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

Central Colorado Water Conservancy District

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Monday, May 26, 2008

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Here's the lowdown on Nestlé's plans for the Hagen Springs near Nathrop, from Ed Quillen (via The Denver Post). From the article:

Nestle has been shopping for augmentation water to replace the 0.3 cubic feet per second of water that it plans to haul out of this basin. That works out to about 135 gallons per minute, or 194,400 gallons per day, which weighs 811 tons.

This will go to the Denver bottling plant, not by pipeline or rail, but by truck. I called a local trucking company, where the manager explained that the maximum loaded weight allowed on highways like U.S. 285 is 85,000 pounds, or 42.5 tons. An empty semi tractor and tanker weigh about 15 tons, she said, so the payload will be about 27.5 tons. Divide that into the 811 daily tons of water to haul, and it works out to 30 round-trips a day.

The trucking manager said big semis -- averaging full and empty -- get 4.5 miles per gallon. Figure 250 miles from Nathrop to Denver and back, and each round trip will consume about 56 gallons of fuel to haul 6,480 gallons of mountain spring water. Divide that out, and the result is that the transport of each liter of water requires about 1.74 teaspoons of diesel fuel. Since diesel fuel and kerosene are pretty much that same, this inspires a proposal for a new labeling system: the Equivalent Kerosene Quotient, or EKQ (also my initials).

If it were in effect, then the label on every liter bottle of Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water would be required to list, in type big enough to read without a magnifying glass, something like "1.74 teaspoons EKQ," and the smaller type could explain that "Even though you do not taste or imbibe the EKQ in this product, that is the amount of kerosene required merely to transport from spring to bottling plant. Other EKQ will be added during the process of bottling, as well as transport to retailers and refrigeration afterward. Further, this does not include the EKQ of any petrochemicals used in making the bottle."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
9:26:21 AM    

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Here's a look back a uranium mining times past from The Grand Junction Free Press. From the article:

Calamity, Outlaw, Tenderfoot, Maverick, Flattop, Beaver. All storied mesas in southwest Colorado and also storied places in the history of uranium mining in the area.

Given last week's column on uranium mill tailings and their impact on Boom(er) Times in Grand Junction, it seems logical to complete the circle with a brief history of the activities from which those pesky sands developed. Some discussion is also appropriate given the fact that there's been talk of the impact of renewed uranium mining in the area, especially in light of discussion of proposed wilderness areas from Dominguez Canyon and down south along the Dolores River...

Legendary figures such as Moab's Charlie Steen and Vernon Pick, a sometimes Grand Junction resident, scoured canyons and mesas via airplane or burro, but most often in surplus military jeeps. They sometimes lived in tents or patched together shacks while looking for the rock that would cause a ticking sound on their Geiger counters.

Pick and his wife had less than $300 to their name when he barely survived the journey back to Grand Junction after staking his claims along the Dirty Devil River near Hanksville, Utah, in the 1950s. He later sold the mine for $9 million.

Steen, who prospected between Cisco, Utah, and Dove Creek, had about $375 in mostly borrowed money in his pocket in late 1951. A few months later, he decided to give up but reconsidered when friends loaned more money to keep him prospecting. In July of 1952 he discovered the ore body that became the legendary Mi Vida mine that yielded a reported $61 million worth of high-grade uranium. That same name graced his home in Moab, which later became a restaurant overlooking the town after Steen was forced into bankruptcy...

"History records ... that mining rushes produce more paupers than millionaires," [Al Look wrote of the 1950s boom], "This one was no exception."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
9:17:01 AM    

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It looks like there is formal opposition to a filing that would assign a 1904 water right to water in Wyoming's Pathfinder Reservoir for the Platte River Cooperative agreement, according to The Casper Star Tribune. From the article:

In January, the Bureau of Reclamation filed a petition with the state Board of Control seeking a change in use for 53,493 acre feet of Pathfinder's water and asking that water be assigned a 1904 water right. The petition seeks a dedication of 33,493 acre feet for fish and wildlife purposes in Nebraska and asks that the other 20,000 acre feet be changed to municipal uses that would be made available to the state of Wyoming and leased to Wyoming cities and towns. If the change in use for the 54,493 acre feet is approved, two things will happen, [Saratoga resident Joe Glode] said: "The condition of the habitat will deteriorate," and there will be a loss of large tracts of open land which will be broken up into ranchettes, "much like you have near ski areas...I like it this way better," Glode said.

BuRec officials say the change is needed to comply with an agreement involving Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado to provide water for endangered species in Nebraska. Wyoming has agreed to contribute $6 million for an extension of the Pathfinder Dam, an effort to compensate for storage capacity lost to sediment buildup. The program calls for some reservoir water to be sent downstream to preserve endangered species. BuRec officials also say the change in use wouldn't hurt upstream water users.

Glode simply doesn't believe the government officials. He says the BuRec's theories about how to take the 54,493 acre feet of water and do no harm to Platte Valley ranchers don't hold water. Glode and Fritz Holleman, a Boulder, Colo., attorney working for the two North Platte groups, both say this change in use plan violates Wyoming water law. According to Holleman, because Pathfinder was authorized for irrigation in 1904, the requests are for new uses, which isn't allowed under Wyoming law.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Reclamation and new uses not authorized by legislation is also the snag over the Aurora long-term contract they signed last year.

Category: Colorado Water
9:01:16 AM    

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