Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

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Durango Herald: "March's abundant snowfall in Southwest Colorado will help spring runoff, but the generous snow may not benefit everyone equally. 'March has been good to us,' said Pat Page, water-management team leader at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Durango. 'But then, it's supposed to be good to us.' Page said area reservoirs are well above their historic levels for this time of year, with snow runoff still to come. Meanwhile, fire officials are resting a little bit easier than a month ago, and a weatherman predicted above-normal precipitation may be headed to the high country.

"Pat Greer, who lives on the ranch in Marvel where he was born in 1933, takes the long view of weather. 'March put a smile on our faces, but we don't know how long it will last,' Greer said. 'The snow in the mountains looks good, but it'll be gone in a flash - probably before we're ready to use it.'"

Category: Colorado Water

10:19:27 AM    

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Durango Herald: "Bayfield has stopped issuing building permits and sewer taps after the state imposed a cease-and-desist order this week against the Bayfield Sanitation District, which has exceeded its discharge limits. And now town officials fear the order could cripple their economy for months. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued the order against the sanitation district, which is not owned by the town. The order prohibits the district from issuing new sewer taps that feed into the district's main plant, which covers all of Bayfield and some surrounding areas. The order also instructs the district to prevent the town from issuing building permits that would result in more waste flowing into the district's plant. While the town questions the legality of the last directive, interim Bayfield Town Manager Joe Crain said the town has agreed to stop issuing building permits. But much of the Bayfield economy depends on construction, he noted, and many residents have construction jobs...

"The cease-and-desist order will remain in effect until the sanitation district: Performs a flow-and-loading study that assesses the plant's ability to comply with permit limits; Completes an engineering evaluation that assesses the plant's short-term and long-term needs; Completes a plant expansion to meet capacity needs for at least the next five years...

"Expanding the plant could take as few as 30 days, said Floyd "Bud" Smith, lawyer for the district, or it could take two to three months. It all depends on how quickly the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approves an application for expansion, what improvements the department requires and how long it takes to receive equipment, he said."

Category: Colorado Water

10:02:56 AM    

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From today's Rocky Mountain News: "The Senate approved and sent to the House on a vote of 35-0 SB 179 [Concerning Additional Financial Support For Water Projects], creating a water supply reserve account to provide financial support for water projects."

Category: Colorado Water

9:54:49 AM    

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Here's an update, from the Pueblo Chieftain, about the lawsuit brought by Pueblo and the Sierra Club against Colorado Springs for polluting Fountain Creek. From the artlcle, "Colorado Springs on Friday denied any liability for polluting Fountain Creek with sewage. The city also asked a judge to throw out two lawsuits alleging that the city repeatedly has violated the federal Clean Water Act by illegally discharging sewage and excessive chlorine into the creek. Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut and the Sierra Club made the allegations in lawsuits they filed late last year in federal court and now consolidated into one case. Colorado Springs gave its response in court for the first time in filings Friday. It said if it prevails in the litigation, it will ask a judge to order Thiebaut's office and the Sierra Club to pay the city's legal fees in defending against the lawsuit. Colorado Springs took the position that the plaintiffs do not have the right under the Clean Water Act to sue because the state government, which is responsible for enforcing the act, already has taken enforcement action regarding the discharges. The city contended that the plaintiffs do not have legal standing to sue because they have not shown they have suffered injury from the discharges. Thiebaut, as district attorney, 'has no statutory or other legal authority' to file the suit, the city also argued."

Category: Colorado Water

9:48:00 AM    

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April 1st is the big day for measuring snowpack around Colorado. The experts are predicting water supplies for the coming summer. Here's a short article from the Rocky Mountain News. They write, "Mountain snowpack totals going into the spring melting season bode well for Front Range water utilities, with end-of-March numbers showing statewide snow buildup at 97 percent of historical averages. The two river basins most important to metro-area water supplies are rich in snow, with the Colorado River basin showing snowpack at 111 percent of average, and the South Platte at 108 percent of average...

"Overall, March snowfall was a bounty across Colorado. A month ago, the statewide total was just 88 percent of average, with the South Platte basin at 102 percent. The late March/early April snowpack numbers are the most anticipated of the season for water utilities, which use the totals to begin planning for spring and summer usage. That's because the spring meltdown typically begins in another week or two, meaning the snowpack is likely at its peak...

"The snowpack numbers aren't as bright for the southwestern part of the state, where four major basins have snowpack totals between 65 percent and 70 percent of average. Those numbers could create water shortages in that part of Colorado, Gillespie said. But March snows did help the region, where snowpack was less than 50 percent of average just a month ago."

Category: Colorado Water

9:28:32 AM    

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Last update: 12/29/06; 11:25:48 AM.
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