Basalt Water Conservancy District

Part of the Basalt Water Canservancy DistrictThe Basalt Water Conservancy District (BWCD) was created in 1963 for the purpose of conserving, developing and stabilizing water supplies for the benefit of users within the Roaring Fork Valley. Today the District operates a comprehensive water supply plan that provides thousands of Valley residents with dependable legal water supplies. The District’s water rights benefit users who purchase a contract by allowing them to continue to divert water at their well, spring or surface diversion in times of shortage when their use would otherwise be curtailed by an administrative water rights call. The District owns substantial domestic, municipal and agricultural water rights, and maintains several reservoir storage contracts with the US Bureau of Reclamation for the release of water from Ruedi and Green Mountain Reservoirs. Since 1982, Resource Engineering, Inc. (RESOURCE) has provided comprehensive technical services to facilitate implementation of the BWCD’s water supply plan.

A damWater Rights

RESOURCE helps the District maintain a legal water supply for current and future contractees. In order to protect new contractees, the District maintains a Substitute Water Supply Plan (SWSP) with the Office of the State Engineer. In order to maintain the SWSP in good standing RESOURCE submits an annual operating plan that identifies each contract, its quantity of water, point of diversion and diversion schedule to the State Engineer. Additionally, RESOURCE works in cooperation with the State Engineer to renew the SWSP every two years.

The Substitute Water Supply Plan is only a "temporary" legal water supply. One condition of the SWSP is that all contractees must ultimately be covered by a Plan for Augmentation decreed in Water Court. Historically, RESOURCE developed a “group” Plan for Augmentation every few years on behalf of certain contractees within the District service area. More recently, in Case No. 02CW077, RESOURCE assisted in filing an Application for Change of Water Rights and for Approval of Plan for Augmentation, Including Exchange. The purpose of Case No. 02CW077 is to establish a frame work within which new water users, who meet certain criteria, can be included directly into a decreed plan for augmentation that uses District water rights to replace out-of-priority stream depletions.

Water Supply Program Management

In addition to its water rights work on behalf of the District, RESOURCE manages all of the District’s contractees. This includes maintenance of an extensive database that identifies each contractee, their quantity of water, point of diversion and diversion schedule. It also records the contractees actual annual water use. This information is used in annual reporting for the State Engineer and to assess the appropriate contract fees to all users.

WaterwaysTechnical Investigations

RESOURCE has also conducted hydrologic and engineering investigations necessary to help the BWCD implement and expand their water supply program. This has included conducting operational analyses, feasibility studies and firm yield studies for proposed and existing Reservoirs in the Roaring Fork Valley. Additionally, RESOURCE has worked with the District to conduct a long-term groundwater monitoring program. This program monitors the influences of development on the Missouri Heights aquifer, near Carbondale, Colorado.

Geographic Information Systems Database

RESOURCE maintains a geographic information systems (GIS) database on behalf of the District. The database provides critical information like the location of District contractees, the District’s service area and significant local water rights. It also includes information developed for technical investigations, like the location of ground water monitoring sites. The GIS database is a valuable tool for planning and management associated with the water supply program.