Why is the Roaring Fork River dry?
A dry section of river can be explained in several ways:
  1. Droughts can naturally cause sections of streams to run dry. If the snowpack, rainfall, and groundwater storage is unusually low for a year, or multiple years, the inputs to a stream system may be too low to sustain surface water flows.
  2. Legal diversions can dry up certain sections of rivers and streams. The upper Roaring Fork near Independence Pass, for example, may be dry several months of the year due to diversions that take water to Front Range communities. Other legal diversions exist, such as diversions used for pond and reservoir filling, irrigation and fire suppression.
  3. Illegal diversions of water are not common but can also cause the drying up of streams and rivers. If you suspect someone is illegally diverting water, please call the state engineer in Glenwood Springs at 970-945-5665.
  4. Depletions from groundwater wells can cause a watercourse to dry up. Much of the water in our streams is directly fed by groundwater (water from rain, snow and irrigation that flows underground before surfacing in a stream, river, spring or seep). Wells that access this groundwater essentially intercept the flow before it has the opportunity to surface. One well may not cause measurable changes in surface water, but the overall effect of many wells can dry up or significantly impact the amount of water in a stream.

Show All Answers

1. What is a watershed?
2. Why is the Roaring Fork River dry?
3. Who do I call if I think someone is illegally diverting water?
4. Can I truck water to my site if I don't have a well?
5. Where can I obtain information about my well?
6. How do I apply for a well permit?
7. Is well water safe?
8. Who can test my well or spring water?
9. What if I want to harvest rainwater for household use?
10. Are magnesium chloride and sand affecting our water quality?
11. There is a ditch on my property. Can I use the water in it?
12. Can I use the water coming from a below-ground spring on my property?
13. How can I get water rights?
14. Why is the river foaming, red or brown?
15. Who do I call if I saw someone dumping something down a storm sewer?
16. I saw someone running equipment in a stream or digging in a stream bank. Is that OK?
17. Can I move the ditch on my property?
18. Whom do I call about a broken or overflowing ditch?
19. How do I find out who owns the ditch on my property?