Flood Database for Colorado

Science Center Objects

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation, created a Web-based geodatabase for information on floods from 1867 through water year 2015 and information on paleofloods occurring in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years.  The geodatabase was created using Environmental Systems Research Institute ArcGIS JavaScript Application Programing Interface. Engineers, scientists, and water-resource managers will be able to use these data for floodplain regulation, dam-safety, infrastructure design, and other uses. The Colorado Flood Database has been recently updated through water 2015 and now includes flood information for 6,886 events at 1,624 sites throughout Colorado.

The accuracy of flood-frequency estimates can be greatly improved when historical flood information is included with systematically collected flood data (Interagency Committee on Water Data, 1982).  Although many reports contain flood information for streams in Colorado, there is no centralized repository for this information, making it difficult to access flood data.  Prior to the completion the Web-based flood database, much of the historical flood information for Colorado was stored in numerous published and unpublished reports and files in local, State, and Federal government agencies and the offices of engineering firms and universities.  Although considerable research has been conducted using historical flood information in flood-frequency analyses, this information is often underutilized because of the uniqueness of each site and a lack of knowledge of each site’s location.  Having an easy-to-use, Web-based geodatabase of historical flood and paleoflood information with links to sources of flood data allows engineers and water-resource managers to fully use these data leading to improved flood-frequency estimates of the largest floods in Colorado.

 Flood Database interactive map (Updated through water year 2015)


  1. To develop a Web-based geodatabase accessible using an Environmental Systems Research Institute ArcGIS map interface for flood information that will facilitate easier access to this information for the compilation of flood data and result in improved flood frequency estimates in Colorado;
  2. To include the following data sources of flood information: indirect discharge measurements stored in U.S. Geological Survey offices, floods from indirect discharge measurements referenced in U.S. Geological Survey reports, paleoflood studies from peer-reviewed journal articles, and the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System peak-streamflow database.