A hydrologic analysis of the proposed Badger-Beaver Creeks artificial-recharge project in Morgan County, Colo., was made with the aid of three digital computer models: A canal-distribution model, a ground-water flow model, and a stream-aquifer model. Statistical summaries of probable diversions from the South Platte River based on a 27-year period of historical flows indicate that an average-annual diversion of 96,000 acre-feet and a median-annual diversion of 43,000 acre-feet would be available. Diversions would sustain water in ponds for waterfowl habitat for an average of about five months per year, with a miximum pond surface area of about 300 acres with the median diversions and a maximum pond surface area of about 1,250 acres at least one-half of the years with the historic diversions. If the annual diversion were 43,000 acre-feet, recharge to the two alluvial aquifers would raise water levels sufficiently to create flowing streams in the channels of Beaver and Badger Creeks while allowing an increase in current ground-water pumping. The only area of significant waterlogging would be along the proposed delivery canal on the west edge of Badger Creek valley. If the total water available were diverted, the aquifer system could not transmit the water fast enough to the irrigation areas to avoid considerable waterlogging in the recharge areas. The impact of the proposed project on the South Platte River basin would be minimal once the ground-water system attained steady-state conditions, but that may take decades with a uniform diversion of the 43,000 acre-feet annually.
Hydrologic analysis of the proposed Badger-Beaver Creeks artificial-recharge project: Morgan County, Colorado