Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dear Denver is trying to spark some municipal microblogging. From their post:

We hope this blog will become a forum where -- as in the case of Ruby Hill/Xcel -- residents, elected officials and other interested parties such as lobbyists and corporations can publish information and opinion, and check in periodically for updates.

One commenter said that this blog "democratized" information regarding Ruby Hill/Xcel. We'd like to see more of that. Everyone reading this blog has the opportunity to post a diary entry. When you sign in, click "New Diary" in the menu at the upper right, and post your own items -- announce a neighborhood meeting, tell your zoning horror story, whatever.

Xcel and city officials are welcome to post rebuttals and whatnot, although pseudonymous participation is advised for everyone. The point of this blog is not to shout down you or anyone else. It's to give more people a chance to speak -- sometimes at length -- about city issues.

6:27:29 PM    

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GeoCommunity: "The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Colorado Water Science Center will conduct a dye-tracing study for Toll Gate Creek in Aurora, Colo., from July 9 to August 5. During this time, non-toxic red dye, rhodamine WT, will be released into the creek and will be monitored as it flows downstream."


Rhodamine WT, the fluorescent red dye used in this study and commonly used in other hydrologic studies, is non-toxic and safe for the environment. The dye will be released at various locations which lie to the north of Mexico Avenue and to the west of Buckley Road, and monitored at downstream locations by USGS hydrologists. The study will provide estimates of the time it takes for water in the creek to flow through Aurora. These estimates can be used to understand the movement of contaminants that can be introduced to the stream either by design or as the result of an accidental spill. The study is part of ongoing work by the USGS and the City of Aurora. Information on USGS studies of water resources in Colorado is available at the Colorado Water Science Center Web site.

Category: Colorado Water

7:04:29 AM    

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From Business Wire, "American Water, the largest water services provider in North America, today announced that Ellen Wolf, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed a seat on the Board of Directors of Water For People (WFP), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe drinking water to impoverished people in developing countries throughout the world. The decision came as a result of Wolf's extensive leadership efforts to support Water For People, a world leader in sustainable water solutions."

Category: Colorado Water

6:57:27 AM    

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Today is the big re-dedication of Elkhead Reservoir. Here's an article about the reservoir and ceremony from The Craig Daily Press. They write:

The reservoir was drained in December 2004, to begin work on the recent expansion project, doubling the size of the lake. Cooperation between the Colorado River District, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Species Recovery Program, the city of Craig, Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Craig Station power plant made the project a reality. Construction on the dam was completed September 21, 2006, with Ames Construction workers beginning a second shift in August and working 20 hours each day, six days a week. The project raised the water level 20 feet, doubling the capacity to 25,550 acre-feet.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:47:36 AM    

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From today's Rocky Mountain News, "After a five-year recovery from drought, Antero Reservoir will welcome anglers to a more low-profile reunion. Gates to the almost legendary reservoir in South Park will swing open at 9 a.m. Tuesday. That's nap time for crack- of-dawn anglers."

Category: Colorado Water

6:43:01 AM    

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Here's Part IV of The Denver Post's series about the South Platte River recreation spots. Today they're focusing on Clear Creek. From the article:

Any day of the spring, summer or fall, you can find climbers scaling the canyon's 400- plus routes. It wasn't until the late 1980s, with the advent of bolted sport climbing, that climbers began seeing the canyon in a different light. While the South Platte's crack-addled granite domes along its North and South forks and the quartzite and sandstone of the South Platte Basin's Eldorado Canyon have lured climbers for several decades, Clear Creek's gneiss and schist remained largely unclimbed until about 20 years ago. The lack of cracks made climbing there difficult until the bolting era forever changed the sport...

Technically, Clear Creek Canyon reaches west past Silver Plume. The creek begins its journey into Commerce City, where it meets the South Platte, atop the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass. At the tiny hamlet of Lawson, it meets the West Fork, where upstream a Class V+ torrential jungle of downed timber and insanely tight gorges offer expert paddlers a dangerous thrill. At Golden, the city's Clear Creek Whitewater Park has gained international recognition as a glittering example of how a kayaker's playground can become a communal asset. Built in 1998 with a mere $165,000, the park draws thousands of visitors, some simply spectating and others paddling. On any given day, dozens to hundreds of paddlers, tubers and swimmers mingle with ambling visitors enjoying the river's idyllic embrace...

Below Golden, Clear Creek meanders through the Coors Brewery's operations before becoming a shallow, rippling respite engulfed by urban Denver. It sneaks beneath freeways and through gladed groves on its trip to the South Platte. Along the way, the Clear Creek bike path parallels the creek, with parks and shaded pull-outs providing one of the quietest stretches of paved bike trail in the metro area.

Category: Colorado Water

6:40:00 AM    

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Here's an article about the first ever Burning Mountain Festival raft and kayak races on July 21st, from The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (free registration required). From the article:

All of the races will take place on the Colorado River, starting 1/2 mile upstream of the New Castle interchange on Interstate 70. The course will flow for one mile, ending at the concrete boat ramp at Coal Steam River Park. "It's Class II water so it's pretty easy going, but we did add some twists," Lloyd said. There will be two eddy stops with buoys. River racers will have to pull in and touch the buoy with either their paddle or their body. Then they have to pull back out and head down the river. The first race will be the novice kayak race, feature a men's and women's division, which is set to sail at 2 p.m. The advanced kayaking race, which also has a men's and a women's division, will follow at 2:45 p.m. At 3 p.m., the rafting race will hit the water. The raft race is limited to paddle boats and can have two, four or six paddlers, one of which has to be a female. The cost to race is $25 per person. Interested river racers can register at /BMF.htm. There will also be same-day registration up to one hour before each event.

Category: Colorado Water

6:29:10 AM    

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Most water watchers in the West agree that global warming is happening and that water supplies will be lower in the future. Here's an article about a new report [Press release here] dealing with water supply sustainability from The Rocky Mountain News. They write:

Western water utilities should take the lead in finding innovative ways to cope with water shortages and other problems triggered by global warming, according to a report released Tuesday. "The debate is over about whether it's real," said Barry Nelson, co-author of the Natural Resources Defense Council report, titled "In Hot Water: Water Management Strategies to Weather the Effects of Global Warming" [pdf]. "But the discussion is just beginning about how we respond. Urban water agencies understand this is a significant new challenge," he said...

"Several factors suggest real cause for concern," Nelson said. "Higher temps mean more water is going to evaporate rather than run off into our rivers. We should be prepared to see a permanent reduction in Colorado River flows." Forging new partnerships will be key, the report suggests. For instance, water agencies might join forces with electric utilities to push for conservation, because collecting and delivering water is energy intense...

It also suggests that water utilities form new regional partnerships to address shortages and water quality issues that likely extend beyond traditional service boundaries. Despite the West's legendary inability to cooperate where water is concerned, Nelson said that water agencies are well-suited for the task.

More coverage from Common They write:

[Barry Nelson, study co-author and co-director of NRDC's western water project] said global warming can reduce water supply in several ways. In some regions, altered weather patterns may simply cause less precipitation, but the total amount is only half the story. It also matters whether precipitation falls as rain or snow. In most of the West, mountain snowpack is a natural reservoir that gradually supplies water when it's needed during spring and summer. Warmer temperatures may cause winter precipitation to fall as rain, instead of snow, reducing this water supply. Finally, hotter summer temperatures will cause more water to evaporate out of watersheds, rivers and reservoirs. "Whether you're turning on the tap in Los Angeles, irrigating a crop in Colorado, fishing for salmon on the Columbia River or rafting down the Grand Canyon, there will likely be less water," said Nelson. "Global warming will affect water supply for everyone in the West." The NRDC report breaks new ground by analyzing the effects of global warming on a full range of water management tools and offering comprehensive recommendations to help meet the challenge. Conservation tops the list of proven water supply solutions.

Category: Colorado Water

6:21:30 AM    

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Here's a look at nuclear power and its potential pitfalls as a "clean" energy source from The Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the opinion piece:

One of the most advertised solutions are nuclear power plants. They are supposed to produce "clean energy" without the emissions that coal power plants release. As of May 2007, there are 436 nuclear power plants in use worldwide and 31 under construction. The United States is planning on adding about 30 new power plants over the next 15 years to the 103 running right now, and China wants to build 30 reactors over the next 20 years. Nuclear energy is now the second-largest energy source after coal in the United States and accounts for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. electricity generation...

... greenhouse gases are released during the mining and the transportation of the uranium that is needed in the reactor. The estimated amount of uranium the United States required for its reactors in 2006 was 19,715 metric tons. Also, because uranium is not a renewable resource, every 18 to 24 months a third of the uranium in a plant has to be replaced. The used fuel has to be transported and stored in a radioactive waste facility. Spent fuel is toxic for billions of years and there is no safe place to store it. All U.S. plants together produce 2,000 tons of radioactive waste every year...

In addition, "waste generated from uranium mining operations and rainwater runoff can contaminate groundwater and surface water resources with heavy metals and traces of radioactive uranium" (Nuclear Energy Institute). If you support nuclear power plants, you support uranium mining and its consequences.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:08:04 AM    

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