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Watershed Protection

Planning for the Future

The City has historically been very forward thinking when it comes to supplying water to its citizens and future generations. Previous City officials secured some of the oldest and most senior direct flow water rights on Clear Creek, which is the source of most of our city water. In addition to diverting water from Clear Creek for regular municipal use, however, the City of Golden has also taken measures to ensure a continued water supply in times of drought.

Urad Reservoirs

In the early 1980s, Golden began securing water storage for extended drought conditions and municipal growth demands. Upper and Lower Urad Reservoirs were acquired along with water rights from the Henderson Mine.

  • Upper Urad Reservoir has a storage capacity of 332 Acre Feet (one Acre Foot is 325,852 gallons).
  • Lower Urad has a storage capacity of 250 Acre Feet.

Guanella Reservoir

unnamed (1)In the early 1980s, Golden began acquiring storage rights and land leases for the Guanella Reservoir.

Located on the west fork of Clear Creek near the Town of Empire, Guanella Reservoir was constructed in 2003 to further enhance Golden’s water storage capability.

  • Current storage capacity of 2325 Acre Feet (one Acre Foot is 325,852 gallons).
  • Some of its storage capacity is unseen in alluvial (ground water) storage.
  • There are nine monitoring wells used to calculate the amount of water in alluvial storage daily.

To see how full the reservoir currently is, and inlet and outlet flow amounts, go to the Colorado Division of Water Resources (an elevation of 8620 is full).

Vidler Tunnel

1In 2000, Golden purchased the Vidler Tunnel and Collection System, which provides water from the Peru Creek Basin in Summit County. The water from the Vidler Tunnel is used for Fossil Trace Golf Course as well as other uses.

To see the current flow through the Vidler Tunnel, go to the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

Wildfires & Water Quality

Since 1993, Golden has been part of the Upper Clear Creek Watershed Association (UCCWA), a group that oversees water quality and resources in the Upper Clear Creek Watershed. UCCWA enables cooperative efforts on watershed improvement projects and maintains a call-down system to alert us of any upstream incidents affecting our drinking water intake.

Golden also partners with the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Senior Design classes. In 2012, the ESGN 530 class studied wildfire impacts on Clear Creek and Golden's drinking water supply. The 2014 class explored potential sites for a sedimentation basin in case of a watershed wildfire.

Additionally, Golden participates in the Watershed Wildfire Protection Group, which identifies risks to Colorado water supplies from wildfires.

Staying Vigilant and Proactive

Wildfire is always a concern, especially during droughts and dry spells. We continue working with upstream communities and Clear Creek water users to reduce wildfire risk in our watershed. Our goals are to:

  • Find innovative, proactive pre-fire suppression techniques
  • Develop effective post-fire actions to protect the watershed and water supply

By staying vigilant and collaborating with our partners, we're working to safeguard Golden's precious water resources for the future.

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