Wednesday, February 4, 2009
From the Colorado Springs Gazette (John Schroyer): "House Bill 1129, by Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, would establish a pilot program to determine whether sophisticated rainwater collection systems can be a sustainable water source without infringing on downstream water rights of farmers and ranchers...
"'We have got to find another way to augment the loss of the ground water. Rainwater harvesting is a technique that we think might get us there,' Looper said. 'In Eastern El Paso County, where all the growth is, this is going to be massively important for us to continue to grow and develop.'
"Under Looper's bill, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the State Engineer's Office would be authorized to construct 10 such experimental groundwater collection facilities across the state over the next decade. One of the most common methods, Looper said, is to build a large gutter collection network that funnels rainwater into an underground storage facility, commonly installed under residential suburbs. Seven other states have similar programs."
More Coyote Gulch coverage here.
This is a big deal. The Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans for a supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project, according to a report from the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday it will prepare a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Northern Integrated Supply Project and Glade Reservoir.
The controversial project, which would draw water from the Poudre River primarily during times of high springtime flows, requires additional environmental study in areas such as hydrology modeling, water quality, vegetation and aquatic resources, officials said.
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District's report contradicts the EPA and the Fort Collins' comments on NISP, according to a report from the Northern Colorado Business Report. From the article:
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has released a study that contradicts conclusions reached by the city of Fort Collins and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project...
The study by engineering firm Black & Veatch concluded that water quality and treatment issues raised by the city and the EPA "are not significant and can be easily addressed."
Black & Veatch looked at three issues raised by the city and EPA:
- That NISP would increase total organic carbon levels in Horsetooth Reservoir that would require the city to invest $50 million to $90 million in new infrastructure and increase operational costs to treat water by $3 million annually. The study concluded that any increase in TOC in the reservoir would be "very small" and the suggested infrastructure improvements would not be required.
- That NISP would cause lower flows in the Poudre River that would require the city to spend $75 million to $125 million in upgrades to its wastewater treatment plants. The study concludes that NISP will have "no impact" on existing or future infrastructure or operating requirements for the city's wastewater plants.
- That contaminated groundwater near the proposed Glade Reservoir could possibly co-mingle with Glade water and be delivered to Horsetooth Reservoir or the Poudre River. The study concludes that the concentration of trichloroethylene in the groundwater is so low that "even without any collection and treatment system, the TCE levels in either Glade or Horsetooth reservoirs would be undetectable."
Eric Wilkinson, general manager of the water district, said the study affirms the district's stance that the NISP project is needed and will not cause water treatment and water quality problems.
Copies of the Black & Veatch study summaries and other related information is available on the NISP Web site at www.gladereservoir.org/ on the Water Quality Information page.
More coverage of Northern's report from Black & Veatch, from the Greeley Tribune. From the article:
Eric Wilkinson, general manager of the district, said the study, conducted by Black & Veatch, a nationally known engineering firm, concludes that the issues are not significant and can be easily addressed...
Wilkinson, in a press release from the district, said the 15 participants in the project authorized the study to cooperate with and help expedite the on-going Environmental Impact Statement process being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study has been provided to the Corps, the EPA, Colorado Department of Health and Environment and other interested parties.
More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.
From the Pueblo Chieftain (Robert Boczkiewicz): "Aurora plans to renew its effort to seek dismissal of a lawsuit that claims a federal contract permitting the city to store water in Lake Pueblo is illegal. Aurora stated it intends to again assert that the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and a group of valley landowners do not have standing to challenge the contract. The city stated its intention in a new filing in U.S. District Court against the lawsuit by the district and the landowner group that was filed last year."
Aurora's new filing seeks a judge's permission to take a deposition "of the person most knowledgeable of the facts and circumstances" of the district's alleged injuries and permission to depose the four landowners. "There are pertinent facts bearing upon the question of jurisdiction in this case that are in dispute," the city said. Lower Arkansas' attorney, Peter Nichols of Denver, said he hasn't had an opportunity to review Aurora's request or discuss it with his client, "so it would be premature for me to comment."
Arkansas Valley Native LLC's attorney, Sarah Klahn of Denver, said her client will file a response in opposition to Aurora's motion. "As we only received Aurora's motion at 5:30 on Monday (evening), we are still evaluating the specific arguments to be made."
The judge in the case in September denied the requests of Reclamation and Aurora to dismiss the lawsuit on their claim of lack of standing. The city's new filing asserts the plaintiffs, now at this later point in the litigation, "must set forth specific evidence in order to establish standing."
More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.
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