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Colorado Water Science Center


National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program
South Platte River Basin Study

by Cathy M. Tate, Kevin F. Dennehy, 1 and Greg Luft 2


Journey down Colorado's South Platte River from its origins high in the Rocky Mountains, through the Front Range cities, and across the open plains into Nebraska, where it joins the North Platte River. Discover how the physical, chemical, and biological character of the river change along its course.

The South Platte River is northeastern Colorado's water supply lifeline. The river, its tributaries, and associated aquifers provide water supplies for public use, agriculture, recreation, and power generation. Because these water resources are critical to the region, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, have been studying the quality of surface- and groundwater resources in the South Platte River Basin as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Results of this 5-year study demonstrate that both the natural setting and human activities have affected water quality.

Information from this study provides interested citizens, water managers, and scientists with a clearer understanding of the inportance and vulnerability of the water resources within the South Platte River Basin.

1 U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, MS 415, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO 80225
2 Colorado State University, Department of Journalism, Fort Collins, Colorado

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