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Colorado Water and Energy Research Center


We study the ways that Colorado's water and energy resources often connect and sometimes collide.  We seek to engage the general public and policy makers with our work, serving as a neutral clearinghouse of scientifically-based information on even the most contentious “energy-water nexus” debates.

Visit CWERC's official web site for a guide to help well owners in areas of oil and gas development establish a reliable baseline of their water quality and quantity. 

Get the Groundwater Monitoring Guide here

Since we launched in 2011, we have focused on the potential effects of Colorado’s natural gas boom on the quantity and quality of the state’s groundwater and surface water resources.  Will the groundwater withdrawals associated with coalbed methane development change groundwater-surface water interactions in the San Juan Basin of southwestern Colorado?  How far do certain organic compounds travel underground during the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, and could they make for good tracers of fracturing fluids?  How can water well owners best monitor the quality of their groundwater?  Using the tools of hydrology, hydrogeology, and environmental chemistry, CWERC is tackling these questions and many more.

Our mission:

  • Provide a neutral clearinghouse for scientifically-based information on important energy and water resources issues.
  • Inform the general public and policy makers on energy and water resources issues.
  • Facilitate the exchange of information and expertise among researchers and regulators working on energy and water resources problems.
  • Pursue a sustainability-based research agenda on timely energy and water resources questions, and enable citizen science projects on relevant topics.

For a snapshot of CWERC at work, join Joe Ryan and Bruce Vaughn as they use new scientific techniques to investigate trade-offs and traces of oil and gas development in Colorado.

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