Watershed Data & Resources

Demographics in the Watershed

The Uncompahgre Watershed is experiencing rapid population growth. As the watershed’s population expands, additional demands will be placed upon the basin’s water resources.

The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) forecasts a doubling of the population from 2000 to 2035; increasing by 127%. Montrose is the ninth fastest growing county in Colorado. The statewide population is expected to increase by 80% in the same time period.

The Colorado River Connection

The laws that define water rights in Colorado follow the appropriation doctrine. Under Colorado water law, the right to utilize the waters of the State is based on the priority of a party’s appropriation of a specified amount of water, at a specified location, for specified uses. Local water commissioners, employed by The Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR), are responsible for distributing waters of the state to satisfy the demands of legal water rights.

The Uncompahgre Watershed is located in the Gunnison River Basin.The Uncompahgre River is a tributary to the Gunnison River, which is one of the major tributaries of the Colorado River. Entirely located in the state of Colorado, the Gunnison flows from its distributed headwaters, primarily above the City of Gunnison, to meet the Colorado River in Grand Junction. After this confluence, the volume of the Colorado River is almost doubled in volume by the Gunnison River (on average the Colorado River receives approximately 40 per cent of its flow or 1.7 million acre-feet of its flows as measured by the USGS gage at the Colorado-Utah stateline.)

UWP collaborates with members of the Gunnison River Basin Roundtable, a group of stakeholders from around the basin who are focused on protecting and managing water resources in the basin. Find out more about the Roundtable.

With our watershed flowing into the Colorado River through the Gunnison River, UWP is also part of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, a public water policy agency chartered by the Colorado General Assembly in 1937 to be “the appropriate agency for the conservation, use and development of the water resources of the Colorado River and its principal tributaries in Colorado.”  Ouray, Montrose and Delta, the three counties where the Uncompahgre flows, are active members of the River District. Find out more about the River District.