Northern Water Fact Sheet
Northern Water is a public agency created in 1937 to contract with the federal government to build the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The C-BT collects water west of the Continental Divide and delivers it to Northeastern Colorado for agricultural, municipal, domestic and industrial uses. Northern Water and the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation jointly operate and maintain the C-BT Project. Learn more»
Northern Water’s Municipal Subdistrict is a separate and independent conservancy district formed by six municipalities in 1970 to build and operate the Windy Gap Project. The Municipal Subdistrict Board elects its own officers, but its directors are the same as the Northern Water Board. The Windy Gap Project consists of a diversion dam and pump plant on the Colorado River, and a six-mile pipeline to Lake Granby. Learn more»
Besides operating and maintaining the C-BT Project, Northern Water also provides:
Northern Water’s priorities and initiatives are outlined in its Strategic Plan.
Eight Northeastern Colorado Counties
About 895,000 people live within Northern Water boundaries, which encompass 1.6 million acres in portions of eight counties: Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Washington and Weld.
Northern Water provides cities, towns rural-domestic water districts and industries with year-round deliveries. See a list of municipal, rural-domestic and industrial allottees.
Between April and October, the primary growing season, Northern Water also delivers water to more than 120 ditch, reservoir and irrigation companies serving thousands of farms and more than 640,000 acres.
West Slope Water Collection
The C-BT Project collects water from the Colorado River headwaters using a series of reservoirs and pump plants on the West Slope. The principal features are:
Continental Divide Tunnel The 13.1-mile Alva B. Adams Tunnel, linchpin of the C-BT, carries water beneath the Continental Divide to Northeastern Colorado. The tunnel drops 108 vertical feet from west to east, enabling water to flow by gravity to the East Slope in less than three hours.
East Slope Water Distribution
After the water exits the Adams Tunnel’s east portal it is used to generate electricity, dropping vertically almost a half mile through five hydroelectric power plants on its way to the plains and three reservoirs. The principal features of the C-BT East Slope distribution system are:
Northern Water Offices, Employees
Northern Water has approximately 115 full-time employees. Most work out of Northern Water’s headquarters in Berthoud, CO; about 20 employees are based at the Farr Pump Plant on Lake Granby in Grand County, CO.
The Berthoud headquarters complex includes offices, maintenance shops, equipment storage facilities, Conservation Gardens
and the C-BT Interpretive Area.
The gardens and interpretive area are free and open to the public every day of the year during daylight hours.
Water for the Future
To help provide water for future residents, Northern Water is coordinating efforts to obtain permits for two proposed projects:
For additional Northern Water background and information, see these pages: