Water Quality Initiatives 

Understanding water quality in our lakes, reservoirs and rivers is critically important. Degraded water quality can affect aquatic habitat that can become unfit to support healthy fish populations. Monitoring the quality of source water supplies is also essential to ensure that our drinking water is safe to use. In Colorado, we also, rely heavily on our lakes, reservoirs, and rivers for recreation. Contamination of waters can pose serious public health hazards.

Northern Water carries out extensive monitoring on both sides of the Continental Divide to assess water quality and to understand what affects it and how it can be remediated when issues of concern arise. Long-term and on-going water quality monitoring is used to:

  • Identify changes in water quality spatially and over time
  • Assess compliance with federal and state regulations
  • Provide context in the event of natural disasters like wildfires, floods or a spill that can drastically impact watersheds and alter water quality
  • Evaluate possible changes in water quality associated with new water projects such as the Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project
  • Support modeling efforts and detailed studies and assessments

Northern Water’s water quality monitoring activities include several programs on both the East and West Slope of the Continental Divide. Some of the monitoring programs span the entire C-BT and Windy Gap projects, other programs are more site-specific and focused on localized water quality concerns.

Key Initiatives:

Three Lakes/Grand Lake Clarity

Northern Water is ..

Learning By Doing

Learning By Doing ...

Watershed and Forest Health


West Slope Water Quality
The West Slope water quality studies look at water quality concerns in the three lakes: Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Lake Granby. Learn more»
C-BT Headwaters Partnership
The devastation brought on by Northern Colorado wildfires led to the formation in 2012 of the C-BT Headwaters Partnership, which is pursuing efforts to restore forests and watersheds and protect water supplies. Learn more»
East Slope Water Quality
Two major East Slope water quality studies that Northern Water recently conducted are the Fern Lake (in Rocky Mountain National Park) Fire Water Quality Study and the Horsetooth Reservoir Water Quality Study.
 Learn more»