Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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Here's a recap of Tuesday's sessions at the 4th World Water Forum. They write, "On Tuesday, participants at the 4th World Water Forum addressed the theme of 'Risk Management' in plenary and thematic sessions, heard a keynote address by Mario Molina, 1995 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate, and focused on the Asia-Pacific region. The Ministerial Conference convened in parallel with the Forum, with ministers and high-level officials from some 140 countries gathering in both closed and open sessions...

"Mario Molina, 1995 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate, addressed the inter-relationship between global warming and the water cycle. Characterizing our atmosphere's relative thickness to that of an apple skin relative to an apple, he said the amount of available air is limited, and stressed that mankind can indeed impact it negatively.

"Describing the greenhouse effect, Molina explained that the atmosphere retains some of the sun's energy that is radiated by the earth, acting as a blanket. He said natural levels of water vapor and carbon dioxide have always acted as greenhouse gases, which has been crucial to the evolution of life on earth, noting that without this natural greenhouse effect, the earth would be 33 degrees Celsius colder.

"Molina highlighted that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen dramatically over the past century due to the use of fossil fuels. Levels of methane and nitrous oxide show a similar increase, resulting from land-use changes and agricultural intensification. He said these trends show a striking correlation with the observed rise in temperature, emphasizing that 2005 was the warmest year in the past 100 years. Noting that this correlation is not necessarily causal, he highlighted studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He said the IPCC's Third Assessment Report presented new and strong evidence that the warming observed in the past 50 years is attributable to human activities.

"Molina underscored the dramatic impacts of climate change on the water cycle, noting feedback mechanisms that will stimulate temperature increase, including through a decreased reflection of solar energy due to the melting of glaciers, and increased cloud cover that will exacerbate the greenhouse effect. Noting that the complex relationships in the water cycle are still poorly understood, he predicted that the water cycle will intensify, causing extreme weather events such as hurricanes and increasing the frequency and severity of droughts and floods.

"Arguing that it is up to governments to take action, he said scientists' role is to provide the necessary scientific information. He suggested that precautions should be taken based on probability scenarios. Highlighting the significant probability that if no action is taken, the average temperature will have risen by eight degrees Celsius by 2100, he identified this as an intolerable risk. He said increasing temperatures pose a threat to ecosystems and human health, including through the increased impact of air pollution. Molina called for a culture of change with respect to energy and water management, which he said is only possible if all stakeholders commit to increased cooperation."

It's a long article, be sure to read the whole thing.

Category: Colorado Water

7:24:37 AM    

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The city of Pueblo is taking a cautious approach to long-term water leases and planning to expand storage in their reservoirs, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "Comanche Power Plant, operated by Xcel Energy, leases about 8,000 acre-feet of water annually, but will increase that by as much as 6,000 acre-feet when its third unit comes on line. In preparation for that, and because of the 2002 drought, Pueblo has increased its storage requirements to 40,000 acre-feet from pre-drought levels of about 15,000 acre-feet. The shift will mean the board is likely to pull back on long-term leases until it can get a handle on new storage patterns, said Alan Ward, water resources specialist...

"With the 2009 Comanche lease, the board will change that strategy slightly, putting additional revenues into a water development fund. The fund will be used to acquire new water and storage. The major storage project envisioned is increasing the capacity of Clear Creek Reservoir in Chaffee County to 30,000 acre-feet from its current 11,000 acre-feet. The board owns the reservoir. The board also has storage space in Lake Pueblo, Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lake."

Category: Colorado Water

6:14:34 AM    

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