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State Water Agencies

Several Colorado State agencies are involved with issues relating to water.  In general, the agencies associated with the Department of Natural Resources are more involved with water quantity management, while the agencies associated with the Department of Public Health and Environment are more involved with water quality management.  The following descriptions are intended to help interested persons determine which agency to contact with water-related issues.  For additional information about any of these agencies, click on the agency name to access its web site.

Department of Natural Resources

Colorado Water Conservation Board

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) was created in 1937 and is the state executive branch agency responsible for state water policy and planning.  The CWCB’s mission is to promote the protection, conservation and development of Colorado’s water resources and minimize the risk of flood damage. Its major programs include Water Supply Protection; Water Supply Planning and Finance; Conservation and Drought Planning; Flood Protection; Instream Flow and Natural Lake Protection; and Water Information.  The agency operates under the direction of a 15-member board. The Board is comprised of representatives from eight major river basins and the City and County of Denver plus the DNR Executive Director, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Colorado Attorney General, the State Engineer, the Division of Wildlife Director, and the CWCB Director.

Division of Water Resources

The Division of Water Resources administers and enforces all surface and ground water rights throughout the State of Colorado, issues water well permits, approves construction and repair of dams, and enforces interstate compacts.  The Division of Water Resources is also the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the statutes of the Ground Water Management Act passed by the Legislature as well as implementing applicable rules and policies adopted by the Colorado Ground Water Commission (below) and the State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors (below). 

Ground Water Commission

The Colorado Ground Water Commission is a regulatory and an adjudicatory body authorized to manage and control designated ground water resources within the State of Colorado. The Ground Water Commission adopts rules and policies related to issuing large capacity well permits and changes in ground water rights within the Designated Ground Water Basins. Currently the Commission has established 8 designated ground water basins and 13 ground water management districts within these basins.

State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors

The Board of Examiners is responsible for enforcement of the statutory and regulatory standards for water well construction, pump installation, monitoring and observation well construction, dewatering wells, test holes and the abandonment of wells.  The Board is also responsible for the licensing of water well construction contractors and pump installation contractors.  The Board promulgates rules and adopts policies and procedures necessary to safeguard the public health and protect the ground water resources of the state.

Department of Public Health and Environment

Water Quality Control Commission

The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission is the administrative agency responsible for developing specific state water quality policies, in a manner that implements the broader policies set forth by the Legislature in the Colorado Water Quality Control Act.  The Commission adopts water quality classifications and standards for surface and ground waters of the state, as well as various regulations aimed at achieving compliance with those classifications and standards.

Water Quality Control Division

The Water Quality Control Division is the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the regulations adopted by the Water Quality Control Commission, as well as applicable regulations adopted by the State Board of Health.  The Division regulates the discharge of pollutants into state waters and enforces the state regulations governing public water supplies.

Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board

The Colorado Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board maintains a program for the certification of operators of water treatment plants, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, water distribution systems and wastewater collection systems in order to assure protection of public health and the environment.


Your opinion is important to us.  If you have comments regarding this information, or wish to have additional information included, please email us at cdphe.wqcc@state.co.us.