Elbert County Groundwater Network

Science Center Objects

Elbert County, Colorado relies heavily on nonrenewable groundwater from the Denver Basin aquifers for water supply.   Population growth in the county has placed increasing demands on groundwater resources, and future groundwater  withdrawals are expected to increase as the population continues to grow.  A detailed program to monitor groundwater  levels in the Denver Basin aquifers throughout the county is needed to assist the Elbert County Board of Commissioners  with making informed policy decisions about limited groundwater resources. 

This project will establish a well network for long-term monitoring of groundwater levels in the Denver Basin aquifers throughout Elbert County and to use the network to collect groundwater-level data for a minimum of 3  years.  Approximately 30 existing well sites throughout the county will be identified for the network and bi-monthly water- level measurements will be made through the end of 2012. In addition, approximately 15 sites, three within each district, will be equipped with vented pressure transducers and data loggers set to record water levels on a daily basis. 

Elbert County groundwater data collection history:

  • Historical water-level data collection for Denver Basin bedrock aquifers has been irregular, and water-level monitoring  efforts have decreased since the 1980s.  
  • The first comprehensive  measurements of water levels across the basin were made by the USGS from 1956 to 1963 and published by  McConaghy and others (1964).
  • A second comprehensive set of water-level data for the bedrock and alluvial aquifers  through 1981 was published by Major and others (1983).
  • Routine water-level measurements by the USGS continued through the 1980s, were incorporated into the Robson (1987) groundwater flow model, and are available through the  USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) database (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/).
  • The USGS NWIS data  were used for model calibration by recent USGS modeling efforts (Paschke, 2011).
  • A water-level monitoring network of  approximately 278 wells was established in the 1980s by the CDWR, and data from that network are published in annual  data reports. 
  • A compilation and bibliography of all available  water-level data for bedrock and alluvial aquifers through 2004 was published as part of the South Platte Decision Support System (SPDSS; Colorado Water Conservation Board, 2004, 2006).