Water Resources


Water Resource issues in Colorado present significant challenges for municipalities, special districts, developers and private land owners. Whether it be developing a sustainable water supply for a growing municipality, helping a land developer navigate the ever growing labyrinth of city, county, state and federal stormwater and floodplain regulations, or helping a property owner address stream bank erosion, SGM has the expertise and experience to provide a wide range of water resource engineering services.


Water Rights

Perhaps nowhere else in the world has water rights administration evolved to the level it has in Colorado. Water rights in Colorado are governed by Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine of “first in time, first in right”. The numerous laws, treaties, compacts and precedent-setting court cases that regulate water rights administration have made water rights engineering in Colorado a highly specialized service.   Our understanding of Colorado Water Rights combined with our expansive knowledge of all aspects of water management, such as the collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water, gives SGM a unique perspective when approaching water resources challenges.


  • Augmentation Plans
  • Demand/Depletion Analysis
  • Exchange Plans
  • Change of Use Plans
  • Diligence Support


  • Year-end DWR water usage reporting for Mid Valley Metro District and Roaring Fork Water & Sanitation District
  • Sunlight Mountain Resort Water Resources Analyses and Plan for Augmentation (Decreed 07CW058)
Water Resource Planning

Forest health, climate variability, population growth, endangered species, declining water quality, increasing regulations, increasing cost and decreasing revenues…addressing water supply issues in Colorado can be a daunting task. SGM has been helping clients develop safe, legal, reliable water supplies for over 30 years. SGM provides a multi-disciplinary approach to water projects at all stages of planning, study, design and construction. By combining our expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, water rights and water treatment with an intimate understanding of each client’s unique water demand, infrastructure and financial situation, SGM develops innovative solutions to water supply challenges of all sizes.


  • Water demand projections
  • Integrated water resource plans
  • Watershed protection
  • Water conservation
  • Water Resource Planning
  • Collection system analysis and design
  • Distribution system analysis
  • Drinking water treatment


  • Water Master Plans: Town of Buena Vista, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Town of Granby, Town of Carbondale, Sunlight Mountain Resort
  • Mid Valley Metro District Comprehensive Water Rights Report to satisfy the requirements of House Bill 08-1141 (C.R.S. §29-20-304) and C.R.S. §30-28-133(3) (c) and (d)
  • Strang Rural Land Development Water Supply Plan and Report which addressed the water supply for the 8 new undeveloped lots and fulfilled the requirements of Sections 7-104 and 7-105 of the Garfield County 2008 Unified Land Use Resolution
  • Town/District Engineer for the Town of Basalt, Town of Granby, Town of New Castle, Town of Rangely, Town of Snowmass Village, Mid-Valley Metropolitan District, Roaring Fork Water and Sanitation District, Silt Water Conservancy District, Skyland Metropolitan District and Starwood Metropolitan District, Snowmass Water and Sanitation District

Colorado is known for its rugged natural environment that provides unparalleled recreational opportunities, abundant natural resouces and spectacular landscapes. One component of preserving these precious resources is prudent stormwater management. With increasingly stringent regulations and a particular emphasis on water quality, the challenges of reducing, controlling and treating stormwater runoff have become significant. SGM’s team of engineers is experienced in all phases of stormwater management, from planning to design to construction. We combine this expertise with our thorough understating of the land development process to develop simple, cost-effective solutions to meet our client’s stormwater management needs.


  • Drainage Master Plans
  • Drainage system design
  • Hydraulic structure design
  • Erosion/Sediment control
  • Hydrologic/Hydraulic modeling


  • Mack Master Drainage Plan
  • Snowmass Entryway
  • Erosion Control Plan for Snowmass Employee Housing
  • Review of Aspen’s Stormwater Regulations

While Colorado is well known for its arid climate and numerous sunny days, it is equally known for its potential for violent rainstorms and raging spring runoff. Two of the most significant floods of the 20th Century occurred in Colorado; the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers in June of 1965 and the Big Thompson Flood of 1976. The spring runoff of 2010 was an excellent reminder that even after a winter of below average precipitation, unusual weather patterns can generate significant flooding. For over 30 years SGM has been providing floodplain management services to the west slope of Colorado. In addition to serving as floodplain manager for a number of west slope communities, SGM has provided floodplain modeling and delineations for numerous development projects.


  • River/Floodplain modeling
  • Floodplain delineations
  • Floodplain permits
  • River hydraulics/scour analysis


  • Flood Insurance Study Colorado River and Main Elk Creek for the Town of Newcastle
Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics

SGM’s team of engineers has decades of experience providing engineering services for a wide range of hydrologic and hydraulic projects of all scales.


  • Dam design and permitting
  • Intake design
  • River basin modeling
  • Channel design and restoration


  • Meridian Lake Park Dam
  • Granby WTP (1-mgd) surface water intake structure on river bank with dam on Fraser River, 1994
  • Silt WTP (2.5-mgd) off-channel diversion inlet with surface water intake structure, 2006
  • New Castle WTP Intake Improvements
  • Snowmass Employee Erosion Control Dam
Water Conservation and Efficiency

Water Conservation and efficiency has become a significant “new source” of water for water providers throughout Colorado. Reducing water consumption can be an inexpensive and quick way to increase water available for future use.  Loss through inefficient infrastructure can also be a significant factor in water supply availability. The Colorado Water Conservation Act of 2004 requires water providers with retail deliveries in excess of 2,000 acre feet to develop an approved Water Conservation Plan.  SGM has experience in the design and implementation of State required Water Conservation Plans as well as the efficient design and management of water supply systems.

Consulting/Process Facilitation/Conflict Resolution
Water has always been a contentious issue in Colorado, and that is even truer today.  Today’s water supply world involves more than just water rights and engineering.  Water quality, environmental impacts, conservation, growing populations and a more concerned set of stakeholders make any water project a complicated community process.  SGM, working through the concept of Total Water Management (TWM) has helped our clients through the maze of water policy and planning processes, helping make sure that projects become a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

Education / Public Involvement
Public education, outreach and involvement is a critical part of any water project.  From NEPA processes to rational for rate increases and facilities expansion or improvement, public involvement has become a routine aspect.  SGM helps its clients through this process by organizing materials, meetings, educational forums, media relations and other means of making sure that the public, the water service customer has the information they need to help with informed decisions and support.

Policy Support and Advocacy
Often there are issues regarding water quality, regulations and laws that can have serious impacts on water providers and their customers.  SGM personnel have experience in talking with regulatory agencies as well as testifying before regulatory commissions and legislators about pending actions.  We work with our clients to organize material and make the case for them where needed.

Grant Writing and Administration
Grant money is a common source of funding for water projects.  State and Federal funding is often available.  SGM has experience in writing, winning and subsequently administering grants successfully.  This helps make future granting easier and more likely to succeed as well.

Total Water Management (TWM)
The AWWA defines TWM as “the exercise of stewardship of water resources for the greatest good of society and the environment”.

Water is a finite and shrinking resource in western Colorado and dealing with it has become far more complicated than it used to be.  There is a lot more than engineering, supply, operations and infrastructure involved.  The challenges we face in the water industry require us to take a total system and watershed view approach.  SGM has experience helping our clients weave through the TWM process, working with other water stakeholders in a leadership capacity and solution oriented actions that work to the benefit of all.


Wells often are essential to water supply planning and development. Wells may be needed in areas not serviced by a municipal supply or are a component to municipalities experiencing increasing demands. SGM provides assistance to private and public sectors from planning and development of wells. SGM also performs water supply adequacy analyses to determine the long-term yield of an aquifer to meet the regulations for County or City submittals. Tasks include:

  • Water resource evaluations
  • Well permitting with the Office of the State Engineer
  • Well design
  • Drilling coordination with licensed drillers
  • On-site assistance during drilling, pumping and recovery test coordination
  • Analyses with licensed pump installers
  • Supply versus demand analyses
  • Water quality evaluations

SGM has a long history of assisting clients with the development of funding alternatives to support sustainable multi-benefit projects, including capital improvements, operations, and community enhancements. As a result, we have developed strong relationships with key individuals at non-profit, local, State, and Federal agencies, including the State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Bureau of Reclamation, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to name a few. These relationships allow SGM to quickly identify the most appropriate programs available at any given time to meet a client’s particular needs.

Common federal, state, and regional funding sources include:

  • Amanda Webb
    Amanda Webb Consultant, Durango
  • Angie Fowler, PE
    Angie Fowler, PE Water Resources & Environmental Sector Leader, Glenwood Springs
  • Bailey Leppek, PE
    Bailey Leppek, PE Water Resources Team Leader, Glenwood Springs
  • David Schiowitz, PG
    David Schiowitz, PG Water Resources Team Leader, Durango
  • Eric Bikis, PG
    Eric Bikis, PG Senior Consultant, Bikis Water Consultants Founder
  • Jordan Dimick, PE
    Jordan Dimick, PE Durango Office Manager, Durango
  • Kim Riddle
    Kim Riddle Engineer I, Glenwood Springs
  • Mark Harris
    Mark Harris Senior Consultant II, Grand Junction
  • Thomas Calligas
    Thomas Calligas Consultant I, Durango


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