Comprehensive Water-Quality Study for the Arkansas River Basin, Colorado

Science Center Objects

Changes in land and water use associated with population growth and agricultural practices within the Arkansas River Basin are likely to affect water-quality on a local and, possibly, a basin-wide scale. To manage the limited water resources in the basin most effectively it is important to understand the processes that affect water quality within the basin and how future changes in land and water use may affect these processes. Presently there is no basin-wide decision support system model in place to allow water managers to evaluate the affects of future changes in land and water use on water quality. This study will begin to lay the framework for a basin-wide decision support system model by summarizing existing water-quality data and identifying priority water-quality issues, gaps in existing data, and data and analytical tools needed to address priority water-quality issues.


  1. Determine critical stream reaches where stream-aquifer interactions have a pronounced effect on water quality, and
  2. determine the source areas for selected constituents. 
  3. For critical reaches, determine the dominant processes affecting selected constituents.
  4. develop methods and tools to quantitatively simulate the effects that changes in water uses/operations and land uses may have on water quality, and
  5. utilize the knowledge gained by these efforts to help resource managers identify solutions to improve water quality and minimize/mitigate potential adverse impacts that could result from changes in land- and water-use/operation. 

Evaluate hydrogeologic processes including effects of stream-aquifer interaction on elevated constituent loadings in surface water, particularly for selenium and uranium and focused on the Fountain Creek Valley from Pinon, Colorado, to the confluence of Fountain Creek with the Arkansas River at Pueblo, Colorado.