded by extensive wilderness and situated between two imposing mountain ranges. Add a small population of about 50,000 people and an economy based almost entirely on agriculture. Then throw in an atypical aquifer system and a major river whose water is partially obligated to users hundreds of miles away. This is the Rio Grande Basin, endowed both with pastoral beauty and a unique set of water issues.

Read more: Rio Grande Basin

North Platte Basin Roundtable

By Jayla Poppleton

From the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, the North Platte River flows down the Medicine Bow Mountains, through the meadows of North Park and to the Wyoming border, where it exits Colorado through Northgate Canyon. The elevation in the North Park valley never drops below 8,000 feet. At that altitude, the growing season is a mere 60 days, and the agricultural sector consists of growing high-meadow hay and cattle ranching. The largest town in the basin is Walden, with a population of just over 700 people.

Read more: North Platte Basin Roundtable

Metro Roundtable

By Jayla Poppleton

The Metro Roundtable was carved from the South Platte Basin because of its unique demographic and water uses. Anchored by the Mile High City, the metro area includes Golden to the west, Parker to the south, Aurora to the east and Thornton to the north, as well as many others in-between.

Read more: Metro Roundtable

Gunnison Basin Roundtable

By Jayla Poppleton


The Gunnison River is the fifth largest tributary to the Colorado River. It joins the Colorado at Grand Junction, nearly matching the mainstem in volume. During its 180-mile descent, it drops most sharply through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a gorge so narrow that sunlight barely kisses its shadowy walls.

Read more: Gunnison Basin Roundtable

Colorado Basin Roundtable

By Jayla Poppleton


The mainstem of the Colorado River flows from its headwaters in Summit and Grand Counties down through the Grand Valley and across the Utah state line. The Colorado Basin Roundtable's concerns include protecting water in the 9,830 square-mile basin for in-basin supplies, determining how much water will be necessary to preserve environmental and recreational values, and providing for a growing population and development in the energy sector while sustaining agriculture as a viable industry.

Read more: Colorado Basin Roundtable

Arkansas Basin Roundtable

The Arkansas River flows from 14,000-foot peaks near Leadville to the plains along the Kansas border before leaving the state to continue its lengthy trip to the Mississippi. Its watershed is the largest in Colorado, covering more than one fourth of the state.

Read more: Arkansas Basin Roundtable

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