Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

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Science Blog: "The humble beaver, besides claiming a spot of honour on the Canadian nickel, is also helping fellow species survive.

"Though considered a pest because of the culvert-clogging dams it builds on streams, the beaver is an ally in conserving valuable wetland habitat for declining amphibian populations, a University of Alberta study shows.

"The study, conducted in the boreal forests of west-central Alberta, showed that frog and toad choruses are only present on streams where beaver dams are present. While surveying the calls of male frogs and toads engaged in acoustic displays for females, researchers recorded approximately 5,000 boreal chorus frogs, wood frogs and western toads at 54 beaver ponds over a two-year period. Pitfall traps on beaver ponds captured 5.7 times more newly metamorphosed wood frogs, 29 times more western toads and 24 times more boreal chorus frogs than on nearby free-flowing streams."

Category: Colorado Water

8:32:09 PM    

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Our friends at the Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance write, "DARCA is pleased to announce its 5th Annual Convention, 'Go With The Flow', to be held February 22-23, 2007 in Sterling, CO. We have an exciting line-up designed to appeal to ditch company shareholders, boards and staff."

Category: Colorado Water

6:52:31 AM    

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According to the Brush News-Tribune local officials are hatching a plan to extend the life of water wells in the area. From the article, "At a regular meeting of the Brush city council, councilors heard from city administrator Monty Torres and water committee member Steve Treadway on the possibility of extending the life of Brush's high quality well-fields with reverse osmosis treatment. It was noted that Julesburg and Brighton - two municipalities remarkably different in size - both operate on 100 percent reverse osmosis treatment. 'We would be blending the treated ground water with water from our well fields,' Torres noted to the council. Torres also noted in a memo to the council that the reverse osmosis treatment would extend the life of the city's well fields, lessen the impact of Colorado Energy Management's water usage and provide Brush with an emergency water supply."

Category: Colorado Water

6:08:31 AM    

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According to today's Summit Daily News (free registration required) HB 1036: Concerning Restrictions on the Ability of Governmental Bodies to Acquire Specified Water Rights through the Exercise of the Power of Eminent Domain, was introduced in the Colorado Legislature. The bill would, "Bar the state and other political subdivisions from using eminent domain to acquire appropriated water rights."

Category: Colorado Water

5:59:25 AM    

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Here's an update on the Arkansas Valley Conduit from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "Tension and frustration over a proposed $330 million drinking water pipeline surfaced Wednesday as a committee reviewed the slow progress of the project. Carl McClure, who has tried to push additional water allocations toward the Arkansas Valley Conduit, claimed his efforts have been short-circuited by other members of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board and staff members. McClure is the Southeastern director from Crowley County. Meanwhile, Joe Petramala of the South Swink water district, told the advisory committee that small water users with limited budgets are becoming frustrated with the time and money being thrown at a conduit that still has no guarantee of being constructed. Finally, lobbyist Ray Kogovsek's forecast for additional funding for the project in the next year was cloudy, given uncertainty over most parts of the federal budget. There are three bills in Congress to authorize 80 percent federal funding of the conduit, and Southeastern officials will travel to Washington later this month to assess their chances for passage. One bright ray in the day was a decision later by the Arkansas Valley Roundtable to recommend approval of a $200,000 planning grant for the conduit to the Colorado Water Conservation Board...

"Minimum water needs for the Arkansas Valley Conduit could be provided through Fryingpan-Arkansas Project allocations, if certain changes in allocations are approved, according to a proposal under consideration by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District: A minimum of 9,367 acre-feet of water would be needed in the conduit by 2050, based on population increases projected by the state demographer; Current demand is 6,555 acre-feet; The 1979 allocation principles set aside 12 percent of allocations to communities east of Pueblo. An average of 55,000 acre-feet of imports and floodwater would yield and average 6,600 acre-feet annually; The Southeastern allocation committee in October approved a proposal to put 2.18 percent of annual allocations to the conduit; The board has not considered the proposal which would average 1,200 acre-feet; Reusable return flows, about 20 percent of the imported water, would average 1,560 acre-feet, bringing total water available near the desired 2050 goal."

Category: Colorado Water

5:42:10 AM    

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The Sierra Club took some shots at Colorado Springs over the city's assertions about Fountain Creek this week, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "The Sierra Club is accusing Colorado Springs of making false and frivolous assertions to a judge regarding its case against the city over pollution in Fountain Creek. The environmental group made the accusation in a new filing to U.S. District Judge Walker Miller. He is presiding over lawsuits by the club and Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut against the city...

"Sierra said Colorado Springs' assertions were made in a filing to the judge describing actions by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment against the city's discharges of pollution into the creek. The club told Miller that the city falsely asserted that the state agency imposed compliance orders on Colorado Springs that cover every violation for which the club is suing. The environmental group said the city's filing claimed Sierra wants the judge to order new and different relief for the same alleged violations."

"The environmental group ridiculed the city's contention that its sewage system violations are wholly past. 'That is frivolous because they have had (an additional) 19 discharges of raw sewage or nonpotable water into Fountain Creek since Sierra Club's (lawsuit) was filed' 13 months ago, the club asserted. Sierra's filing also disputed Colorado Springs' contention that its spills are like those that generally occur in any sewage system. The club contended the city's spills are different because they 'are more in number, over a greater length of time and are continuing.' Sierra and Colorado Springs don't agree even on what the Clean Water Act says. The city contends the act bars the lawsuits because the health department already has dealt with the violations. The environmental group contends the 'plain language' of the act 'specifically provides for' lawsuits of the type it filed."

Category: Colorado Water

5:36:31 AM    

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Here's an update on snowpack from the Greely Tribune (free registration required). From the article, "While the eastern half of the state continues to dig out from three major snowstorms, snow in the mountains has been about average -- which isn't all that bad. That's according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service's automated SNOTEL -- SNOpack TELemetry -- network. That network revealed that the statewide snowpack as of Jan. 1 was 96 percent of average and was 94 percent of last year's readings on the same date. Physical readings of other snow fields in the mountains will begin at the end of this month and be conducted monthly through the first of April...

"As of the first of this year snowpack totals ranged from 128 percent of average in the South Platte River basin to a low of 77 percent in some of the southern river basins. 'The late December blizzards helped boost the South Platte and Arkansas basins to the highest statewide percentages in the state," [USDA State conservationist Allen] Green said. While those averages are high along the Front Range, snowpack averages on the Western Slope and southern part of the state are below average, he added...

"Reservoir storage statewide continues to track at below average volumes for this time of the year and ranges from a high of 108 percent in the Gunnison and Yampa/White basins and 110 percent in southern Colorado, to a low of 77 percent in the South Platte and 63 percent in the Rio Grande. Statewide, reservoir storage is 99 percent of the long-term average."

Category: Colorado Water

5:30:48 AM    

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