Delivering Water To Northeastern Colorado.
During the 1930s, Colorado suffered through the Great Depression and a devastating drought. Entire fields of topsoil were blowing away and one-third of the farms in Larimer County were put up for sale.
In the summer of 1933, the Greeley Chamber of Commerce organized the Grand Lake Committee to pursue a water diversion project. The committee preceded a group
formed in 1935 to propose the Colorado-Big Thompson Project as a supplemental water source to Northeastern Colorado farmers.
In May 1937, the Colorado Legislature passed the Water Conservancy Act, laying the groundwork to create the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District the same year.
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, or Northern Water, was created to jointly operate and maintain the federally-owned Colorado-Big Thompson Project. In
1937, the main purpose of the C-BT Project was to provide supplemental irrigation water to farmers in Northeastern Colorado.
Today, the C-BT Project collects supplemental water west of the Continental Divide for delivery to approximately 1 million people and 615,000 irrigated acres in Northeastern
Colorado for agricultural, municipal, domestic and industrial purposes.
The C-BT Project began its first year of water deliveries to the full district in 1957 and since then has collected and delivered more than 200,000 acre-feet of supplemental water each year on average. The project is designed to collect and store water from the melting snowpack near the headwaters of the Colorado River and bring it underneath
the Continental Divide to Northeastern Colorado.
In addition to the original C-BT infrastructure, Northern Water has worked cooperatively to create enterprises to finance and build additional water infrastructure,
including the Northern Integrated Supply Project.
In 1970, Northern Water’s Municipal Subdistrict, a separate and independent conservancy district, was created by six Front Range municipalities: Boulder, Estes Park,
Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont and Loveland.
The Municipal Subdistrict began formal efforts to develop and construct the Windy Gap Project in the summer of 1967. Currently the Subdistrict is constructing Chimney Hollow Reservoir near Loveland, the main component of the Windy Gap Firming Project.
The Windy Gap Project consists of a diversion dam on the Colorado River that creates a 445-acre-foot Windy Gap Reservoir, a pump plant and a six-mile pipeline to Lake Granby. Currently, Windy Gap water is pumped and stored in Lake Granby for delivery to water users via the C-BT Project. Windy Gap Project water utilizes both West Slope
Collection and East Slope Distribution infrastructure to reach Windy Gap participants.
Northern Water provides cities, towns, rural-domestic water districts and industries with year-round water deliveries. During the primary growing season between April
and October, water is also delivered to more than 120 ditch, reservoir and irrigation companies serving thousands of farms and more than 500,000 acres.
With growth continuing in Northeastern Colorado, more than 1 million residents are now served by Northern Water. This area encompasses portions of eight counties:
Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Washington and Weld.