Water Use Research

The goal of the CSU Water Quantity Team is to identify current water use trends for oil and gas development throughout Colorado and project future water use, both of which will help identify the tradeoffs associated with changes in water uses.


  • Identify the source(s) and how much fresh water is used for oil and gas development in Colorado
  • Identify the channels oil and gas companies are using to access water from municipalities, farmers and agricultural water organizations
  • Determine if increased sales to oil and gas operators is changing how agricultural water organizations operate
  • Identify similarities/differences in water use between oil & gas basins in Colorado
  • Identify the social, institutional, and economic tradeoffs associated with the transfer of water to industrial use
  • Integrative approach across water treatment, economics, water quality

Above: a figure from Oikonomou et al. 2015 explaining where water comes from and how it is used in Weld and Garfield counties. 

Through the research of identifying the water use scenarios and water quantity tradeoffs (economic, environmental, social), the team will be able to provide options for water managers, policy makers, and other interested stakeholders for making decisions about future water use and management. These findings can be incorporated into the larger goals of the project and the Socio-Economic Systems Team’s efforts to integrate across multiple disciplines.