The South Platte Basin

Facts about the South Platte Basin

  • The Basin is a key economic driver in the state.
  • Seven of the top ten agricultural producing counties in Colorado are in the South Platte Basin.
  • It is home to the Denver Metropolitan area and other growing communities like Loveland, Greeley, and Fort Collins which together account for over half of the state’s economic activity!
  • The Basin’s economy is also enhanced by environmental and recreational tourism and opportunities including, skiing, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing and hunting.
  • The Basin is also home to the State’s most-visited state parks and the eastern half of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Water management challenges in the basin


Strong competition for water and it’s unclear how much of that competition is for the same supplies.


Colorado’s most diverse urbanized and industrialized basin, yet agriculture is still a dominant water user.


Protecting Colorado’s aquatic and riparian environments is important for overall watershed health and Colorado’s economy.


Recreation on and around Colorado’s water ways is of importance to Colorado’s economy and Coloradoan’s quality of life.

Urban Landscaping

Maintaining the urban, rural and recreational landscape is very important to the economy and the overall quality of Colorado life.

Water Rights

Transfers of agricultural water rights to M&I use will continue to be a significant option for meeting future needs.

Water Storage

Lack of major new storage in last 20 years leading to a reliance on non-renewable groundwater & other strategies.

Links to more information

South Platte Storage Study – RFP (September 9, 2016)
HB16-1256 South Platte Water Storage Study legislation
Appendix G – TM SP Basin Surface Water Availability Analysis
Point Flow Spreadsheet (Excel) 1/16/15 (right click and use “Save As” to access)

Printable version of map below