Why Water Quality Matters
Understanding water quality in our lakes, reservoirs and rivers is critically important. Degraded water quality can affect aquatic habitat and make it unfit to support healthy fish populations. Monitoring the quality of source water supplies is essential to ensure that our drinking water is safe to use. In Colorado, we also rely heavily on our lakes, reservoirs and rivers for recreation. Any loss of water quality can pose a hazard.
Northern Water, in partnership with many governmental, nonprofit and private groups, carries out extensive monitoring on both sides of the Continental Divide to assess water quality and to understand what affects it and how it can be remediated when concerns arise. Some of the monitoring programs span the entire Colorado-Big Thompson and Windy Gap projects, while other programs are more site-specific and focused on localized water quality concerns.
Long-term and on-going water quality monitoring is used to:
- Identify changes in water quality spatially and over time;
- Assess compliance with federal and state regulations;
- Provide context in the event of natural disasters like wildfires, floods or a spill that can drastically impact watersheds and alter water quality;
- Evaluate possible changes in water quality associated with new water projects such as the Chimney Hollow Reservoir Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project; and
- Support modeling efforts and detailed studies and assessments.