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What is our local watershed

The definition of a watershed, is an area of land that drains to a common water body. Monument Creek, which runs adjacent to the Colorado Campus, is a major tributary in the Fountain Creek Watershed, which flows into the Arkansas River east of Pueblo, then meets the Mississippi in Arkansas, where it flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it flows through 200 communities including major cities such as Wichita (Kansas), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Fort Smith and Little Rock (Arkansas).

water map

Source: Colorado Springs Utilities Water Conveyance System Maps

Where we source our water?

Surface Water: The majority of our water comes from Aspen, Breckenridge, and Leadville and travels 200 miles before arriving in Colorado Springs. This accounts for 75% of our water source. This water is collected from mountain streams along the continental divide and stored in reservoirs. The main river collection and storage systems are:

  • Homestake
  • Fryingpan-Arkansas
  • Twin Lakes
  • Blue River systems

This raw mountain water is transported through an extensive pipeline system and then is stored locally in the Rampart reservoir and the Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak.

The remaining 25% of our water is collected locally from surface water and groundwater sources.

Local Surface Sources: To supplement the water received from the distant mountain sources, Colorado Springs Utilities is able to divert water from local surface water collection systems including:

  • North and South Slopes of Pikes Peak
  • North and South Cheyenne Creeks
  • Fountain Creek
  • Monument Creek – Pikeview Reservoir
  • Northfield Watershed
  • We also receive some local ground water from the Denver and Arapahoe aquifers.

Annual precipitation statistics (in inches)

  • 30 Year Average = 16.02
  • All-time Average = 15.09
  • Highest Annual = 27.58 in 1999
  • Lowest Annual = 6.07 in 1933

Contributing Editors:

  • Frank Kinder, Colorado Springs Utilities.
  • Allison Plute, Fountain Creek Watershed.