Gunnison River Basin

The Gunnison Basin covers over 8,000 square miles (approximately 8 percent of the state’s area) in western Colorado. It extends from the Continental Divide to the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. A major tributary is the Uncompahgre River. 

Quick Facts
Description Value (approximate)
Irrigated Acres (2010) 1                  237,910

               Irrigated Lands Graph

Decreed Points of Diversion 1 9,745
Decreed Wells 1 1,490
Major Reservoirs 2
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir
  • Morrow Point Reservoir
  • Taylor Park Reservoir
Normal Storage (acre-feet)
  • 940,800
  • 117,190
  • 106,200
Major Imports into Basin 2
  • Leon Lake Tunnel
  • Mineral Ditch
  • Red Mountain
Average Diversions (acre-feet) (1971-2003)
  • 1,364
  • 138
  • 99
Major Exports from Basin 2
  • Redlands Canal
  • Hallenbeck Reservoir #1
  • Grand Junction FL+WW
Average Annual Diversion (acre-feet)
  • 510,930
  • 4,324
  • 2,484

1 Source: CDSS, total values derived from GIS Data for Gunnison Basin
2 Source: Statewide Water Supply Initiative Fact Sheet for Gunnison Basin, CWCB, 2006


Compact Facts
  • Colorado River Compact of 1922:  As a tributary to the Colorado River, the Gunnison River is affected by Colorado River compacts. The Colorado River Compact allocates 7.5 million acre-feet (AF) of consumptive use annually to:
    1. the Upper Colorado River Basin (those parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming above Lee Ferry, Arizona), and
    2. the Lower Colorado River Basin (those parts of Arizona, California and Nevada below Lee Ferry, Arizona).
  • Upper Colorado River Basin Compact of 1948:  The Upper Colorado River Basin Compact allocates the 7.5 million AF apportionment of consumptive uses available to the Upper Basin as follows:
    • Arizona – 50,000 AF/year
    • Colorado – 51.75%
    • Utah – 23%
    • Wyoming – 14%
    • New Mexico – 11.25%


        Gunnison River Basin

Basin Updates
  • No updates at this time


 Additional Information