Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

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Andrew Sullivan has been pushing the meme The View From Your Window for a good long time now.

Click on the thumbnail to see the sunset from our office at West 3rd and the South Platte River. We snapped the shot this afternoon between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.

9:48:43 PM    

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La Plata county is considering asking for water rights on the Animas River in response to Durango's RICD application, according to the Durango Herald. From the article, "La Plata County commissioners are scheduled today to consider asking for water rights on the Animas River and two tributaries. The county's application for water rights is a response to the city of Durango's intention to earmark water for kayakers at Smelter Rapid on the Animas behind Santa Rita Park. Other water interests, too, are concerned about coming up short if the city's application is approved by a water court. A number of opponents, including La Plata County, earlier this year filed oppositions to Durango's bid for what is called a Recreational In-Channel Diversion. Short of a negotiated settlement, the matter is scheduled for trial in May 2007. Ditch companies, homeowner associations and regional water interests fear that water for recreation could mean other water users would go without. Under Colorado law, water - when it's available - goes to the user with the earliest court-ordered allocation. La Plata County is not looking for recreational water. The water-right resolution before commissioners today cites irrigation, livestock, household and "other beneficial uses" as the reason for the application."

Category: Colorado Water

6:16:30 AM    

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Wow, water will start flowing into the Owens Valley, out in California, again. This is a big deal indeed. Here's the story from the Christian Science Monitor. They write, "At a dusty desert ceremony 235 miles north of the city Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will close a century-long chapter on what may be the biggest water grab in the history of the American West. Mr. Villaraigosa will push a button to send water flowing down a 62-mile stretch of rocky culverts and scrubland once known as the Lower Owens River. The move effectively turns the clock back to 1913, before city fathers diverted the water that flowed down from the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, and channeled it to Los Angeles. That diversion, orchestrated after years of backroom deals (chronicled in the 1974 classic, 'Chinatown'), helped give rise to America's second-largest city. But it turned the mountain-ringed valley into a desert. Now, several officials call the current effort the most ambitious river restoration ever attempted in the US. It will create a flowing river through what is now dry land dotted only with tiny pools of runoff. The project comes after decades of animosity between northern and southern California that led to a 1970 court case and a 1997 promise by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to return the water by 2003...

"Mr. Nahai says that because four new pumps will then return the redirected water to the L.A. aqueduct after its 62-mile journey, the project will barely affect L.A.'s water supply. But the new agreement will mean Los Angeles customers will have to find about 9,000 acre feet of water - roughly the needs of 9,000 homes for one year - from other sources, such as the Colorado River, or through better reclamation, reuse, and conservation. But Nahai and other officials say the city has been successful with conservation efforts as a result of public education campaigns, tested during intermittent droughts since the 1980s. Though Los Angeles has added more than 750,000 residents since 1986, it uses the same amount of water today as then."

Category: Colorado Water

6:08:18 AM    

Democrats are bucking their image and organizing to further the recent gains seen here in the west, according to the Denver Post. From the article, "A group of the West's most influential Democrats is creating a new organization to try to capitalize on the party's recent success in the Rocky Mountain states and deliver the region's electoral votes to the Democratic ticket in 2008. The New West Project, headquartered in Denver, will conduct research and develop strategies to secure and exploit recent Democratic gains in the Western states, party sources said. At least four Western governors - Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Bill Ritter, Colorado's governor-elect - are expected to lead the group's advisory council, the sources said. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado and other members of Congress will provide "strategic guidance.' Reid confirmed the creation of the new organization, which he said would 'build upon the leadership of people such as governors Napolitano, Richardson and Schweitzer' and 'work to focus attention on the West.'[...]

"Doug Sosnik, who was a political adviser and White House counselor to President Clinton, is set to be the group's president, and Rep. Alice Madden, the Colorado House majority leader, will serve as vice president. Salazar said the new group would work to 'develop a regional Democratic strategy' that would shift the political spotlight "away from the coasts" and to the interior West. 'A few years ago, there was a sense that Democrats had been buried forever and that Republican domination in those states would characterize the first quarter of the new century,' Salazar said. 'We have succeeded in reversing those trends. We now have governors in five of the eight (mountain) states and have elected a U.S. senator in Montana ... and Colorado.' Reid spoke of how political analysts focused on Ohio's role in the 2004 election, where a switch of about 60,000 votes would have delivered the state's 20 electoral votes - and the White House - to the Democrats. But that same small swing of 60,000 out West, Reid said, would have won Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry the 19 electoral votes of Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, and the presidency. The Rocky Mountain region, Reid said, has been 'simply ignored in the past' by national Democrats. Recent gains by Democrats in Colorado, Arizona, Montana and other mountain states have demonstrated that Westerners "are not bound and determined to vote red (Republican) anymore.' In addition to promoting Western opportunities within the Democratic Party, sources said, the new organization will conduct polling research, analyze data from recent elections and stage conferences where prospective candidates, political scientists and other analysts can discuss the West and the Western electorate."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

5:49:03 AM    

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