Coyote Gulch


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  Saturday, March 31, 2007

HR 902
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Here's a story about recovering water from oil and gas operations from the North Forty News & Fossil Creek Current. From the article, "Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) visited Wellington Water Works on March 17 to check out an operation that could benefit oil interests and development while solving Wellington's water woes. The facility on East County Road 70, in operation for one year, purifies water that is produced along with oil in the Wellington Oil Field. The purified water is then discharged into the Boxelder Creek drainage. Udall recently sponsored a bill that would fund research and development into using the WWW idea on a wider scale. HR 902, called the More Water and More Energy Act, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 19 and now awaits action in the U.S. Senate. Noting that fellow members of Congress often consider him 'super-green,' Udall said that reputation could give him an edge with environmentalists in getting the legislation passed. HR 902 calls for $5 million in federal grants to help develop four pilot plants in oil fields and methane-producing coal beds. Plants would be built in Colorado, California and Texas, with a fourth in Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico...

"The research would look at ways to make beneficial use of water produced as a byproduct of oil and gas operations. If successful, Udall noted, this type of enterprise could also increase the country's domestic oil supply by reducing oil-drilling costs. Currently, water is considered an expensive liability in oil and gas production, since it must be injected back into the earth after the oil is removed. As oil fields age, they produce more water and less oil. The Wellington field, for instance, produces about 1.5 percent oil, according to field operator Brad Pomeroy. The concept of using the produced water for irrigation is fairly new and only viable because of current high prices for both energy and water."

"colorado water"
10:36:34 AM     

Cherokee Metro eases watering restrictions
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From, "Water restrictions are being eased for residents in the Cherokee Metro Water District on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs. The restrictions have been in place since September. Starting this Sunday, April 1, residents will be able to water their lawns twice a week. Even numbered homes will water on Wednesdays and Sundays, while odd numbered homes will water on Tuesdays and Saturdays."

"colorado water"
10:26:52 AM     

SB 122
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Here's a roundup of the news around SB 07-122 [pdf], Concerning the Funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board Projects, and Making Appropriations in Connection Therewith, from the Sterling Journal-Advocate. They write, "The perpetual conflict between Western Slope and Front Range water interests spilled over into a House committee's discussion Wednesday of what normally is the routine projects bill from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The House Committee on Agriculture Livestock and Natural Resources also set a precedent by adding a project that had not been considered previously by the CWCB. Senate Bill 122, introduced by Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, passed the Senate earlier this month on a 31-3 vote. It is sponsored in the House by Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison.

"Republican Reps. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, Cory Gardner of Yuma and Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch, cast the only votes against the bill, which was advanced to the House Appropriations Committee. 'I was supportive of this bill but now I'm voting no because of the precedent we're setting in going outside the board's process,' Sonnenberg said. Gardner argued the committee unfairly found funding for one new project, but not another. 'I had every intention to vote for this bill but now we're picking winners and losers,' he said. The committee's more than three-hour hearing strayed into such controversies as the effect of climate change on water supply, protecting fens, which are fragile ecosystems located in many Colorado mountain areas, and finding money for projects that normally are funded through the severance tax trust fund...

"Curry won passage of her amendment dealing with a $500,000 study of water supplies on the Western Slope. The amendment removed language dealing with the gap between projected demand and supply by the year 2030, the replaced it with language that emphasized in-basin needs west of the Continental Divide. 'Ninety percent of the gap is in the South Platte and Arkansas River Basins,' said Drew Peternell of Trout Unlimited in support of Curry's amendment. 'The bill as written applies only to consumptive uses and ignores non-consumptive uses like in-stream flows and recreational flows.' Peternell said studying the available water on the West Slope to meet Front Range demands only 'increases the tension that already exists in the western part of the state.'"

"Rep. Randy Fisher, D-Fort Collins, was unsuccessful in his attempt to remove spending $100,000 in state funds on a study to see if the wetlands known as fens could be moved from one location to another. The cities of Pueblo, Aurora, Colorado Springs and Denver are partnering with Colorado Mountain College in Leadville and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for a $1 million pilot project near Leadville. 'Fens are rare, unique and environmentally fragile,' Fisher said. 'Let them go ahead with the study but I'm just saying the state shouldn't be a participant. The amendment says it's the state policy to restore fens, not move them.'"

"colorado water"
9:46:57 AM     

South Platte management
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The High Plains Midwest / Ag Journal was on hand to hear Hal Simpson talk about South Platte water problems. From the article, "The thirsty population of the East Slope of Colorado, Simpson said, is expected to climb by 2.4 million people between 2000 and 2030, placing further pressure on agriculture, with, by some estimates, a potential decrease in irrigated acres along the South Platte rated as low as 133,000 acres to as much as 226,000 acres...

"The Platte River is actually comprised of three rivers connecting into two more rivers. The North Platte, from its headwaters in Jackson County, Colo., stretches 618 miles. The South Platte, from its headwaters in Park County, Colo., is 424 miles long.

At the confluence of the two rivers, at North Platte, Neb., the river traverses the Cornhusker State for another 310 miles to its confluence with the Missouri River at Omaha and finally merging with the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Mo.

Because the South Platte is in essence a major tributary of America's major river, with an historic annual stream flow of 403,400 acre feet of water, Simpson said every state whose waters flow eastward are affected by waters far away, and that includes the South Platte."

"colorado water"
9:23:01 AM     

Fry-Ark space for Aurora?
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The Pueblo Chieftain is crunching the numbers associated with the Finding of No Significant Impact: City of Aurora, Proposed Excess Capacity Contracts. The Chieftain believes that it's too sweet a deal for Aurora. They summarize the details, writing, "The Bureau of Reclamation issued a final draft of a 40-year contract with Aurora Tuesday for long-term excess capacity storage following a finding of no significant impact in an environmental assessment released last week.

"- Aurora will be able to store up to 10,000 acre-feet of water in an account in Lake Pueblo, which will allow it to exchange water from its purchases of water rights in Otero and Crowley counties. The account can be emptied and refilled as often as needed.

"- Aurora will be able to exchange up to 10,000 acre-feet of its water in Lake Pueblo in any given year for Fryingpan-Arkansas water in Twin Lakes in paper trades with the Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau will determine the amount of water available for exchange each year and exchanges cannot interfere with voluntary flow programs.

"- Aurora will pay about $45 million to the Bureau of Reclamation over the next 40 years, initially $43 per acre-foot for storage and $49 per acre-foot for exchanges. An inflationary rate of 1.79 percent and a fluctuating charge for operations and maintenance are included in the contract. Money from the contract will repay federal costs for building the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

Here's the Google News summary page of the Chieftain coverage of the deal since last Friday. More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

"colorado water"
9:04:33 AM     

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