Coyote Gulch


Subscribe to "Coyote Gulch" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.



  Friday, May 25, 2007

New groundwater basin - Box Elder?
A picture named southplattealluvialaquifer.jpg

Farmers and ranchers in the Box Elder Creek drainage have been denied the designation of the basin as separate from the South Platte basin, according to the AG Journal. From the article:

A farmer's irrigation well district has been denied exemption from required augmentation in northeast Colorado. The decision affects over 900 agricultural irrigation wells, located across Weld, Adams and Morgan counties. The Box Elder Subdistrict of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, here, wants to be declared a designated basin. Such a designation would allow them to operate their irrigation wells, and be exempt from having to provide augmentation water back to the basin. The Central District's team of engineers and attorneys have argued that historically the South Platte River has not been dependent on the Box Elder Creek for maintained streamflows, because water has not left the Box Elder Basin and entered into the South Platte. The objectors argued the Box Elder Creek Basin does supply a substantial amount of water to the South Platte River Basin, and pumping without augmentation would cause injury to their more senior water rights...

The Box Elder hearing first began in January and its initial phase ended with a hearing officer of the Colorado Water Court advising against the designation. The most recent ruling made by Colorado's Groundwater Commission up-held that advisory...

Wells within the Box Elder District were previously pumping this season at only 15 percent of their allotments. However, a recent decision by the State Engineer's office increased that amount to 20 percent, mainly due to the increased precipitation. The rainfall has allowed the Central District to implement various storage projects and bank water for augmentation, to support the increased pumping. Meanwhile, the WAS wells remain completely inactive having been shut down by a court ordered decree last May. The fate of the WAS wells remains unknown as a recent trial concerning their future operation concluded recently and the presiding judge is currently reviewing the case in an effort to make his ruling. "They were disappointed and the look on their faces showed that it was just another blow to them," Hertzke says of the Box Elder constituents. "A lot of them have lived there their whole lives and saw that there hasn't been flows coming out of that basin into the South Platte. They really know the facts of the basin and I think that's the toughest part for them to stomach." With 30 days to decide, Hertzke says the board of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District will soon hold a special meeting on whether or not to continue the adjudication, by moving the case through the Weld County District Court. If they should take the case to district court and fail there, they could proceed on to the Colorado Supreme Court.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here

"colorado water"
6:22:16 AM     

Frank Jaeger: We're going to squeeze every drop of wet out of every drop of water
A picture named rueter-hessplans.jpg

Frank Jaeger [Parker Water and Sanitation District] is once again in the lead when it comes to long-term planning for the sharing of water between farmers and municipalities. The Pueblo Chieftain caught up with him (and others) to talk about his funding of a sharing study in conjunction with CSU. From the article:

A $1 million study looking at the impacts of sharing agricultural water with cities is attracting the state's attention. The study is the brainchild of Parker Water and Sanitation District Manager Frank Jaeger, who announced the study in January. Colorado State University will study how irrigated agriculture can be sustained while meeting the needs of growing cities. 'We're going to squeeze every drop of wet out of every drop of water,' Jaeger told the Colorado Water Conservation Board this week. 'Parker has 40,000 people and it's going to be 150,000. It's my job to get them water.' Parker is building the 16,000 acre-foot Reuter-Hess reservoir and wants to expand it to 72,000 acre-feet to meet the needs of Parker and other Front Range water users. The district bought 13 farms in Logan County, located in the northeastern corner of the state, with the intention of using the water to repay anticipated depletions on the South Platte. Jaeger said the farms have more water than needed for augmentation, so a plan to pipe water back to Parker has been developed. While developing the water, Jaeger said he wants to make sure agriculture remains viable.

On Wednesday, Jaeger voiced complete support for Aaron Million's plan to build a pipeline from Flaming Gorge, if it would help fill Reuter-Hess reservoir. Others in the state have been publicly cautious about the Million plan. Jaeger did not ask the CWCB for funding, even though the state board has $1.5 million for studies similar to the one Parker is bankrolling. The state is looking at several strategies of shared use of agricultural water through Phase 2 of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative. Additionally, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District is preparing to ask the state for a share of the $1.5 million this summer in its efforts to launch a rotational fallowing, water management agency run by shareholders who own agricultural water rights. Peter Nichols, water attorney for the Lower Ark, shared some details with the CWCB at its March meeting in Canon City. So far, the Lower Ark has spent about $500,000 on preliminary studies.

Jaeger said more efficient farming techniques could lead to more water available for leasing to municipal users. The study will also help determine the real price of water, Jaeger said. While a water tap in Parker is $20,000, only part of that cost represents the cost of acquiring the water. "There is an enormous cost to treat and deliver the water as well," Jaeger said. "We don't have endless resources."

State Engineer Hal Simpson was skeptical of relying on agricultural efficiencies as a means of generating new water. Efficiency on water-short canals like those in the Arkansas Basin could mean greater consumptive use and shortages downstream, causing potential violations of interstate compacts, he said. Natural Resources Director Harris Sherman asked if the study would look at the legal ramifications. Some laws might need to be changed, Jaeger replied. CWCB Chairman Travis Smith, from the Rio Grande basin, asked if any thought had been given to using the water where it is located, rather than moving it to already populated areas.

Coyote Gulch wonders if it's time to cut off new trans-basin transfers of water and let growth flow to water? More Coyote Gulch coverage of Rueter-Hess here and Aaron Million's pipeline here.

"colorado water"
6:10:48 AM     

A picture named watersprinkler.jpg

The Rocky Mountain News and state politicians are reminding everyone to be smarter with water. From the article:

Gov. Bill Ritter joined with metro-area mayors and water officials under cloudy skies Thursday to urge Coloradans to continue to conserve water...

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer said municipalities and metro residents no longer view water use the same way they did before the drought hit. Aurora and Denver Water have initiated a variety of programs aimed at reducing water use and eliminating waste...

Also participating in the news conference were mayors Ken Fellman of Arvada, Kathie Novak of Northglenn, Randy Pye of Centennial and Chris Berry of Lafayette.

Five simple ways to conserve: Replace high-flow toilets with high-efficiency toilets, to save 15,000 gallons a year; Landscape more efficiently - for example, don't set sprinkler systems in May for August weather - which will save nearly 13,000 gallons a year; Xeriscape a small area of your yard, saving more than 10,000 gallons a year; Fix leaky pipes, saving 7,500 gallons a year; Replace standard clothes washer with water-wise model, saving 7,000 gallons a year.

Don't forget to shower with your steady.

More coverage from the Denver Post. They write:

Local supplies appear to be rebounding this year in part because several Front Range cities saw water use dramatically drop during the drought years. For example, the 1.1 million customers of Denver Water, the state's largest water provider, have cut use by an average of 11 percent since 2001 to 120,000 gallons a year, according to agency data. Similarly, Aurora utility officials say their customers have decreased their consumption by 20 percent since 2002.

Aurora and other Front Range cities have adopted long-term strategies to trim water usage such as offering rebates to replace inefficient water fixtures and using recycled water to irrigate parks.

More coverage from the Aurora Sentinel. They write:

Aurora's reservoirs were 74 percent full May 23, said Meghan Hughes, spokeswoman for Aurora Water. "Wise water management" leads to full reservoirs year round, and most residents don't mind reasonable watering restrictions like this year's 3-days-a-week watering schedule, Tauer said. Water restrictions took effect between May 1 and will be in place until Oct. 31. The restrictions mean residents are not allowed to water their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Homeowners and renters with even number addresses can water their lawns on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays while residents with odd number address can water their lawns on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Here's the link to Water - Use it Wisely.

"colorado water"
5:44:40 AM     

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2009 John Orr.
Last update: 3/14/09; 9:15:41 PM.

May 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Apr   Jun


e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.