Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Monday, February 27, 2006

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Science Blog: "Mangroves, the backbone of the tropical ocean coastlines, are far more important to the global ocean's biosphere than previously thought. And while the foul-smelling muddy forests may not have the scientific allure of tropical reefs or rain forests, a team of researchers has noted that the woody coastline-dwelling plants provide more than 10 percent of essential dissolved organic carbon that is supplied to the global ocean from land, according to a report to be published 21 February in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, a publication of the American Geophysical Union."

Category: Colorado Water

6:03:33 PM    

A picture named highmeadow.jpg "Environmental activists have formed a coalition to oppose new reservoirs in northern Colorado. The group, which calls itself the Sustainable Water Interest Group or SWIG, said the focus should be on efficient use of existing supplies. Three reservoirs are proposed for the region, adding 400-thousand acre feet, near Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland. SWIG's steering committee includes representatives of Friends of the Poudre, Poudre Paddlers, Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Trout Unlimited."

Coyote Gulch salutes the group's effort to promote the wise use of water that we already have. We note however that more often than not efficient use means "dry up more farms."

Category: Colorado Water

6:14:45 AM    

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The Denver Post editorial staff weighs in on SB37 - Concerning the Adjucation of Recreation In-Channel Diversions. The write, "One of this year's most entertaining pieces of legislation is a bill that pits kayak parks and other recreational users of water against developers who are fearful of future shortages.

"The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that recreation is a beneficial and legitimate use of water and that enthusiasts are entitled to the minimum flow necessary for a 'reasonable recreation experience.' Senate Bill 37 is bogged down in a heated debate over how to define 'reasonable.'

"Each side accuses the other of wanting too much control over the available water. Recreational users and local governments whose economies revolve around tourism need enough water flowing through their rivers and streams to serve local river rats and tourists who come from all parts of the country. Developers say recreational users are claiming more water than they need...

"Colorado's 'first in time first in right' water law grants rights in priority order. If a town has a right for a whitewater course along River X, it gets first dibs on water over a developer who wants to build new houses upstream. State engineers operate headgates that ensure a 'senior' water right holder gets their water before someone with a 'junior' right. Agriculture and older cities have rights far senior to anyone else...

"SB 37 limits its definition of a reasonable recreation experience to kayakers. It would restrict recreational use from April 1 to Labor Day, from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. The bill contains two other provisions that threaten whitewater courses - one would withdraw water rights if the flow is below 90 percent of its right, and the other gives water courts an incredible 20 years to reconsider their initial issuance of a water right if it is challenged."

Category: Colorado Water

6:07:42 AM    

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Here's a story, from the St. George Spectrum, about a proposed pipeline from Lake Powell to southern Utah. The project is interesting technically and legally. The water would be moved from a lower basin state (Arizona) back up to an upper basin state (Utah). It would be Utah's water of course but ...

From the article, "Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Sen. Tom Hatch, R-Panguitch, cleared the Legislature and is awaiting the governor's signature for the 120-mile pipeline that will stretch from the south end of Lake Powell, through Kanab and Fredonia, Ariz., and then back into Utah, pumping water into the Sand Hollow Reservoir. It is anticipated to generate 74,000 acre-feet of water a year for Southern Utah communities whose population rate is growing at three times the national average.

"Cost estimates for the project are $500 million, but no state money has been appropriated because the two bills that allocate state subsidies from either the general fund or revenue from sales tax - House Bill 47, sponsored by P. Knudson, and Senate Bill 39, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, Kanab - are awaiting committee action.

"The combination of property taxes, impact and users fees - and hopefully state funding - are expected to pay for the project that is estimated to be completed in the next 10 to 15 years, servicing a projected population of more than 600,000. In the interim, two strategies must be put into effect to best utilize the water resources currently available: conservation and wider treatment of wastewater for reuse for irrigation and agricultural purposes.

"Both plans must take effect long before the first drop of water runs through the Lake Powell pipeline. Residents must not rely on the pipeline or take for granted that it is coming. Though some may quibble that the pipeline will be an astronomical expense with an increase in property taxes, it will cost just has [sic] much without it when a scarce commodity becomes equally pricey with limited supply and high demand from a larger population."

Category: Colorado Water

5:57:36 AM    

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