Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From The Valley Courier, "Saying they did not feel it was their battle to fight, the Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board members in their July meeting opted not to file a protest against oil and gas leases the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may open up in the San Luis Valley. Chris Canaly, director of SLV Ecosystem Council, asked the board to weigh in on the issue before the July 25 deadline to file protests with the BLM. She said the Ecosystem Council was filing a protest, and she asked the water board to consider sending a letter as well. 'We see this as an opportunity to make a stand in terms of areas we feel are really important to protect,' Canaly said."

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:51:55 PM    

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Say hello to restoringrivers. They're, "Chronicling the science/art/business of stream restoration." Good idea.

A couple of days ago they were linking to this article about restoring an estuary from a cow pasture. Here in Colorado one thing we know about is cow pastures. Here's their RSS Feed.

From the first post:

I am a grad student in ecology. Although my research interests are diverse within the area of stream ecology, I have done a lot of work on ecological evaluation of stream restoration and the current state of stream restoration as a whole. This blog is a continuation of that effort, a place to chronicle the daily reports of stream restoration in the news, recent scientific literature on stream restoration ecology, and hopefully host some discussion of stream restoration. I'm hoping to bring on some of my fellow researchers as co-bloggers. Stay tuned here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:29:38 PM    

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The Spring Creek Flood anniversary is this week. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network was started after the tragedy. From Colorado State University:

Nolan Doesken, then assistant state climatologist and senior research associate for Colorado State University, came up with a simple but effective method of weather detection. In the spring of 1998, he formed a network of volunteers - called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) - to take daily measurements of rain, snow and hail using a simple rain gauge and foil-wrapped Styrofoam pads. Today, CoCoRaHS has a national coordinator, Henry Reges, and major national reach with 4,500 active volunteers and several new states coming on board every year. Volunteers are active in 19 states or regions: Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Expected to join within the next few months are Iowa, Florida, New York and North Carolina.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:38:28 AM    

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From The Craig Daily Press, "The Colorado River District announced Wednesday that new water supplies stored in the newly enlarged Elkhead Reservoir are available for agricultural leases at a cost of $25 per acre-foot...

"In a Colorado River District project completed last year and dedicated on July 11, Elkhead Reservoir almost doubled in size to 24,778 acre-feet. Water supplies in the enlargement are intended for endangered fish, people and industry. For 2007, the board authorized water sales through one-year contracts at a cost of $25 per acre-foot. The Elkhead Enlargement has about 4,400 acre feet available in 2007 on this basis."

Category: Colorado Water

7:24:20 AM    

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Aaron Million thinks that his opposition is part of the "old guard" of water interests, according to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

The man behind a proposed 400-mile pipeline to bring water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to Colorado's Front Range said opposition to the plan by the Colorado River Water Conservation District represents "old guard" water community thinking. Aaron Million said Monday that the district failed to realize his pumpback project would be a regional solution to the state's water issues and would help prevent future transmountain diversions...

Million said the river district's stance is of the "old guard in the water community that was formed to fight transmountain diversions not thinking outside its old-school mindset. The whole intent was to move forward with a regional solution and not exacerbate the East Slope-West Slope issues." River District spokesman Jim Pokrandt denied the district had used "old guard thinking" in its position on Million's project. "In the old days, it was just develop, develop, develop," he said. "Now, with population growth, climate change and what looks to be a midterm drought, we have to be concerned with so much water going to one project. This could potentially gobble up what's left" of the state's unused water allocation under the compacts. Flaming Gorge Reservoir is on the Green River, outside of Colorado, but the district argued that the water would count against Colorado's entitlements under the compacts.

Here's a look at the Colorado River Water Conservation District's opposition from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Finally, there's a viable water project in the works that wouldn't dry up part of Colorado to supply another part of the state, but already it is being challenged by the Colorado River Water Conservation District. Ouch...

The Million Plan offers good quality water and a firm yield for the cities. Agriculture also could have access to this new supply from out of state. The beauty of the Million Plan is that it would take pressure off the Arkansas Valley, San Luis Valley and the Western Slope - all targets of Front Range water raids, both in the past and threatened in the future. Mr. Million envisions a water supply contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which controls Flaming Gorge Dam. That would involve unappropriated water, not already decreed to a user, in the Colorado portion of the Green River.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:20:53 AM    

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According to The Summit Daily News (free registration required) Colorado officials are in the process of reviewing the results from this year's cloud seeding program. From the article:

A widespread cloud-seeding operation that includes parts of Summit County is up for re-authorization by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Durango-based Western Weather Consultants wants to continue its cloud-seeding operations on behalf of water providers like Denver Water, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District. By using ground-based generators to introduce tiny silver iodide particles into approaching storms, Western Weather claims it can boost precipitation by up to 15 percent under ideal conditions...

Denver Water spent about $1.1 million in 2002-2003 on cloud-seeding in the Upper Blue Basin, estimating a gain of about 35,000 to 50,000 acre-feet of water, at a cost of $12-$23 per acre-foot. During that time, Denver Water did a pair of studies to evaluate the program, with conflicting results. A statistical analysis of snowfall data indicated the seeding was effective, boosting accumulations by about 14 percent. But a second study did not find significant traces of silver iodide in the intended target areas, indicating "a failure to routinely seed the intended cloud regions." One recent report from the Bureau of Reclamation concludes that widespread cloud-seeding in the Colorado River Basin could generate up to 1 million acre-feet of additional water in an average year, with half that amount in a dry year. That report is online at:

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:14:04 AM    

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Here's a look at Denver Water's summer conservation program from eMediaWire. They write:

Denver Water announced today the launch of its new water conservation campaign created by Denver-based award-winning ad agency Sukle Advertising & Design. The campaign delivers clever new twists on the successful 'Use Only What You Need' campaign from last year, which contributed to an overall reduction in water usage last summer. 'Our citywide Tap-Smart Plan aims to reduce Denver's overall water consumption by 22% from pre-drought (2002) levels,' said Trina McGuire-Collier, Manager of Community and Media Relations for Denver Water. 'This campaign is a big part of that effort, and this year's revival of the campaign adds new creative ideas that make it particularly engaging and memorable.'"

Category: Colorado Water

7:07:12 AM    

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Here's an update on the deal to keep water levels up in the Colorado River for rafters in the wake of the shutdown of Xcel's Shoshone generation plant, from The Glenwood Springs Independent (free registration required). From the article:

Aided by the need to protect endangered fish farther downstream, a diverse group of water interests may reach a final agreement today on a way to keep flows high enough in the Colorado River to support the local rafting industry. Dave Merritt, chief engineer for the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River District, voiced confidence Monday that an accord would be reached after a tentative agreement was negotiated Friday for responding to recent problems at the Shoshone hydroelectric plant in Glenwood Canyon. "I think we're converging on a solution," he said...

To help assure flows throughout the summer, though, water interests are citing the additional need to meet requirements related to endangered fish recovery in the Grand Junction area. Despite entities' interest in helping rafters, there have been concerns about releasing water for uses - especially recreational uses - without a call on the river. For example, Denver Water, which operates Williams Fork Reservoir, has worried that the state engineer could argue that such a release isn't a beneficial use, and prohibit it from refilling its reservoir to replace the water. But Merritt said water entities also have obligations to maintain adequate water flows to support four endangered fish in a 15-mile reach of water downstream. Those include the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, bonytail and humpback chub. By pursuing the goal of maintaining at least 810 cfs for these fish, the groups would provide adequate upstream flows for rafters, Merritt said. The proposed agreement would make use of water from Williams Fork, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Green Mountain Reservoir and the river district's Wolford Mountain Reservoir. Other key players include irrigators in the Grand Valley who depend on Green Mountain water to last throughout the growing season, which extends into October, Merritt said. There's some risk to them in Green Mountain water being released earlier, but Merritt believes the irrigators and others involved in the negotiations want to make things work. There's a lot at stake, particularly from the standpoint of the endangered fish program, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:56:51 AM    

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Here's a short recap of this week's meeting of the Colorado River Roundtable from The Rocky Mountain news. From the article:

Western Slope water officials, ranchers and environmentalists said they want a major role in a new state study that seeks to quantify how much water the Colorado River may contain for new development. This year, Colorado lawmakers set aside $500,000 to lay the groundwork for the two-year study. "We've told (the state) very bluntly, that we need total involvement," said Stan Cazier, a water attorney in Grand County. Cazier's comments came Monday at a meeting of the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, one of nine groups around the state charged with finding new, cooperative ways to share the state's increasingly stressed water supplies.

Measuring the Colorado River's water is difficult, in part, because of the huge variability in how much snow falls each year.

Category: Colorado Water

6:48:03 AM    

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