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Public Lands

HW Winter2018 FINAL2cover

Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

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 connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Cheesman Dam Celebrates 100 Years

DENVER—The oldest dam in the Denver Water system, Cheesman Dam, marked the beginning of Denver's growth into a Rocky Mountain urban center. When completed in 1905, the dam's 80,000 acre-feet of storage meant that a small town at the edge of the mountains could support nearly 100,000 people. In a sense, modern Denver was born.

Its design was state of the art for the period, and for a short time after completion it was the highest dam in the world. The American Society of Civil Engineers designated the dam a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1973.

Cheesman is a gravity dam, wedged in the South Platte River channel like a hightop shoe with its heel lodged upstream and its toe clamped into the downstream granite. Its strength and durability are enhanced by the curvature of the dam's upstream face like the arches that support a bridge. The weight of the water pushes the stones together rather than apart, creating a structure of enormous strength and durability.

Today, although Cheesman represents only 20 percent of Denver Water's storage capability, it remains key to the entire water system. More than 80 percent of the water moving through Denver's system is impacted by conditions at Cheesman. Upstream reservoirs Antero and Eleven Mile are accessed through Cheesman. Dillon Reservoir, the giant of the system which provides nearly 250,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water to Denver, also must deliver water through Roberts Tunnel to the South Platte River, where it mingles with East Slope water in Cheesman Reservoir.

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