Water & Energy

The relationship between water and energy is far more complex than hydro-electric dams. Learn from CU-Boulder scientists about the key role water plays in other forms of energy production and how a warming planet impacts our water resources. Watch the Emmy-nominated video "Water: A Zero Sum Game" to explore how measurements taken at the Mountain Research Station help determine Colorado's future water supply.

What does an alpine hydrologist do?

Why is it important to study snowpack?

What types of information about the snowpack do scientists monitor?

Students from CU-Boulder monitor and model the snowpack in Green Lakes Valley during the annual snow survey, which occurs when the maximum accumulation of snow is reached. Students and researchers ski into the valley to take 500 snow depth measurements and dig 6 snow pits.
Alpine hydrologist, CU-Boulder graduate student Katya Hafich explains:

Learn more at ScienceLive.


University of Colorado Boulder Institutes and Programs


Western Water Assessment identifies regional vulnerability to climate change, and develops information, products and processes to assist water-resource decision makers throughout the intermountain west.


The Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment is dedicated to informing and influencing natural resources law and policy. The Center fosters practical and effective solutions to resource problems through its extensive research program, outreach activities, and educational programs for law students and the general public.

 cawThe Center of the American West takes as its mission the creation of forums for the respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives in the pursuit of solutions to the region's difficulties. Projects address such critical issues as energy, the interior, mining, water, land use and more.

The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) develops scientific knowledge of physical and biochemical environmental processes at local, regional and global scales. It applies this knowledge to improve society's awareness and understanding of natural and anthropogenic (human caused) environmental change, focusing on the world's high-altitude and high-latitude regions.


The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) is an interdisciplinary program that provides an educational and research environment to examine the dynamical, physical, and chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere and the ocean.

Science Discovery - CU Boulder

Science Discovery is an experience-based, educational outreach program that stimulates scientific interest, understanding, and literacy among Colorado's youth, teachers, and families.


The Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) is a cooperative research and educational center devoted to the conversion of biomass fuels and other products.


The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative at CU-Boulder is a joint institute with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) designed to become an international force in solving the energy challenge through research, education, and technology commercialization.


The Center for Energy and Environmental Security (CEES) works to develop practical strategies and solutions for moving international society toward a global sustainable energy future. CEES addresses issues of energy security and climate change.


The National Snow and Ice Data Center

NSIDC supports research into our world's frozen realms: the snow, ice, glaciers, frozen ground, and climate interactions that make up Earth's cryosphere. NSIDC manages and distributes scientific data, creates tools for data access, supports data users, performs scientific research, and educates the public about the cryosphere.  Learn more about NSIDC.

The following NSIDC interactive tools and maps have been recommended to Learn More About Climate, especially for educators and students:

Satellite Observations of Arctic Change

This is a new, interactive mapping tool that lets people explore satellite and other data on changes in the Arctic environment.

Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis

Daily and monthly updates on sea ice conditions.


Use Charctic, interactive graph of ice extent, to explore the data and set up their own comparisons.

Greenland Ice Sheet Today

Updates on surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

In Time Of Drought

Alfalfa grown with Colorado River water is a case study of how and why water gets used as it does.

Why Farmers Care About Snowpack

Like much of the far West, northern Nevada is in the grips of a historic drought. The federal government has declared much of the region a disaster area. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at historically low levels. That means feed will be in short supply, which is a big deal, because the alfalfa that's grown here doesn't just stay local. NPR talked with Pete Olsen about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nevada.

Listen to the podcast.

Oil & Gas Water Quality Interactive Maps

The Intermountain Oil & Gas Best Practices Program provides a platform for the systematic collection, measurement and display of state-level laws. It is a resource for researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and the public. Use the Interactive Law Maps pages below to generate maps and tables. Highlight selected features of the law as it exists today, or see how it has changed over time.

Permitting, Design, and Construction Map

Well Drilling Map

Well Completion Map

Production and Operation Map

Reclamation Map

These maps and tables are generated from policy surveillance datasets that are produced by Publish Health Law Research staff, grantees and outside sources. For more information about the methods of collecting this data, please visit the Law Atlas website.