Shallow ground water in areas of increasing urban development within the Upper Colorado River Basin was sampled for inorganic and organic constituents to characterize water-quality conditions and to identify potential anthropogenic effects resulting from development. In 1997, 25 shallow monitoring wells were installed and sampled in five areas of urban development in Eagle, Grand, Gunnison, and Summit Counties, Colorado. The results of this study indicate that the shallow ground water in the study area is suitable for most uses. Nonparametric statistical methods showed that constituents and parameters measured in the shallow wells were often significantly different between the five developing urban areas. Radon concentrations exceeded the proposed USEPA maximum contaminant level at all sites. The presence of nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds indicate anthropogenic activities are affecting the shallow ground-water quality in the study area. Nitrate as N concentrations greater than 2.0 mg/L were observed in ground water recharged between the 1980s and 1990s. Low concentrations of methylene blue active substances were detected at a few sites. Total coliform bacteria were detected at ten sites; however, E. coli was not detected. Continued monitoring is needed to assess the effects of increasing urban development on the shallow ground-water quality in the study area.