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Aquifers of the Denver Basin, Colorado

Mountain Geologist

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Abstract

Development of the Denver Basin for water supply has been ongoing since the late 1800s. The Denver Basin aquifer system consists of the water-yielding strata of Tertiary and Cretaceous sedimentary rocks within four overlying formations. The four statutory aquifers contained in these formations are named the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills. For water rights administrative purposes, the outcrop/subcrop of the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer defines the margins of the Basin. Initial estimates of the total recoverable groundwater reserves in storage, under this 6700-mi2 area, were 295 million acre-ft. Recent geologic evidence indicates that the aquifers are very heterogeneous and their composition varies significantly with distance from the source area of the sediments. As a result, available recoverable reserves may be one-third less than previously estimated. There is no legal protection for pressure levels in the aquifer, and water managers are becoming increasingly concerned about the rapid water level declines (30 ft/yr). Approximately 33,700 wells of record have been completed in the sedimentary rock aquifers of the Denver Basin for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and domestic uses.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Aquifers of the Denver Basin, Colorado
Series title:
Mountain Geologist
Volume
41
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
145
Last page:
152
Number of Pages:
8