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

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Friday, November 16, 2007

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The Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project are moving ahead, according to a report from the The Greeley Tribune (free registration required). From the article:

The construction of two major water projects in northern Colorado is advancing and will come under public preview in the next few months. Officials with the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District gave about 150 water users and providers updates on the Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project, both of which include the construction of new reservoirs in the region...

Don Carlson, assistant general manger of the district, said 1,480 pages of the technical report on the Windy Gap project are complete. The plan is to have the environmental impact statement on that project ready for review by March or April with the public review ready by July or August. The proposed $250 million project involves the construction of a new reservoir west of Carter Lake, which is west of Loveland. The new reservoir would be used to store water from Windy Gap, which is below Lake Granby on the Western Slope. That water is delivered to the east side of the mountains through the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The Windy Gap Firming Project is part of the water district's municipal subdistrict and includes 14 participants to construct the new reservoir to help meet future water demands.

The Northern Integrated Supply Project, in conjunction with the South Platte Water Conservation Project, is designed to provide 15 water providers in the region with an additional 40,000 acre-feet of water per year...The project involves the 170,000 acre-foot Glade Reservoir northwest of Fort Collins, and the Galeton Reservoir, east of Ault, would hold about 40,000 acre-feet. Glade would be filled with water from the Poudre River as it comes out of the canyon; Galeton would be filled by water from the South Platte. Two irrigation companies that use Poudre River water for irrigation would use the water from the Galeton Reservoir, thereby freeing up the 40,000 acre-feet of water for use by municipal and industrial users who would take the water from Glade. Carl Brouwer, project manager, said the draft of the environmental impact statement has been reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The district is in the process of reviewing Corps changes, and a 90-day public comment period could start as early as January. "We expect to get some negative comments, but positive comments carry the same weight," Brouwer said in encouraging the audience to participate in those public comment sessions which will be scheduled soon after the first of the year. Design of the $400 million project could begin as early as August or September of next year, Brouwer said with construction to start a year or two later...

The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is changing its name. Eric Wilkinson, the district's general manager, said Tuesday the district will be simply known as Northern Water. "It's easier to talk to us by saying Northern Water," Wilkinson said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:52:46 AM    

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The city of Grand Lake is looking to beef up controls on stormwater runoff into the Grand Lake, according to The Sky-Hi Daily News. From the article:

Mounting water-clarity issues in Colorado's largest natural lake has prompted various water users and governments to point fingers at who's to blame. In the meantime, the town of Grand Lake, which borders its namesake, is setting itself up to improve storm water drainage. "It's no news to anyone here that our lake quality has been less than desirable," wrote Grand Lake Town Manager Shane Hale in a Nov. 9 memo to the town board. "And like it or not, we are currently part of the problem, not the solution."

This sentiment has been shared by the Northern Water Conservancy District as it supplies 213,000 acre feet annually to the East Slope from water that flows through Grand Lake, as Grand County attempts to establish a water-clarity standard for the degrading lake. Meanwhile, Colorado's largest transmountain water diversion project, The Colorado-Big Thompson Project, has been blamed for being the culprit behind Grand Lake's and Shadow Mountain Reservoir's declining clarity as it pumps nutrient-rich waters opposite natural flows. Grand Lake, the former headwaters of the Colorado River and the only natural lake in the system, is the last link to a series of reservoirs and canals through which water travels before being transported under the Continental Divide to agricultural, municipal and industrial users.

The town of Grand Lake's present storm-water drainage system comprises a 42-inch pipe that directs snowmelt and rain into the lake. ypical storm water constituents, such as sediment, phosphorous from sources such as detergents and fertilizers, sodium chloride from roads, magnesium from the sediment itself and from cars, and oil and grease from automobiles and machines for recreation, can collect in the drainage. Dubbed as Colorado's snowmobile capital, the town sees a wealth of downtown snowmobile traffic each winter, providing their share of pollutants...

Thus, the town is looking into a storm water "cleaning" mechanism and has enlisted [George] Elliot along with Kevin Vecchiarelli of JVA Consulting Engineers, Winter Park, to provide input. Although concise data has not yet been collected about the types of pollutants entering into the lake from town storm drainage, preliminary research suggests that further filtration is needed. n a preliminary proposal to the town Monday, Vecchiarelli and Elliot suggested a vortex cleaning system, or "Aqua Swirl Concentrator," that ensures solids do not get through with an added filter to capture dissolved metals. For further "polishing," Elliot suggests implementing a treatment wetland along the shore for natural sediment filtration...

A ballpark cost of $260,000 on the high end was quoted for these improvements. "Our responsibility is to fix it," Hale said. "It's not a question of whether to fund it, it's how we fund it." Hale suggested the town set aside the full amount in the 2008 budget to show that it is serious about its storm water treatment, as well as contract with Elliot and Vecchiarelli to continue with research and planning. Meanwhile, the town would pursue state grants for the project, expected to cover 60 percent of the costs. hat leaves an estimated $110,000 the town could possibly spend on storm water improvements in the year 2009.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:42:43 AM    

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Here's a report from a meeting about water issues held last week down in the Westcliffe from The Wet Mountain Tribune. From the article:

Apparently, when talking about water the masses will come. Some 70 Valley residents packed into the courtroom at the courthouse Friday night to hear what local, regional and state water experts had to say about various local water issues. Facilitating the information-gathering assembly was county commissioner Dick Downey. Downey also serves on the county's natural resources team, a spin off of the county economic development committee. The natural resources committee sponsored the gathering of water officials in an effort to get all the entities together at the table to address common water concerns.

The panel of experts included Chris Haga with the Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District, and Keith Hood with the Wet Mountain Valley Water Users Association. Also, Terry Scanga and Ivan Walters with the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Steve Witte with Division Two of Colorado Water Engineers Office in Pueblo, and Pat Edelmann and Ken Watts of the United States Geological Survey office in Pueblo attended...

When local Ag teacher Tom Flower asked if water would ever be a limiting factor for growth in the Valley, Witte responded that high capacity wells are allowed only through an augmentation plan. Witte also noted exempt domestic wells are allowed only on parcels of at least 35 acres. And, when county zoning employee Elizabeth French stated three houses were allowed per well on a 35-acre plot, Witte had to go through the state water law book to make sure she was correct...

Rock Canda asked if a moratorium had ever been placed on wells in Colorado. Again, Witte responded, "Yes, in Eastern Colorado but only for irrigation wells, not exempt ones." Christy Veltrie asked what was being done about subdivisions developed in the 1980s with a planned 50 percent full time occupancy; however, it has grown to nearly 100 percent full time residency. Again, Witte responded provisions in state statutes require water use to be curtailed if the subdivision is exceeding its overall allowed use. Scanga and Walter noted the UAWCD monitors the water use in Custer County's subdivisions...

[Commissioner Kit Shy] also asked about plans to build additional reservoirs in the state. Scanga and Walters noted they are working with RMW in hopes of building one in Custer County.

Category: Colorado Water

6:17:34 AM    

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Powertech, the company hoping to mine uranium in Weld County has responded to U.S. Senator Ken Salazar's request for the EPA to fully evaluate the potential effects of the operation on the Denver Basin Aquifers, reports the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald. From the article:

Powertech Uranium Corp., said in a prepared statement Thursday that it welcomes Sen. Ken Salazar's interest in the company's plans to mine uranium about 10 miles northeast of Fort Collins. 'We welcome full involvement of elected officials to assure the public that the fears disseminated by opposing groups are unfounded,' said Richard Clement, president of Powertech. Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, wrote the Environmental Protection Agency recently, asking the agency to take into account the uranium mine's potential effects on the large Denver Basin underground water formation, and not just the smaller Laramie-Fox Hill aquifer near the proposed mine site."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:07:15 AM    

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