Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

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From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Kara Lamb) about Horsetooth Reservoir: "Some of you might have noticed the drop in water elevations from last week, through last weekend. As you probably already guessed, the hot temperatures brought out the water demands. On Monday, we started matching the outflow from Horsetooth with a bumped up inflow. Our goal is to maintain the current water level elevation of 5400 for a while, at least through the end of this month. So, if you're planning on visiting the reservoir this weekend or sooner, we are comfortably sitting at the 5400 elevation."

Green Mountain Reservoir: "Recent rain in the area has bumped up inflow to Green Mountain Reservoir. As a result, we've bumped up our releases by about 50 cfs. There should be about 400 cfs in the Lower Blue by this evening."

Category: Colorado Water

7:52:13 PM    

Say hello to Spencer Speaks, Jim Spencer's new weblog. Mr. Spencer takes up Congressional shenanigans this week it this post. He writes, "You wonder how much more indecision the American public will take. The Senate's all-night Iraq War discussion that lasted from Tuesday into Wednesday was, as Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar pointed out, a 'robust debate.'"

Here's his RSS Feed. Welcome back to the conversation Mr. Spencer. We'll be watching.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

7:42:40 PM    

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Here's a update on the restoration of the Lower Owens River. It's at the center of the most well-known city water grab in the West. From the article:

...the Lower Owens River, a 62-mile-long stretch left essentially dry in 1913 after its flows of Sierra snowmelt were diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. After decades of political bickering, water was directed back into the riverbed in December, launching the largest river restoration effort ever attempted in the West. Ecologists knew the Lower Owens would come back to life. But how fast would it rebuild itself? Which wildlife would appear first? Which plants? Scientists have been surprised by some of the early answers...

...striking displays of birds, fish and insects already setting up shop during the restored river's first summer. The water ran cold and, in this part of the channel, about knee deep. But the water was so clear that it seemed as though the kayaks were moving barely above the gravel bottom. Locals call this vast, arid region, about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, The Big Quiet. It's easy to see why. The only sounds were the slosh of waves along the hulls, the dip of paddle blades and the occasional melodic "konk-la-ree" of red-winged blackbirds nesting in bulrushes. "Wow! Look at that," [Mark Hill] said, nodding toward a cloud of baby largemouth bass -- evidence of the species' first spawn in the revived river system -- wafting through water lilies...

The water, which comes from the Upper Owens River, began its journey high in the Sierra Nevada. Most water from the Upper Owens continues to pour into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, but some now heads into the Lower Owens and travels 62 miles to Owens Lake, which was left dry after the aqueduct opened in 1913...

Groundwater has recharged and risen faster than anticipated and oxygen levels remain high, creating hundreds of channels and ponds that will soon become ideal habitat for waterfowl and fish. Later this year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to release pulses of water at rates of 200 cubic feet per second to mimic annual flood cycles and distribute willow seeds. If all goes according to plan, within a decade, willows will cloak the banks, creating shady canopies over pools that Hill predicted would be prime bass and catfish real estate. But the arrival of some species means the departure of others. When willows and cottonwoods finally shade parts of the river, sun-hungry moss will disappear from those areas. Some desert shrubs, such as salt brush, rabbit brush and bitter weed, are already dying because they don't like the high water table. We're witnessing the start of a recovery that will occur in stages in what has become an enormous outdoor laboratory for river restoration, Hill said. During a recent flight over the Lower Owens, pilot and local motel owner Martin Powell banked his single-engine Cessna over glistening marshlands north of the community of Lone Pine and said, It's as green as I've ever seen it. There's a lot of sand down there seeing water for the first time outside of a rainstorm. Very nice. Very nice.

Coyote Gulch loves a good river story.

Category: Colorado Water

6:17:19 PM    

Colorado Confidential: "While they aren't necessarily household names, most people who are politically aware have some idea about the judicial ideology of the justices of the United States Supeme Court. In contrast, even many of the tens of thousands of Colorado lawyers don't know our state's supreme court justices very well. A statistical analysis of the 57 opinions delivered by the Colorado Supreme Court so far in 2007, and in particular, of the 16 dissenting and 10 concurring opinions issued so far this year, provides some insight into the dynamics of Colorado's highest state court."

Category: Colorado Water

5:57:40 PM    

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Here's a background piece about a Colorado State University study of cropping techniques, from The Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

As the temperature hovered at 100 degrees Tuesday afternoon, corn leaves twisted into spirals under the hot sun. Twenty-five or so observers gathered under the shade of a canopy on a nearby farm, coming to see firsthand an agricultural research project of Colorado State University. The corn is growing in test plots on a farm now owned by the Parker Water and Sanitation District. Some of it is twisting because it is being deprived of the normal amount of irrigation water.

CSU is investigating cropping system options, looking for ways to meet growing urban water needs and at the same time maintaining economic returns to agriculture and to rural communities. The study is a partnership with Parker Water, which has bought about a dozen irrigated farms along the South Platte River from Iliff to Proctor...

The plots are irrigated with a linear sprinkler, which rolls across the field in a straight line. T & L Irrigation built the sprinkler as a research tool, with a specially designed control panel that allows the water to selected nozzles to be turned off. This way, designated plots can receive less water than others.

Please be sure to read the whole article.

5:55:56 AM    

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U.S. Senator Ken Salazar's proposal to study more storage in Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake (along with a possible dam on Fountain Creek) has been endorsed by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Salazar's bill would not appropriate any money for the study and would not authorize construction of any project. It also strips any mention of regional intergovernmental agreements or mitigation measures included in other recent water storage bills. "We've been challenged by other parties (in storage negotiations) to support a study bill. In my opinion, this is a study bill," said John Singletary, Lower Ark chairman. "The Fountain is an important ingredient. This is a way to move forward." The Lower Ark has been in negotiations with potential storage beneficiaries and affected parties for more than two years. Lake County is considering a vote in 2008 to join the district, which now includes Bent, Crowley, Otero, Prowers and Pueblo counties. Other board members agreed and voted unanimously to support the bill.

Category: Colorado Water

5:44:04 AM    

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U.S. Senator Wayne Allard has announced more congressional dough for projects along the South Platte River, according to The Greeley Tribune (free registration required). From the article:

Allard said Wednesday he has secured more than $20 million for Colorado agricultural projects, including $500,000 to install water management system improvements in the South Platte River basin. The funding is on top of a previous $300,000 sum Allard secured in June for water management along the South Platte. The water management project will install flow meters and automated data loggers with communications devices on existing irrigation wells along the river. The Central Colorado Water Conservancy District has already installed meters on 800 wells, and additional funding will allow them to buy and install flow meters on many of the remaining wells. The funding also will allow the installation of data loggers with communications devices on all 1,200 wells within the water district...

The new meter-based system will allow the water district to establish a usage baseline, which will help with conservation and resource management. The meters will enable farmers within the district, which is roughly from Brighton to Wiggins along the South Platte, to meet state pumping regulations and monitor how much water must be replaced in the river each year. A Senate subcommittee approved the funding Tuesday, and the full Appropriations Committee, of which Allard is a member, is expected to approve the Department of Agriculture's spending bill on Thursday.

Category: Colorado Water

5:36:27 AM    

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