Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Monday, June 18, 2007

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Here's a recap of the FIBArk competition over the weekend, from the the Pueblo Chieftain.

Category: Colorado Water

6:58:09 AM    

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Here's a report on the effects of groundwater pumping on older surface rights holders in the San Luis Valley, from the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

A group of surface water users in the Conejos River drainage, who claim their senior water rights have been damaged by groundwater pumping, has turned to the state engineer's office for help. The San Antonio, Los Pinos and Conejos River Acequia Preservation Association represents a number of water users from acequias, or ditches, with priority dates stretching back to the 1850s and 1860s. "Right now we're just asking for the priority system to be recognized and operated as mandated in the state engineer's duties," said Kelly Sowards, a Manassa rancher who serves as chairman of the preservation association. For nearly four decades, the state engineer and local water-use agencies have tried to juggle the growing use of groundwater wells for irrigation, the demands of the Rio Grande Compact and the water rights of senior owners. Members of the preservation association, who formed their group in October, feel they've gotten the short end of the stick from that juggling process.

The association has hired Arvada-based attorney Tim Buchanan, who represented some surface rights owners in the events that led to the closure of wells along the South Platte River last year. Buchanan penned a letter in May to the now-retired state Engineer Hal Simpson. The letter asked that he take action to regulate the wells according to the priority doctrine. It also called for the engineer's office to shut down pumping at any wells that did not have augmentation or substitute water supply plans that would allow them to divert water out of priority.

Simpson's response stated that the owners of the senior rights had not been clearly identified in Buchanan's letter, making it unclear who the injured parties were. Moreover, Simpson pointed to groundwater management subdistricts - authorized by the state this year - that would have management plans whose objectives would include the prevention of injury to senior surface water rights. For the past 22 years, the surface rights owners on the Conejos have held off on taking action in the hopes that the Closed Basin Project, which came on line in mid-1990s, would ease the burden surface users had to satisfy the compact. The project delivers groundwater from the northern part of the San Luis Valley, into the Rio Grande. A 1985 agreement between the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and the Conejos Water Conservancy District laid out the terms for dividing the project's yield. It called for 60 percent of the Closed Basin's yield to be credited to the Rio Grande's allotment in satisfying the compact. The other 40 percent would be credited toward the Conejos' contribution. The pact, which came to be known the 60-40 agreement, also had a clause that required the Conejos district to waive all claims of injury against surface wells inside the Rio Grande district at the time of the agreement. The 60-40 agreement hinges on the project's ability to produce at least 250,000 acre feet in any 10-year period. From 1997 to 2006, the project has produced roughly 223,000 acre feet.

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:36:53 AM    

New West: "Way back in Nov. 2006 I wrote about the possibility that the financial side of the renewable-energy business - venture funding, private-equity investments, and so on - was showing bubble-icious signs. The founders of Denver-based BioFuel Energy found out yesterday how warily Wall St. views cleantech startups: after cutting its offering price twice in the run-up to its IPO, Biofuel opened at $10.50 and closed at ... $10.51."

From The Cherry Creek News, "On Wednesday, June 20, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) 'Quest for Solutions' lecture series will present 'Biofuels: Panacea...or Pandora's Box.' RMI co-founder and world-renowned energy expert Amory Lovins will participate in the panel discussion, which will be moderated by Senior Consultant Lena Hansen of RMI's Energy and Resources team. Also speaking on the panel are Thomas Foust of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) biofuels program, and Mark Wong, President and CEO of Renewable Agricultural Energy (RAE), which is scheduled to add 500 million gallons of corn-ethanol production in the next few years."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:18:19 AM    

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Four west slope roundtables [not detailed in the article, likely Colorado, Gunnison, White/Yampa, San Juan/Dolores] are meeting today in Montrose as the Colorado River Basins Roundtables caucus. The Interbasin Compact Committee will also meet tomorrow in Montrose, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

The four-roundtable meeting is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the Montrose Pavilion. The Interbasin Compact Committee is to meet from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. the following day at the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S. Townsend Ave. The 27-member committee includes representatives from all nine roundtables and addresses basin issues in a statewide forum. The meetings are open to the public.

Category: Colorado Water

5:58:26 AM    

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