Hydrologic assessment of groundwater resources in a foothills watershed in Jefferson County, Colorado

Science Center Objects

Water quantity, water-quality, and growth issues are of concern to Jefferson County, Colorado, officials who must balance the needs of current (2002) residents and requests for future development with protection and allocation of available water resources.

The current status of groundwater resources in the mountainous parts of Jefferson County must be determined as a basis for developing a decision-making tool to be used by the planning and zoning department in their efforts to allow continued development without undesirable effects to the water resource. An understanding of water resources is necessary to make informed management decisions. 

The pilot study in the Turkey Creek watershed is the foundation for future water resource monitoring in mountainous parts of Jefferson County. A water budget and fractured-bedrock ground-water model, PrecipitationRunoff Modeling System (PRMS), along with continuous monitoring of surface-water discharge, water-table fluctuations, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and water-quality constituents will help answer questions regarding land development and its effect on water resources in Jefferson County. The methods developed in this pilot study may be used to evaluate water resources in other fractured rock aquifers in Jefferson County, or in other mountainous areas of Colorado.


  1. Describe the current understanding of groundwater resources in the Turkey Creek watershed.
  2. Describe the occurrence and distribution of water-quality constituents in groundwater and surface water in the Turkey Creek watershed.
  3. Provide a water balance for the Turkey Creek watershed using the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS).
  4. Provide an approach to evaluate the effects of development on the quantity and quality of ground water in the Turkey Creek watershed.