Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

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The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the subject of this article from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "Water users east of Pueblo could pay $1.50 to $2.20 per 1,000 gallons monthly for 30 years to fund the local share of a drinking water conduit, consultants reported Tuesday.

"Valley water providers would need to find additional water supplies, develop court-approved exchange rights and gain storage in Lake Pueblo to make the conduit successful, a draft study revealed.

"The chairman of the committee studying the Arkansas Valley Conduit said he believes the cost is affordable and hopes communities will decide to proceed with the project...

"The Arkansas Valley Conduit would stretch from Pueblo Dam to Lamar, serving more than 40 towns and water districts with a population of nearly 50,000. Part of the original Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, it was never built because of the expense. Lawmakers have been working in Congress to change funding from 100 percent local to 75-80 percent federal...

"The cost to build the pipeline to serve the maximum daily capacity of all communities in the project by the year 2050 is estimated at $328 million, said Kevin Meador of Black & Veatch. With an 80 percent federal share, grants and spreading costs out over 40 years, the initial charge would be about $2.20 per 1,000 gallons...

"However, if the pipeline were downsized to provide only Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water, the cost would be reduced to $213 million. This would lower the monthly rate to $1.50 per 1,000 gallons for users."

Category: Colorado Water

6:31:32 AM    

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Here's an editorial from the Pueblo Chieftain urging the inclusion of eastern Fremont county into the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District. From the opinion piece, "He [John Sandefur] observed one basic truism about Colorado water law: 'If you are a ditch company, you can't afford to hire an attorney to protect you in court. We need protection against Colorado Springs and Aurora.' Sadly, in water court, the big bucks - meaning the big cities - almost always prevail.

"So the best defense against further water raids is unity in the Arkansas Valley, top to bottom. To allow further depletion of the Arkansas River would be a terrible legacy.

Category: Colorado Water

6:22:41 AM    

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Officials in charge of the Gunnison river intend to analyze tree rings for 500 years as part of their plan to model historical stream flows with an eye towards improving habitat, according to the Montrose Daily Press. From the article, "The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation is conducting an Environmental Impact Statement that proposes modifying downstream flows in the Gunnison to improve fish habitat and reduce mortality rates. On Monday, the bureau held a meeting with state and federal agencies and presented initial alternatives to Aspinall Unit operations...

"Before the EIS can be developed, the bureau and the other agencies are preparing hydrological models on stream flow levels in the Gunnison. Water Resources Group Chief Dan Crabtree said the hydrological group is considering several methods to get an accurate model of the stream flow levels...

"One of the models would use tree ring data from the past 500 years. The bureau would correlate the tree ring data to the stream flows and get a long-term picture of the river. Crabtree said an accurate flow model is important for the EIS because all conclusions were based on the data...

"Western Area Power Authority representative Clayton Palmer said he opposed any climate change or tree ring data being used in the modeling. He said the data would not create accurate information for the EIS.

"Colorado River Water Conservation District Director Eric Kuhn said the alternatives for the EIS should include provisions for drought years. He said the management of the river changes when the river is stressed from drought, like in 2001 and 2002."

Category: Colorado Water

6:12:23 AM    

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