In 1983, the Colorado State Senate approved a 2-year pilot demonstration of a satellite-linked water resources monitoring system in the Arkansas and Rio Grande River Basins. The first 82 gauging stations were established in 1984 and the program was so successful that by 1985, the system had been expanded to 150 gauging stations. At the time, both the Council of State Governments and the National Society of Professional Engineers selected the new system as one of the most outstanding and innovative achievements in state government.
Currently about 29 state-wide staff install, operate and maintain the Satellite Monitoring System and analyze the resulting streamflow records in order to develop annual published streamflow records that correct for any errors or lapses in the real-time data. Over 4000 streamflow measurements are also recorded annually to ensure that the stage-discharge relationships used to convert the raw gauge height measurements to estimated streamflow are as accurate as possible. Partnerships have been established with federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Information System, as well as other state and local agencies and districts, to report additional gauging stations for our users.