Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Friday, March 24, 2006

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Here's the recap of the final day of the 4th World Water Forum. They write, "The Fourth World Water Forum concluded deliberations in Mexico City on Wednesday, with several ministerial roundtables on areas related to water management and a closing plenary session. The Fifth World Water Forum will be held in 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey."

Category: Colorado Water

7:35:47 AM    

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Environment Colorado: "More than 48 percent of industrial and municipal facilities across Colorado discharged more pollution into our waterways than their Clean Water Act permits allow between July 2003 and December 2004, according to Troubled Waters: An Analysis Of Clean Water Act Compliance, a new report released today by Environment Colorado...

"While the 1972 Clean Water Act has made significant strides in cleaning up U.S. waterways, the law's goals of eliminating the discharge of pollutants into waterways by 1985 and making all U.S. waters safe for fishing, swimming and other uses by 1983 have not been reached. Today, more than 40 percent of U.S. waterways are unsafe for swimming and fishing...

"Additional findings include: Nationally, 62 percent of all major industrial and municipal facilities discharged more pollution into U.S. waterways than their permits allow at least once during the 18-month period studied; The average facility exceeded its pollution permit limit by more than 275 percent, or almost four times the legal limit; More than 48% of Colorado's industrial and municipal facilities exceeded their Clean Water Act permits at least once between July 1, 2003 and December 31, 2004; 52 facilities in Colorado reported more than 160 exceedances of their Clean Water Act permits during the 18-month period; On average, Colorado facilities exceeding their Clean Water Act permits did so by 213%, or by over 3 times the legal limit; Polluters in Colorado reported 16 instances in which they exceeded their Clean Water Act permit by at least 500 percent over the legal limit."

Here's the coverage from the Rocky Mountain News. They write, "In some cases, the facility may have exceeded a limit on just a single pollutant, when they are charged with complying with limits on dozens of pollutants, said Steve Gunderson, chief of the Water Quality Control Division at the state health department. But sometimes, Gunderson said, the problems were more serious, and the state took action, through regulatory orders and fines. Exceeding pollution limits can come about in a number of ways, including equipment problems, or storms that lead to higher flows of water discharge from a sewer plant, he said."

Category: Colorado Water

6:59:18 AM    

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State Senator Isgar's bill, SB37 - Concerning the Adjucation of Recreation In-Channel Diversions, setting up regulations for kayak and whitewater parks is the talk of the Colorado Senate this week, according to New West.

From the article, "With meager runoff the past few years, my runs down the lower Blue River, north of Silverthorne, more often than not ended up with my kayak shoaled out in the shallows, stuck in the mud. That's about where the Colorado State Legislature appears to be with its latest effort to define Recreational In-Channel Diversions (RICDs), those stream flows sought by towns to sustain whitewater kayak parks.

"Like a water fight among rafters, boaters and traditional water users - developers, ranchers, cities and farmers - are circling each other and splashing the river with their political paddles. If they find a compromise, it could help establish some certainty for how those recreational water rights are claimed and administered.

"But the bill that's up for discussion on the Senate floor this week would create a second class water right under Colorado's first-in-time, first-in-right doctrine, as The Mountain Mail in Salida reported March 20...

"Some lawmakers are trying to put limits on recreational rights, including a '90-percent' provision, under which the recreational flow rights would only be valid if at least 90 percent of the claimed water is available in the stream. Other language limits the use of water solely to kayak parks, which presumably leaves out other types of recreational uses (angling, for example) that might otherwise be covered under the measure...

"Denver Water is one of the entities supporting the current measure, and according to intergovernmental affairs coordinator Sara Duncan, it's the recreational users that have been intransigent on this issue, refusing to accept any reasonable limitations on their ability to claim in-channel diversions for whitewater parks."

Meanwhile Chaffee County's application for an RICD is moving along, according to the Mountain Mail. From the article, "Unanimous approval for recommendation of the Chaffee County water right application protecting river flow in local whitewater parks came Wednesday from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Eight of 15 members of the conservation board were present at the meeting in Rifle to vote on the application...

"Steve Bushong, water attorney for Chaffee County, said he hopes to have the application before a water court judge within 30 days and expects the judge to sign it within an additional 30 days. Before filing with water court, however, the county needs to finalize a series of understandings with objectors in the case. The issues have been the subject of negotiations during the past year. The primary agreement involves the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the City of Salida, Colorado State Parks and the Division of Wildlife. Other agreements involve Aurora, Trout Unlimited, Lake County and Pueblo West, among others...

"The Chaffee County request calls for 1,800 cubic feet per second of water in the Arkansas River through Buena Vista and Salida during eight [base "]event[per thou] days in June. The event days are flexible depending upon when the annual FIBArk festival is scheduled in Salida and upon timing of a planned annual whitewater festival in Buena Vista. The request calls for 1,400 cfs during the remainder of June and 700 cfs in July and August as managed by the current voluntary flow program. The call is for 250 cfs the rest of the year...

"As part of the stipulations with objectors, Chaffee County agreed to yield to exchanges that could reduce the peak decree from 1,800 to as little as 1,400 cfs in certain circumstances. During drought, the county agreed to reduce its decree to 1,500 cfs during event days and 1,100 cfs for the rest of June...

Category: Colorado Water

6:42:43 AM    

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In a rare moment of sanity amongst the unbridled growth in eastern Colorado, El Paso County commissioners delayed the startup of a new development until they're assured that there will be water available, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article, "The county acted after a water court ruled last week that the local water district didn't have enough water to cover its commitments. Plans for thousands more homes could be affected.

"The county commissioners postponed until April 27 final plat approval for The Ranch at Whispering Springs, a 33-acre, 185-house development planned south of Barnes Road and west of Antelope Ridge Road...

"But county commissioners delayed the decision while County Attorney Bill Louis studies the impact of the ruling last Friday by state Water Court Judge Dennis Maes.

"Maes ruled that Cherokee Metropolitan District, which promised to supply water for Whispering Springs, does not have enough water.

"Cherokee provides municipal service, including water, to about 5,250 homes and 350 businesses in Cimarron Hills plus the 300-acre Claremont Ranch development under construction and other developments east of the city, primarily along Marksheffel Road.

"Cherokee's water supply is from the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Designated Groundwater Basin. Maes ruled that Cherokee is improperly relying on water it pumps from the basin to meet commitments to customers outside the basin...

"Maes ordered Cherokee to stop using water from the northern wells to supply out of basin customers. Upper Black Squirrel Groundwater Management District President Kathy Hare faulted the county commissioners for approving new subdivisions willy-nilly."

Category: Colorado Water

6:22:52 AM    

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