Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

Urban Drainage and Flood Control District

Subscribe to "Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A picture named southerndeliverysystem.jpg

Judge Maes ruled yesterday that Colorado Springs must obtain a county land-use permit from Pueblo County for the proposed Southern Delivery System, according to The Pueblo Journal. From the article:

Colorado Springs is required to file for a county land-use permit for a proposed water pipeline under Pueblo County zoning regulations, a judge ruled Thursday. Judge Dennis Maes ruled against a motion by Colorado Springs, whose lawyer David Eason argued the permit was not needed because utility easements were contemplated before 1974, when HB1041 allowed counties to issue permits for activities of state interest. Pueblo County's land-use attorney Ray Petros countered that Colorado Springs is required to obtain permits from the county for its proposed Southern Delivery System, claiming there would be significant construction, as well as impacts to roads, property and Fountain Creek if the pipeline is built. In granting Pueblo's motion for summary judgment, Maes said Colorado Springs is not exempt from the county's permitting process, and must apply for a special use permit in order to proceed with the pipeline. "There has been substantial and continuing change since ... 1974, in all aspects of life, including land use. While certain uses may have been contemplated in 1974, it is arguable that not all uses were contemplated," Maes wrote in the order...

During a motions hearing last month, Petros argued that the scope of the project required review under the county's 1041 regulations. The project includes a 42-foot high, 14,000-square-foot pump station at the base of Pueblo Dam, a 220-foot river crossing and 24 road crossings. The pipeline would require a 100-foot-wide easement over 20 miles, about 238 acres, that would cross 130 parcels, with 26 of the lots currently occupied by homes. Eason argued the pipeline would follow an existing utilities corridor. Colorado Springs has not decided yet whether to appeal the decision, Eason said. "Springs Utilities is reviewing the judge's decision at this time. No decision has been made as to an appeal, and all options are being evaluated," Eason said.

Here's another point of view from The Colorado Springs Gazette. They write:

A Pueblo District Court judge Thursday ruled against Colorado Springs in its bid to sidestep local land-use regulations in Pueblo County to build its 46-mile water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir. "Obviously, we're disappointed in the decision," Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera said. The long-awaited ruling means the city now must take its chances with the Pueblo County Commission, which has been unfriendly to the pipeline project, or appeal Judge Dennis Mayes' [sic] decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals. "I don't think the result in this case is anything other than what we expected, given the court we were in," said Colorado Springs Utilities counsel David Eason. Eason said the defeat may not delay the Southern Delivery System project, which is needed within about five years to supply water to the northeast part of the city. "I do not believe the court's determination will have any material effect on the project's timing, given the other regulatory processes the project is involved in," he said. Eason was referring to a required environmental impact study, for which a draft is due in early 2008. A decision from the Bureau of Reclamation, which will choose a preferred pathway for the pipeline from seven alternatives, is due after that.

Given that process spanning at least another year, there is time to appeal the decision, Eason said, although no decision on an appeal has been made. The city also could seek permission to build the pipeline by filing an application with Pueblo County under HB1041 rules, which allow local governments to make land-use decisions on projects that pass through their jurisdictions. Colorado Springs filed suit in El Paso County District Court in November 2005, alleging 1041 rules don't apply to the project. The city argued that the Pueblo County land was zoned for utility use in the 1970s, and because of that, the pipeline was exempt from 1041 rules. In 2005, Pueblo County changed its 1041 regulations -- some say in an effort to block the Southern Delivery System. "It's the city's point of view that the 2005 revisions, amendments and new regulations would make it more expensive, time consuming and potentially far more difficult to plan and build the project," Eason said. That's why the city sought to skirt the regulations, arguing the project should be allowed under a 1041 exemption. Eason said the city could file a 1041 application with Pueblo County and appeal Mayes' [sic] decision concurrently. The city could opt for a different path for the pipeline that avoids Pueblo County.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:25:33 AM    

A picture named watersprinkler.jpg

Western Resource Advocates has released a new report that looks at water use amongst Front Range cities, according to The Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

Small, fast-growing cities on the Front Range are remarkably savvy about their water use, and large cities such as Colorado Springs, Aurora and Denver are doing more to ensure that their long-term use is wise, a report says. Berthoud, Louisville and Erie residents, for example, use only 109, 119, and 120 gallons per capita per day, respectively, according to the report, titled "Front Range Water Meter."

Produced by Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, the report examined water pricing, conservation budgets, and residential and commercial water use in 13 Front Range cities. It found that Colorado Springs, Aurora, Boulder and Denver have reduced water use dramatically since before the drought, with Colorado Springs residents using only 96 gallons per person per day in 2006, a 32 percent reduction since 2000. These cities also have the most sophisticated conservation programs, offering healthy incentives to large users to save more, and a range of rebates to ensure that homes and lawns begin to use less, too...

But the report said cities must do more to ensure that water is used wisely. Among the report's recommendations is that all cities set long-term conservation targets, that they track annual water use and that they consider ways to extend existing supplies before seeking new sources.

More coverage from The Boulder Daily Camera. They write:

Many of the communities, stretching from Colorado Springs to Fort Morgan on Colorado's northeastern plains, are looking at increasing their water supplies. [Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi, a water policy analyst] said they might be able to delay or eliminate the need for more sources through conservation.

Aurora, with a population of roughly 300,000, got the highest score in the report, 72 out of a possible 100. Denver Water, which serves about 1.1 million customers and is run by a board appointed by the Denver mayor, was next with 68 points, followed by Boulder with 66 and Colorado Springs with 60. The rankings take into account water rates, water loss, conservation funding and efficiency. Other cities in the survey were Evans, Louisville, Erie, Longmont, Broomfield, Loveland, Berthoud, Fort Lupton and Fort Morgan. The report said pricing plans that charge more as usage increase are a good incentive to conserve and keep water affordable to lower-income consumers.

Loveland, a quickly growing city of nearly 59,000 north of Denver, is among those that charge the same regardless of individual use. "As a result, high-volume use customers in these cities have no price incentive to conserve water," the report said. Ralph Mullinix, director of Loveland's water and power department, said the city bases its rates on what it costs to deliver water to customers. He said he believes charging higher rates for higher water use penalizes low-income customers. Instead, Mullinix said, Loveland has chosen to educate customers about conservation and encouraged landscaping that doesn't need as much water. Last year, Loveland was about in the middle of the pack for single-family residential use at 123 gallons per person per day. Colorado Springs consumed the least, 96 gallons.

Water use declined by more than 15 percent between 2000 and 2006 in Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Loveland and Erie. Fort Lupton was the only city whose per capita use rose during that period: by 40 gallons per person per day, or 39 percent. Technology to detect leaks, breaks in lines and other waste helped reduce losses, the report said. Less than 5 percent of the water in the Broomfield, Berthoud, Denver and Aurora systems couldn't be accounted for last year. But Louisville, Loveland and Fort Lupton couldn't account for at least 13 percent of the water in their system, according to the report. The utilities didn't collect revenue on that water.

More coverage from The Denver Post. They write:

Aurora Water, which has been in a decade-long quest to bolster water supplies to meet growth, leads the pack in conservation through incentives, rebates, ordinances and a sliding rate structure in which big users pay more. "It's a viable and effective and sustainable way to offset the need to go out and build big supply projects" such as new reservoirs and pipelines, said city water director Peter Binney. The aggressive campaign stemmed from the 2002 drought, when the city's water supply dropped to 26 percent of capacity and additional supplies were uncertain.

The Denver Water Board has 15 people working full-time on water conservation and related jobs, such as leak monitoring. It is the only utility with a public advertising campaign aimed at conservation. Even before the drought, the agency had targeted saving 30,000 acre-feet of water by 2050 to help meet increasing demands, offering a full slate of incentives, ordinances and rates to slash usage. "This agency has really embraced conservation as one of the ways to meet the needs for the future," said Liz Gardiner, manager of water conservation. The effort has paid off, she said, although Denver residents still use more water per capita - about 137 gallons a day - than most of their suburban neighbors.

Category: Colorado Water

7:05:42 AM    

A picture named carterlake.jpg

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan, "The Water Resources Development Act that inspired Congress to override a presidential veto includes funding for a pipeline project out of Carter Lake. The bill, which carries $120 million for Colorado water projects, includes $10 million to build a pipeline from Carter Lake west of Loveland to a water treatment plant at Boulder Reservoir. The 21-mile pipe would be owned by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, said district spokesman Brian Werner. The district's water projects are a major source of water for Fort Collins. The $10 million in the bill would be shared by the project's participating entities -- the city of Boulder, the town of Frederick, the Left Hand Water District and the Little Thompson Water District, Werner said. The total cost of the pipeline is expected to be around $33 million, with the participating entities paying the difference. The pipe would be 36 inches to 45 inches in diameter. It would follow the right of way of an existing pipeline for about 14 miles."

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

President Bush lost his first veto battle with Congress on Thursday when the Senate voted 79-14 to reapprove a $23 billion water project bill that the House affirmed earlier in the week. Bush had vetoed the popular water resources bill last week, saying it authorized too much federal spending. Colorado's Sens. Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard split on the issue with Salazar, the Democrat, voting with the majority to approve the legislation, which includes a $79 million authorization to begin work on the Arkansas Valley Conduit project. Allard, a Republican, has traditionally supported the conduit project but backed President Bush's veto of the legislation, saying it had become bloated with projects for both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The White House had not expected Congress to uphold the veto, given the heavy majorities in both the House and Senate in favor of the measure. Except for spending bills for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president has taken a hard line with Congress on appropriation bills that exceed his budget requests. He did not veto any bills - spending bills or otherwise - during the first six years of his administration, when Republicans were in the majority in Congress. Salazar said the water legislation was needed and credited both Democratic and Republican lawmakers with overriding the veto. "Today we were able to override the president's veto and will now be able to move forward on providing funding for urgent water projects that will have critical and long-lasting impact in Colorado," he said in a statement...

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is a pipeline project that would carry water from Lake Pueblo to communities along the Arkansas River.

Other Colorado items in the water resources bill include: Instructions to the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Fountain Creek watershed study. Authorization for $25 million environmental management program for the Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley. Approval for a $10 million pipeline in Boulder County.

More coverage from The Denver Post. They write:

Six of the nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation voted to override President Bush's veto of legislation authorizing water projects, the first override of Bush's presidency. "I am disappointed the president did not sign this bill because he understands the problems we face in the West with water quality and scarcity," said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan. "Congress has been working on this bill for several years now, it is not like it was just slammed through like other recent bills." Musgrave was the sole Republican in Colorado's congressional delegation to vote against the president. In the House, Musgrave and Democratic Reps. Diana Degette of Denver, Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs, John Salazar of Manassa, and Ed Perlmutter of Golden voted to override. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, voted against the override. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton, did not vote. In the Senate, Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. voted to override and Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. opposed.

The legislation does not guarantee any of the work will be done, however. The projects still must be funded through a separate process that the House and Senate must agree on and send to President Bush.

More coverage from The Lamar Ledger. They write:

Tara Hendershott from Sen. Allard's office said the senator chose to vote against the bill because of the extensive backlog with the Army Corp of Engineers, the agency responsible for completing water projects. "There is a huge backlog of over $58 billion and the senator feels that some of these projects need to be accomplished first." While the WRDA authorizes the conduit, funding still must be appropriated said Hendershott. She added that the senator would continue to seek appropriations for projects in the Arkansas Valley.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:59:22 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 12/1/07; 10:28:45 AM.
November 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  
Oct   Dec