Where we get our water
Water on the Front Range — where the population is predicted to double by 2050 — is scarce, with many municipalities casting a longing gaze across the continental divide to the Colorado River, where htey hope to pull even more water.
But the city of Boulder is both lucky and bold. Boulder owns the Silver Lake watershed, and the shrinking Arapaho Glacier that lies at its head. (Which is really more like a permanent snow field.) And the city also has senior water rights on Middle Boulder Creek. Still, Boulder gets some water from the Colorado after it’s been pumped through a tunnel from Grand County.
Here’s how Boulder’s water supply breaks down:
Barker Reservoir on Middle Boulder Creek – 40 percent
Silver Lake/Lakewood Watershed on North Boulder Creek – 40 percent
Boulder Reservoir, which is filled by Colorado River water – 20 percent
The other towns in Boulder County tend to rely much more heavily on the Colorado River, and many do not have plans for how to meet water demand in the coming decades.
- Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network’s water supply page
- City of Boulder’s water resource page
- Map of Boulder’s water supply
- City of Longmont’s water resource page