The Colorado River basin in Colorado is that portion of the Colorado River Basin which lies in Colorado, generally that portion of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. As used in Colorado "Colorado River basin" refers to the mainstem of the Colorado, not to the basins of tributaries such as the San Juan River or the White River which join the Colorado downstream from Colorado. Even the Gunnison River basin is sometimes excluded.
There is an extensive oil shale deposit which lies between the Colorado River and its tributary the White River to the north. Development of that resource, which may occur during the 21st century, will require vast amounts of water. In anticipation of development major oil companies have purchased, and leased back to agricultural producers, much of the flow of those rivers, about 7.5 million acre-feet.
- "Water on the Rocks: Oil Shale Water Rights in Colorado" A 2009 report by Western Resource Advocates regarding purchases of substantial water rights on the Colorado and White rivers in anticipation of oil shale development.
- MacDonnell, Lawrence J.. Water on the Rocks: Oil Shale Water Rights in Colorado. Western Resource Advocates. 2009-03-19. URL:http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/land/wotrreport/wotrreport.pdf. Accessed: 2009-03-19. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5fOeGk5Wv) Please note that the short ("opaque") form of the WebCite® URL should be used only in addition to citing the original URL in your bibliographic reference. Alternatively, please use the "transparent" (but very long!) WebCite® URL: http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.westernresourceadvocates.org%2Fland%2Fwotrreport%2Fwotrreport.pdf&date=2009-03-19