3B. Water Management


Tasks to be completed:

  1. Warm Up Activity
  2. Listen to Randy’s Interview
  3. Complete Discussion Prompt


  • Materials from baggie 4

Warm Up Activity


Central Colorado Water Conservancy District founded the Well Watch Program along side the Poudre Learning Center.  Randy Ray, the Executive Director, was one of the leaders for starting Well Watch.  Courtney and Ivonne interviewed Randy regarding water recharge, water management and water use in the South Platte River Basin.  CCWCD plays a vital role in these three categories.  When you are ready, listen to the interview below.  Feel free to listen to it while you are on a drive, cleaning the house, creating artwork or while enjoying the trails.  Enjoy!

Who is CCWCD? (optional)

Are you interested in learning more about Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and the problems our farmers are facing?  Watch this video.


Discussion Prompt:

How was the warm up activity?  Did you successfully distribute the water so all cups had the same amount of water?

Did you learn anything new from Randy’s interview?  Share a couple of things you learned from Randy’s interview that stood out to you the most.

Feel free to include any questions you have for Randy or the Well Watch team.

wellwatchadmin3B Water Management


Join the conversation
  • Colette Hunt - July 14, 2020 reply

    In the warm up activity my first two cups had the most water. The last three cups had very little water. I did not successfully distribute the water equally. If you can’t transfer water from one place to another then some places will have very little water and some places will have lots of water. That’s kind of like here in Colorado, all the water is on the west and very little on the east.
    I had no clue what a senior versus junior water rights or that something like this even existed. It still sounds very complicated and I am still not 100% sure what they mean exactly.
    I had no idea how much water that they were putting back into the river/ground. I know understand what it means when they say recharge and know that water is being put back in place to keep water circulating through our system.

    One question I have, living in the Kersey area I noticed that they are building a new reservoir off of CR 49 off the South Platte. What is that for? Is that for recharge or storage?

  • Benita Wilson - July 15, 2020 reply

    The warm-up activity was frustrating! I had done such a precise job getting the levels equally and once the second set of instructions was given, I felt like there was no way for me to ever make those 5 cups equal. Knowing how this relates to water rights really brought to light how difficult water management and equity truly is.

    I learned just how old water rights are. I knew water rights had to do with “first in time, first in line”, but did not know that it went back to the 1800s. Additionally, I was not aware that Central Colorado Water Conservancy District also included gravel pits to store water or that that was even a part of water conservancy.

  • Andy Russell - July 19, 2020 reply

    I was able to divide the first two cups very equally, but the second bottle (without blue label) contained less than expected, so they were not at all equal. This brought home the point that it’s difficult to divide Colorado’s finite and irregular water supply between all the people who need it.

    The interview was a nice reminder that one can devote an entire career to a topic that some high school students may learn about only for a day or two! But it’s important for Coloradans to develop an appreciation of where our water comes from and the issues around distribution and quality. I didn’t know that the 80s were unusually wet; I’ve been in CO for 14 years and it’s always been a story of increasing population and demand for natural resources. Hard to believe that in my lifetime there was a sense that there was plenty of water!

  • Kiera Mekelburg - July 21, 2020 reply

    The warm up activity was hard because you did not know how much water was in the glass bottles. I did not distribute the water successfully, and liked how this was a great way to show how people argue over water resources in our state. We never know how much water we will or will not receive in a year, so I feel like this related to the unknown of how much water was in each bottle.

    The interview created some deeper understanding of water rights for me. I grew up in Yuma, Colorado from two farming families. I’ve seen them do flood irrigation and watched how most of the land has turned into center pivots. Water is a huge factor in the livelihoods of many who live in Colorado, and this interview helped to deepen my understanding on how water is legally distributed.

  • Abigail Seen - July 22, 2020 reply

    It was a challenge to complete this activity with having equal amounts in mind as your goal. I had to estimate how much is still is inside the container after i poured out some water. This is definitely not an effective way of splitting water equally between towns, if this activity represents that concept. Riparian laws or water rights are topics that I cannot get a good grasp of. It is just too complicated for me to understand how water is regulated. I know Colorado is one of the main sources that provide water to other states and I get how that could be an important factor in having these laws in place. Randy has enlightened me with the process called recharge to fill back in aquifer whether that mechanically or manmade depressions. These then topic become augmentations. it is such a fascinating topic but complicated as well.

  • Ambrette Gilkey - January 13, 2021 reply

    Evenly distributing the water in different cups was not as easy as I had anticipated, especially not knowing how much water is in the glass bottle. Relating this to equal distribution on the scale of the Water Conservation District was helpful to think… how do we allocate water to people in a fair way?
    The interview with Randy Ray was very helpful in building a better understanding of what the Central Colorado Water Conservation District is, how it was formed, and how it continues to change on supply and demand. I really appreciate all of the information that was given and is a good resource to return to. I love that the PLC Learning Lake’s history is part of water conservation and that the rest of the united states used it as a model. It now makes more sense of how the lakes/reservoirs that were old gravel mines are used to help with storage and recharge. The more I learn about water…the more I learn I don’t know. 🙂

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