Colorado Reader April 2019: Where does our water come from? | Page 2

The Story of Water The story of water in Colorado starts in the Rocky Mountains. Colorado is known as a headwater state. This means that all the precipitation that falls in our state flows OUT of the state, and no water flows INTO the state. There are only two states in the United States that are headwater states. One is Colorado and the other is Hawaii. Our state also has many watersheds. Watersheds are sometimes called drainage basins. A watershed is an area of land where rain or snow drains into a stream or other water body. Ridges of higher ground form boundaries between watersheds. Rain falling on one side of the higher ground flows toward the low point of one watershed, while rain falling on the other side of the boundary flows toward the low point of a different watershed. 2 - Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom Snow that falls high in the mountains can sometimes stay frozen for a long time. Nature provides this good way to store our water. When that snow melts, the water then flows downhill towards the rivers and streams. Colorado has eight major river basins throughout the state, and a ninth basin in the city of Denver. These basins form areas that provide borders for the rivers geographically and also are used by people to organize and manage our water. There are groups of people who come together to help manage each basin. These groups are called Roundtables. These people work together to solve the water challenges we face.