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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Thursday, November 29, 2007

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The Pueblo City Council has approved the intergovernmental agreement to supply water for Lake Minnequa, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The city is a step closer to developing Lake Minnequa Park. The Pueblo City Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Pueblo Board of Water Works and the Lower Arkansas Conservancy District to put water into Lake Minnequa. The lake is a key piece to the city's plans for controlling stormwater runoff and the featured component to its plans for building a large recreational area in the Minnequa Heights neighborhood. The agreement will ensure that the water board will provide 450 acre-feet of water to offset the loss in the lake due to evaporation. The conservancy district will commit 250 acre-feet of water to provide "freshening flows" to keep the lake from going stagnant. The water board has approved the IGA, but the conservancy district has yet to hear it. Councilwoman Vera Oregon said it was important to note the water board's commitment was worth roughly $2.5 million. District 4 Councilman Ray Aguilera, whose district includes the lake, said the agreement was a long time coming. "It seems like this project was started when I first got on council and that was five years ago," Aguilera said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:05:07 AM    

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Denver Water raised tap fees yesterday, according to The Denver Post. From the article: "Tap fees will increase an average of 7 percent to cover costs of adding water capacity within the city, effective Jan. 14...Residential tap fees include a flat charge per house, plus a charge based on the square footage of a lot. Under the adjustment, residential tap fees inside the city increase from $2,000 to $2,125 for the flat charge, and from 43 cents to 46 cents for the per-square-foot charge. For example, the tap fee for an 8,500-square-foot lot in Denver is $5,655; in 2008 it will be $6,035. Denver Water serves about 1 million people. The utility expects to add about 2,300 new taps next year, for about $23 million, [David] LaFrance said."

Category: Colorado Water

6:58:03 AM    

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The Southwestern Water Conservancy District and the Colorado River District are huddling up today in Montrose to discuss climate change and other effects on managing the Colorado river under the Colorado River Compact, according to The Durango Herald. From the article:

Uncertainty about what could happen if predictions of global warming prove accurate or the Southwest suffers another drought have become the root of concern of two Western Colorado water districts. The concern is such that board members of the Southwestern Water Conservation District and the Colorado River Water Conservation District are scheduled to meet Thursday to share thoughts, Southwestern's legal counsel Barry Spear said Tuesday.

The meeting, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in Montrose [in the Montrose Pavilion, 1800 Pavilion Drive.], will take up two main issues:

- What options are available to the two boards - the only Colorado water-conservation districts west of the Continental Divide - if there were a "call" on the Colorado River? A call is the exercising of a right by a water user to take the amount of water to which it's entitled - even if another user goes without...

- How should the Bureau of Reclamation manage water in Lake Powell and Lake Mead in the case of a drought? The lakes store Colorado River water - and other water - for downstream users. "Most people thought an agreement had been reached last year," Spear said. "But not quite. Arizona is not aboard, and so negotiations continue." Next month, the U.S. Department of Interior will issue a decision on how Lake Mead and Lake Powell will be administered in case of shortages, Spear said. Thursday's meeting in Montrose will review possible options of the 1922 Colorado River agreement. Water attorney David Robbins, who has acted as special counsel to Southwestern, will discuss administration of the agreement and court cases elsewhere that are relevant to the agreement, Spear said. Board members of the two water districts also will discuss what their response would be to water shortages and demands from other states, and what measures could be taken to lessen the effects, Spear said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:53:22 AM    

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Here's a recap of the recent meeting of the Republican River Riparian Partnership conference in McCook, Nebraska on Tuesday, from McCook Daily Gazette. From the article:

A speaker at the Republican River Riparian Partnership conference in McCook Tuesday encouraged Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas to work together as "one tri-state area," rather than as adversaries, to address the challenges facing the river that provides an invaluable lifeline for each state. Scott Chartier, a fish expert from Wray, Colo., encouraged those gathered to discuss what they want the Republican to look like in "YR2037 and Beyond," to depend only on research that is not "politically motivated." Rick Mullaney of Sterling, Colo., coordinator of the Northeast Colorado Resource Conservation and Development, (formerly of the RC&D office in Cambridge), and Rick Hedke of Trenton, coordinator of the Southwest Weed Management Area Project, echoed Chartier's advice. Mullaney encouraged those at the conference, "to get rid of political borders." Hedke stressed the importance of "cross state-line planning." Mullaney listed some of the challenges: environment, weeds, fuel shortages, social changes/labor force, economics (global and local) and, "politics -- they're bigger than we want to admit." But, Mullaney said he often repeats the old adage: "Do what you've always done -- you get what you've always gotten." Do something different, Mullaney said, and the outcome will be different.

More coverage from The McCook Daily Gazette. They write:

Production and business strategies will be redefined in the future, but that's nothing new to the farming industry, Welp said. The Colorado farmer said those who farm in the future won't be the first or the last to adapt to the changing conditions in the Republican River Basin. "Resourceful farmers and community members will achieve compliance and conserve water to protect our heritage and our future," said Welp, who anticipates more involvement with government and state agencies. With more involvement will come a shift from production and marketing to becoming more politically involved, Welp said. Closer relationships with government agencies will allow more involvement with rule making, he said. And, farmers will still be irrigating in the future, he said, but probably will be doing it differently than now. Water conservation methods will be fine-tuned, resulting in slower depletions from the aquifer, using new technologies, programs and incentives. Irrigation will continue in the basin, he said, but be revised. After all, he said, "We're doing it differently than what our fathers did 30 years ago."

Category: Colorado Water

6:39:10 AM    

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Western Slope officials and Denver Water have struck a deal over water rights on the Eagle River. and the development of a new reservoir new Wolcott, according to The Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

Denver Water will give up millions of gallons of water in the scenic Eagle River, water it had once counted on for future customers, under a legal settlement unveiled Wednesday. In exchange, Denver preserves some of its water rights in the river and receives the right to participate in a new reservoir project at Wolcott, if all the parties, including Eagle County water users, agree it should be built. The settlement is considered a breakthrough in the stalemate between Denver and the West Slope over how to serve both fast-growing regions without harming streams or allowing chronic water shortages to develop...

The agreement is important for the West Slope because it leaves much of the water in question in the river, a move that will ensure supplies for fast-growing Vail and other Eagle County communities. It also will help protect stream flows in the Eagle and the drought-strapped Colorado River, to which the Eagle is tributary. "It's quite a step," said Brian Werner, a spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which serves Fort Collins and Boulder, among others. "It's probably the first significant movement we've seen in East/West talks in a long time." Northern is one of the parties to the settlement. The Denver Water Board approved the terms of the proposal Wednesday. The other parties also have agreed to the terms.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:28:32 AM    

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Those interested in the new FEMA floodplain map for Basalt can view it at the town hall, according to The Aspen Times. From the article:

FEMA updated its flood plain maps for all of Eagle County this year. The last major revision was performed in 1987. Those maps are critical to property owners in flood-prone areas like Basalt. The town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, to ensure that private property owners can obtain coverage. Left to the free market, flood insurance might be price prohibitive, if not impossible to obtain. FEMA requires Basalt to meet some minimum standards to qualify for NFIP. It must adopt the latest FEMA flood plain maps and regulate land use accordingly. The Town Council took those steps at its meeting Tuesday night despite misgivings expressed by [Bob] Myers.

Category: Colorado Water

6:21:38 AM    

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Here's a short article speculating about the makeup of the new Colorado Water Conservation Board with the naming of Jennifer Gimbel as Director, from The Denver Post. They write:

Kayak parks and other recreational water uses will be considered "more fairly" after political changes on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, state water officials said Wednesday. The appointment this week of a new agency director and the replacement of a board member known for his antipathy toward "non-consumptive uses" marks a turning point in how those proposals will be viewed under Gov. Bill Ritter, according to water officials and advocates. "We're looking to dramatically change our position," Alexandra Davis, assistant water director for the Division of Natural Resources, told the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments' influential Water Quality and Quantity Committee. The recreational water rights -- first created by state water courts in 1992 and established in law a decade later -- are part of the state's seniority-based priority system and require that upstream users allow sufficient amounts of water to flow past. Under recently retired director Rod Kuharich, the 11-member appointed board often opposed proposals for attractions such as kayak parks sought by more than a dozen towns, ranging from Steamboat Springs to Pueblo...

Jennifer Gimbel, a water-law expert who was named as the [CWCB] board's new director Tuesday. Geoff Blakeslee, the Yampa River project director for the Nature Conservancy, took the seat formerly held by rancher Tom Sharp, an outspoken critic of setting aside water for recreation rather than traditional uses, such as agriculture and municipal supplies.

More coverage from The Summit Daily News (free registration required). They write:

Jennifer L. Gimbel was named director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board on Wednesday, replacing Rod Kuharich, who retired in June. The Water Conservation Board is responsible for protecting and conserving the state's water, planning for droughts, planning water projects, and identifying and mitigating flood hazards. Gimbel, an attorney, has worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation since 2001 in positions including associate director of operations, manager of the environmental and water resources office and policy analyst. Since 2005, she has been chairwoman of the interior secretary's Indian Water Rights Working Group.

More Coyote Gulch coverage of RICDs here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:12:14 AM    

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