Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

The Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

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Colorado has been dubbed “The Mother of Rivers”.
Interstate compacts require the State to release a specified number of acre feet water out of the state in rivers.
What remains is used for agricultural, municipal, and industrial purposes.

Colorado water law is governed by the “Doctrine of Prior Appropriation”. Water is property of the State and rights to that water can be bought, sold and leased. Merely having a ditch, creek, river or pond on your property does not guarantee the right to use it. Water is often the driving force of all economies in the West and thus is bound by legal restrictions.

While agricultural uses account for 85% of the water appropriations in Colorado, the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) shows a shortfall of water in the South Platte Basin with projected population growth and future development within that water basin. Ag water will likely be sought after for providing that water for municipal and industrial uses.

Irrigation efficiency is important for this reason and for many other positive impacts on the crop health and the environment. Boulder County sees on average 14 inches on the plains to 30 inches on the Continental Divide (precip measured in liquid form). Drought years will show less than average precipitation.

State Resources Irrigation Resources
Regional Resources Drought
Domestic Resources – Includes drinking water quality tool Water and Climate Monitoring



Colorado Water Resources Research Institute

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

Colorado Division of Water Resources

Colorado Water Conservation Board

CSU Extension Water Resources Page

CoAgMet Crop Water Use and ET Access

DARCA – Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance


Northern Colorado Water Conservation District – online weather stations for local data

St. Vrain Water and Left Hand Water Conservancy District

Domestic Use

CSU Water Quality Interpretation Tool

CSU Domestic Use Factsheets – includes yard and garden irrigation

Irrigation Resources

Factsheet: Irrigation Ditches and Their Operation

CSU Irrigation Factsheets

New Mexico State University Irrigation Factsheets

Irrigation Vendors (no endorsements implied, provided for resources only)

CPS Distributors – various Colorado Front Range locations

Schumacher Irrigation – Nebraska

Robert Marvel – Pennsylvania

Valley – various Colorado dealers

Colorado State Irrigation – Rocky Ford, CO

Rocky Mountain Supply – various Colorado Front Range locations

Quality Well and Pump – La Salle, CO

Larson Irrigation – Johnstown, CO


CSU Drought Website

US Drought Monitor

Water and Climate Monitoring

Colorado Climate Center

Western Water Assessment

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Center for Atmospheric Research