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Water-quality Assessment of the South Platte Basin, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska


Water-quality Assessment of the South Platte Basin, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska

Study Area: South Platte River Basin
Period of Project: 1991-Ongoing
Project Number: CO255
Project Chief: Suzanne Paschke


The South Platte River Basin study (SPLT), conducted as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, began its second decade of intensive water-quality assessments of streams and ground waters in 2001. The South Platte River Basin was intensively sampled during 1992-95. Studies begun in 2001 built upon the initial assessment of water-quality conditions with increased emphasis on long-term water-quality trends and factors affecting water quality. From 2002 to 2005, the South Platte NAWQA studies assessed trends in water quality by re-sampling: (1) 4 surface-water (stream) sites that represent different land uses, and (2) 30 wells in the South Platte alluvial aquifer (ground water adjacent to and connected to the South Platte River). Four new studies were implemented to assess ground-water-quality conditions in the Denver Basin aquifers. One study will examined shallow water quality beneath agricultural areas that have greater than 50 percent wheat cover, and a second study examined shallow water quality beneath urban areas in the Dawson aquifer. Two additional studies examined ground-water quality in Denver Basin domestic and public-supply wells.


  1. To characterize trends in water quality of selected streams and the South Platte River alluvial aquifer.
  2. To characterize water-quality conditions in shallow ground water of the Denver Basin aquifer beneath agricultural and urban areas.
  3. To characterize water quality of the drinking water resources in Denver Basin bedrock aquifers.

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