2016 NGWA Groundwater Summit

South Platte River Groundwater Monitoring Network: Providing Data to Benefit Water Supply Management and the Public

Monday, April 25, 2016: 11:20 a.m.
Confluence Ballroom B (The Westin Denver Downtown)
Kevin Donegan , Hydrogeological Services Group, Colorado Division of Water Resources
Matthew Sares , Hydrogeological Services Group, Colorado Division of Water Resources

The Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR) operates a groundwater-monitoring network designed to provide geographic, hydrogeologic and temporal coverage of water levels within the South Platte River alluvial aquifer.  The network was codified in the Colorado Revised Statutes in 2015 in response to recommendations from a study of the aquifer conducted by the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University.  That study was initiated in response to several groundwater issues in the South Platte basin including;  (1) the curtailment of irrigation wells not included in an augmentation plan, (2) increased recharge for the purposes of river augmentation and (3) properties negatively impacted by high (shallow) groundwater levels.

The existing network of 115 wells will be expanded to include additional wells measured by DWR along with wells in other monitoring networks operated by cooperating entities.  Ideally, wells to be added to the network will have long and uninterrupted periods of record, be located in areas that exhibit long-term trends resulting from human activities as well as short-term responses to those activities, and in areas relatively free of land use, surface-water diversion or artificial recharge.

The purpose of the monitoring network is to provide accurate groundwater-level data to be used in scientific investigations, to increase the public’s understanding and access to groundwater data, and to assist in water use and supply planning.  The data identify ambient groundwater conditions and provide for evaluation of the effects of natural and anthropogenic stresses, including climate-related stresses to the aquifer.  The South Platte River and its alluvial aquifer play critical roles in the domestic, agricultural, industrial and recreational water-supply businesses of Colorado.  An effective and efficient groundwater monitoring program will be an essential component for improved water-resource management of the South Platte River alluvial aquifer.

Kevin Donegan, Hydrogeological Services Group, Colorado Division of Water Resources
Kevin Donegan is Senior Hydrogeologist with the Colorado Division of Water Resources. His responsibilities include researching hydrogeologic conditions in aquifers within Colorado, advising the State Engineer of aspects of hydrogeology pertinent to water rights, well permits and nontributary petitions, and acting as staff for the State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors.

Matthew Sares, Hydrogeological Services Group, Colorado Division of Water Resources
Matt Sares is the Manager of the Hydrogeologic Services Branch at the Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR). In this capacity he addresses the geological and hydrogeological information needs of DWR to ensure wise regulatory decisions pertaining to groundwater. One of the subject areas that the Hydrogeological Services Branch addresses is the nature of groundwater movement in aquifers and the subsurface in general. This information is used in estimating stream depletions and the timing of stream depletions caused by well pumping for Nontributary Determinations and Substitute Water Supply Plans. Previously, he spent 20 years with the Colorado Geological Survey, ultimately serving as its Deputy Director. Sares has a graduate degree in hydrogeology from the Colorado School of Mines. Passive Removal of Chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds