USGS: Piceance Basin water quality map now online

Here’s a release from the United States Geological Survey:

The U.S. Geological Survey today launched a website that provides water quality data for the Piceance Basin area of Western Colorado.

The site, created and administered by the USGS, was developed to better address concerns about water quality in the Basin. It consists of a common data repository with the most comprehensive collection of water-quality sampling information available in a single location (visit the Piceance Watershed Water-Quality Data Repository site).

“The purpose of the website is to provide all stakeholders with equal access to this important information,” said USGS hydrologist Judith Thomas. “A database such as this is an important tool in understanding changes in water quality over time.”

The need for the repository was identified by energy producers and local governments to address concerns regarding potential changes to surface and ground-water resources as large-scale energy development occurs in the area.

“There is a tremendous amount of water sampling data out there—from government entities, water districts and energy companies, said Sam Potter, president of the West Divide Water Conservancy District. “Until now, however, it hasn’t been aggregated and presented in a format that is easily accessible to the public. This repository is a boon for anyone with an interest in understanding water quality in this region—landowners, energy companies, regulators, and public officials.”

The website is the result of a collaborative data-sharing and water resource assessment process that included local citizens, industry, government agencies, and conservancy districts. A baseline water-quality assessment will be published by the USGS as a result of the compilation of this database.

The database will also identify data gaps and redundancies in water quality information. This information can be used to understand current conditions and inform future monitoring in the Piceance Basin area.

The $1.3 million dollar project is funded through contributions from federal, state and local governments, water conservancy districts, and energy companies, and is matched by grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).

Project collaborators included: the USGS, the Bureau of Land Management, West Divide Water Conservancy District, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Garfield, Delta, and Rio Blanco counties, the cities of Rifle and Grand Junction, the towns of De Beque, Palisade, Parachute, Carbondale, Silt, and Rangely; EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Natural Soda, Oxy (Occidental Petroleum Corporation), Chevron, Petroleum Development Corporation (PDC), Shell Oil Company, Williams Production, and Marathon Oil.

More Coyote Gulch groundwater coverage here.