Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

Subscribe to "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.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A picture named stormwateroutlet.jpg

All you water nuts will love the photos of Center Pivot Sprinklers from SLVDweller. They write, "SLV Dweller loves the way center pivot sprinklers look, even though we know they are a pretty inefficient use of water. "

Category: Colorado Water

6:01:45 PM    

A picture named stormwateroutlet.jpg

Colorado Springs is looking at adjusting wastewater rates, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

...the city is looking at adjusting its bills, not to generate more money but to distribute the cost more fairly. It appears residential customers are getting the better end of the deal. Commercial and industrial customers account for only 18 percent of the treated volume but are billed for 35 percent of the total. That and other inequities should be eliminated, Utilities officials said last week when they requested permission to adjust how wastewater bills are computed. The City Council, acting as the Utility Board, told staffers to base this fall's rate case on the revision...

For decades, the city has based year-round wastewater bills on an average of the lowest two months of freshwater use from December to February. Over time, that method has led to the city processing more sewage than it gets paid for, although the current rates have allowed the utility to recover its costs. The city recently analyzed the problem as it prepares to bring a new wastewater plant -- the J.D. Phillips Water Reclamation Facility at Mark Dabling and Garden of the Gods roads -- online next month. It's also drawing up plans for a third plant south of the city and looking at cost recovery issues. The proposed method calls for basing wastewater rates yearround on the average water use from November through March or actual use, whichever is less...

He said the changes will be "revenue neutral," meaning the amount of money won't change, although individual billings are likely to. Bills could go up or down, but nearly two-thirds will have changes of less than 10 percent. In one analysis, the annual residential charge declined by $9.32. Grossman said if the new method is approved, it would be used with Jan. 1, 2008, billings based on water usage in November and December.

Category: Colorado Water

6:30:57 AM    

A picture named puebloreservoir.jpg

Delays in legislation authorizing the Preferred Options Storage Plan have entities that get water from the Arkansas Basin looking to other plans, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

With plans to look at enlarging Lake Pueblo shelved for the foreseeable future, other options are moving ahead. Slowly. Just as no one has ever been sure that Lake Pueblo can be safely enlarged, the alternatives to enlargement are equally uncertain. Water projects take years to plan and complete. Planners are moving more cautiously than ever in a time when water quality, recreational and environmental concerns must be considered...

In the short-term, Colorado Springs is already pursuing a 40-year "if-and-when" contract to store 28,000 acre-feet in Lake Pueblo...

The uncertainty has prompted U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., to step in. Salazar offered a plan Saturday to study the proposed PSOP enlargement of Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake, along with a multipurpose dam on Fountain Creek, that could proceed without the IGAs. Water providers just learned of his plan and will need time to consider it, however...

Excess capacity contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation give water users the opportunity to store water in Lake Pueblo if and when it is not full of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water brought over from the Fryingpan River through the Boustead Tunnel at Turquoise Lake. That's most of the time, since Lake Pueblo rarely fills - on average there is about 131,000 acre-feet of space available in Lake Pueblo, or half of its non-flood capacity. Before the drought of 2002, Reclamation excess capacity contracts averaged about 15,000 acre-feet annually. Since then, the average has grown to more than 25,000 acre-feet annually and requests grow every year. In 2006, Reclamation determined up to 80,000 acre-feet of water could be stored without a significant environmental impact over the next five years...

The Pueblo Board of Water Works obtained the first long-term excess capacity contract in 2000 with a 25-year deal that will eventually allow up to 15,000 acre-feet. Aurora just completed negotiations for a 40-year contract for 10,000 acre-feet of storage, which it would use to move water out of the valley...

The other part of PSOP was the excess capacity plan, which appears to be progressing without clear direction from Congress. PSOP legislation in 2004 sought to legitimize Aurora's place in the valley, which Southeastern earlier had questioned. Legislation introduced this year by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., suggested just the opposite - that Fry-Ark legislation never intended the project as a vehicle for moving water out of the valley. Even within the valley, it's not clear who can or cannot use the lake to store water and under what terms. Most users store under year-to-year contracts rather than a long-term plan...

Pueblo West had hoped to gain 5,500 acre-feet of firm space, a one-year supply, in Lake Pueblo enlargement. Now, [Don Saling, manager of the Pueblo West Metro District] is looking at a long-term contract as his best option. It has relied on one-year if-and-when contracts since 1999, a process Saling calls "tedious."

[Colorado Springs] already has spent $11 million on environmental studies for its Southern Delivery System, a $1 billion-plus plan to supply Colorado Springs water needs until 2046, and could face another round of environmental expenses on the excess-capacity contract. Nevertheless, the city of 400,000 is planning to apply for the long-term contract before year's end and wants to have SDS online by 2012. Initially, the 28,000 acre-foot contract will be sufficient for SDS, or any of the alternatives under review by Reclamation. However, Colorado Springs hoped to gain 30,000 acre-feet from Lake Pueblo enlargement and will look at other options if that plan stays on the shelf, [Gary Bostrom, water supply general manager for Colorado Springs Utilities] said...

For Fountain, a partner with Colorado Springs in SDS, PSOP lost much of its attraction three years ago when Larry Patterson took over as utilities manager. One of Patterson's first steps was to reduce participation in SDS from 14 percent to 3 percent. At the same time, the city withdrew its request for 10,000 acre-feet under potential enlargement of Lake Pueblo...

Fountain relies on 50 percent groundwater and 50 percent surface water to serve a booming population of more than 21,000. Some of the ditch rights it is buying are used to augment flows reduced by groundwater pumping. The trade-off was that Fountain had to build a reverse osmosis plant to treat water, also expensive, but more reliable than the timely completion of SDS and PSOP, Patterson said...

The Pueblo Board of Water Works continues to work toward expansion of Clear Creek Reservoir as an alternative to the 5,000 acre-feet it hoped to gain through Lake Pueblo expansion. The water court filing for the expansion came shortly after PSOP failed in Congress for the fourth year in 2004...

Meanwhile, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District continues to contest Reclamation's ability to contract with Aurora - one of the biggest loose ends as PSOP legislation stalls. Lower Ark has a 400 acre-foot temporary storage contract, but isn't eligible for a long-term contract because much of the district is outside the tightly drawn Southeastern boundaries.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here, here, here, here and here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:21:36 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 6/30/07; 9:43:53 AM.
June 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
May   Jul

e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.