Science in the Colorado River Basin

Science Center Objects

The Colorado River is one of the longest rivers in the Western United States. It begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and flows southwestward until it reaches Mexico where it becomes a small stream or dry riverbed. The Colorado River forms the border between southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. In Nevada, Hoover Dam and Davis Dam control the flow of the river and create two reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Hoover Dam and Davis Dam both generate hydroelectric power for Nevada and neighboring states.

Colorado River Basin map

Map of the Colorado River Basin. (Public domain.)

Use of water from the Colorado River is carefully controlled by the Colorado River Compact, a 1922 agreement which specifies the allocation of water rights between Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada. In addition to the Colorado River Compact, several other laws, contracts, and guidelines define the "Law of the River."

The Colorado River Basin (Region 13) covers just over 2,500 square miles in southern Nevada and includes the following hydrographic areas: Dry Valley, Rose Valley, Eagle Valley, Spring Valley, patterson Valley, panaca Valley, Clover Valley, Lower Meadow Valley Wash, Kane Springs Valley, White RIver Valley, Pahroc Valley, Pahranagat Valley, Coyote Springs Valley, Three Lakes Valley, Las Vegas Valley, Colorado River Valley, Piute Valley, Black Mountains Area, Garnet Valley, Hidden Valley, California Wash, Muddy River Springs Area, Lower Moapa Valley, Tule Desert, Virgin River Valley, Gold Butte Area, and Greasewood Area.

The Muddy River and Virgin River also are part of the Colorado River Basin.

USGS Nevada Water Science Center maintains several streamflow gages on the Colorado River.


Real-Time Streamflow :: Daily Values :: Peak-Flow :: Water Quality



Evaluation of the Migration of Palliative Chemicals Used for Dust Abatement, Clark County, Nevada

Evaporation from Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, Lower Colorado River Basin, Nevada and Arizona

Measurements of Stream Discharge and Analysis of Surface Water/Groundwater Interactions in Las Vegas Wash, Las Vegas, NV

Monitoring Hydrogeologic Conditions in the Regional Carbonate Aquifer, Clark County, Nevada



Not all completed studies are listed here. If you would like additional information about completed studies, please email the NVWSC at GS-W-NVpublic-info@ 

Groundwater Discharge by Evapotranspiration from Areas of Spring-Fed Riparian Vegetation, Stump Spring and Hiko Springs, Nev.

Water Quality of Springs in the Spring Mountains

Delineation of Vegetation Using Satellite Imagery, Clark County