Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Friday, February 17, 2006

A picture named kayaker.jpg

State Senator Jim Isgar's bill, SB37 - Concerning the Adjucation of Recreation In-Channel Diversions is the subject of this article from the Denver Post. They write, "Development of new white-water parks in Colorado could be derailed by legislation that's slated for a Senate vote next week, kayakers, town officials and water attorneys say.

"The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Jim Isgar of Hesperus, would make the parks' water rights vulnerable to open-ended legal challenges, park supporters say.

"It also places strict limits on how much water the parks can have during low stream flows and says recreational in-channel diversions should be granted only for kayaks, not other kinds of watercraft such as rafts, canoes and inner tubes...

"Under tremendous pressure from Colorado's booming tourism industry, lawmakers approved legislation in 2001 granting water rights for white-water parks over objections from farmers, developers and municipal water providers.

"Since the authorizing legislation was passed, state water courts have urged legislators to try to clarify the legal language surrounding kayak parks.

"While previous attempts to do that failed, an interim committee headed by Isgar and Rep. Kathleen Curry, a Gunnison Democrat, approved a bill last summer that provided the foundation for the current legislation, Senate Bill 37...

"Last week, the Senate agriculture committee approved several amendments, including some Curry says she won't support if the bill makes it to the House.

"Among the targets of her objections is a new provision requiring water parks to provide monthly reports to the state engineer documenting how many kayakers are using the course.

"Isgar said he is trying to reach compromises on some of the bill's controversial provisions and hopes the Senate will take it up on second reading sometime next week.

"The recreational in- channel diversions have been a difficult issue to address, Isgar said, because it's a relatively new legal concept in Colorado water law.

Category: Colorado Water

6:46:54 AM    

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Here's an article about cloud-seeding from the Colorado Springs Independent. From the article, "Scientists at a General Electric laboratory stumbled upon the concept of cloud seeding in 1946, in Schenectady, N.Y. They discovered that dry ice shavings caused supercooled water droplets - which remain liquid even at freezing temperatures - to solidify into tiny ice crystals. More droplets attach to the frozen crystals until they get big enough to fall as rain and snow. The process augments precipitation, but can't conjure a storm.

"Between 1949 and 1951, the U.S. military, fueled by the brainpower of the GE researchers, carried out Project Cirrus, seeding dry ice pellets into clouds around the country. When a storm from clouds seeded during the experiments covered one-fourth of New Mexico, one GE scientist concluded that the odds were 'millions to one' that nature, not man, was responsible.

"By the close of Project Cirrus, 30 countries around the globe had weather modification programs. The United States' Department of Defense, Weather Bureau and Bureau of Reclamation all supported millions of dollars in research and operations.

"For the next few decades, researchers focused on how seeding might increase or decrease rain and snow, dissipate fog or suppress hail. Military scientists, convinced they could slow the storms or change their courses, even seeded hurricanes through Project Stormfury. Supporters billed cloud seeding as a meteorological panacea."

Category: Colorado Water

6:25:13 AM    

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Aspen Daily News: "The regional National Weather Service, based in Grand Junction, released a report Wednesday stating that snowpack in the Upper Colorado River basin averaged 145 percent of normal, making it the best mid-February snowpack since 1997. The report also forecasted above average runoff."

Category: Colorado Water

6:11:58 AM    

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The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District has filed for water exchanges in Division 2 water court in response to filings by Aurora and Colorado Springs. The district claims that the two cities violated a 'gentlemen's agreement.'

From the Pueblo Chieftain:

"In response, the Southeastern District board voted Thursday to file for two exchanges of its own to secure places in the river priority system and to ensure exchange capability for the Arkansas Valley Conduit...

"During a telephone conversation between attorneys, none believed exchange water rights would need to be filed for several years. However, there was no written agreement between the parties to not file, Leonhardt said.

"In December, Colorado Springs filed two exchange applications. One would cover an alternative for the Southern Delivery System by moving the diversion point of water from Lake Pueblo to Fremont County. The other was further reaching, allowing its leased water to be exchanged up the river.

"At the same time, Aurora and the High Line Canal filed a joint application to preserve the exchanges used in their 2003-04 lease agreement and extended the exchange capability to the entire ditch.

"Exchanges move the point of diversion upstream, allowing cities to move water formerly used on farms to mountain reservoirs.

"Aurora moves water out of the valley through the Homestake Pipeline from Twin Lakes.

"Colorado Springs shares the Homestake Pipeline and also moves water from Lake Pueblo through the Fountain Valley Pipeline...

"The opportunities for exchanges on the river have narrowed as all the water is appropriated and exchanges can only occur when no one's water rights are injured. Pending court filings for recreational in-channel diversions in Pueblo and Chaffee County could further restrict exchanges."

Coyote Gulch remembers fondly his Business Law professor in graduate school (University of Montana) saying, "I know this is the west, where a man's word is good enough - get it in writing anyway."

Category: Colorado Water

6:01:22 AM    

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Five environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Federal government saying that the way that the Glen Canyon Dam is managed is threatening endangered fish, according to the Durant Daily Democrat. The groups are the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Glen Canyon Institute, Living Rivers and Arizona Wildlife Federation.

From the article:

"Because of the failure of the Interior Department and its Bureau of Reclamation to provide a more natural environment in the river, the humpback chub, razorback sucker, Colorado pikeminnow and bonytail chub are in danger of extinction, the suit alleges.

"The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, contends the government is violating federal law by operating Glen Canyon Dam in a manner that fails to protect the features of Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

"The dam straddles the Arizona-Utah border, backing up the Colorado River to form Lake Powell. The suit contends the dam releases water at unnatural temperatures, quantity, quality and frequency, and deprives the Grand Canyon of sediment and needed nutrients.

"The lawsuit asks the court to order Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the Reclamation Bureau to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the effects of dam operations, and ultimately, provide a 'more natural flow and water temperature regime' and 'adequate downstream nutrients and sediment.'

"The species in the most danger is the humpback chub, the adult population of which declines between 15 percent and 20 percent each year, according to a 2005 report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Currently, there are between 3,000 and 5,000 in the Colorado River, but that number could decline sharply to between 1,500 and 2,000 in the next 10 to 15 years if nothing is done.

Category: Colorado Water

5:51:11 AM    

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