Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

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Colorado Confidential: "Friday Last Day for Public Comment on Roan Plateau: You can't e-mail nor can you fax your letters. Only comments via the Post Office or in person will be accepted by the Bureau of Land Management. Governor Bill Ritter's office may have an extra 120 days to comment on the oil and gas drilling plan atop the Roan Plateau, a special natural area west of Rifle, but the public comment period closes on Friday, Aug. 10th."

Ms. Robinson has posted some nice photos, be sure to click through.

Coyote Gulch hopes that someone is speaking for the genetically pure cutthroat up there.

Category: Colorado Water

6:29:12 PM    

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Here's an update on Durango's application for a Recreational In-Channed Diversion for their waterpark, from The Durango Herald. From the article:

A full day of negotiations Monday produced no agreement on how much water the city of Durango should have for a kayak park on the Animas River. "Mediation lasted all day, but there were was no settlement," Barry Spear told board members of the Southwestern Water Conservation District. "Proposals were exchanged, and the city agreed to have an answer to our last proposal by Aug. 31." Spear is the legal counsel to Southwestern, one of many state and local agencies and organizations that oppose the city's application for as much as 1,4000 cubic-feet per second of water for a structured water course at Smelter Rapid on the Animas at Santa Rita Park. The Colorado Water Conservation Board is the lead opponent in the struggle over what is called a recreational in-channel diversion, or RICD. Durango is pitted against about 50 organizations.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:07:06 AM    

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The Summit Daily News (free registration required) is running an article about a meeting tomorrow night. Here are the details, "Got Water? Protecting Summit County's Forested Watersheds. When and Where: Thursday, 7 p.m. [August 9], Summit County Community and Senior Center, County Commons. Doors open at 6:30, with light snacks."

The meeting is being held to discuss:

Fire-prone conditions in local forests not only threaten local homes, but present a substantial risk to critical watersheds. A big fire could literally bake the soil and vaporize organic material, making the ground nearly impervious to water, said Brad Piehl, a Summit County landscape forester who worked on ecosystem planning in the wake of the 2002 Hayman fire. That scenario could have disastrous consequences not only for local water supplies, but for Denver Water's Dillon Reservoir, filled with water from Summit County streams. Sediment loading after a fire could require extensive and expensive water treatment. Piehl will join several other experts in a Thursday forum to discuss risks to local water supplies. The panel also includes Marc Waage, a Denver Water planner; Lane Wyatt, water quality expert with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments; Scott Hummer, state water commissioner for the Blue River Basin; and Jim Pokrandt, of the Colorado River Water Conservation District. Patti McGuire, Summit County's fire mitigation officer, as well as county commissioners Bob French and Thomas Davidson, will also be on hand to lend their perspectives to the subject.

Category: Colorado Water

6:59:59 AM    

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From The Vail Daily News (free registration required), "Grand Lake, located at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, is the namesake of a town, but also the origin of the Colorado River. Until Congress dictated otherwise in 1924, the river was known as the Grand. The lake is the largest natural body of water in Colorado, and in 1937 had unusual clarity. It was possible, a scientist found, to see down into the lake for 30 feet."

More from the article:

Grand Lake's reduced clarity is blamed on a water diversion project called the Colorado-Big Thompson, which diverts water to cities and farms from Boulder to Fort Collins. That diversion includes two dams immediately downstream from Grand Lake. One of those, called Shadow Mountain, essentially enlarges Grand Lake, making it into a reservoir before the water is pumped through the Continental Divide to Estes Park. But Shadow Mountain is shallow, which results in warmer temperatures. Warmer temperatures produce weeds and algae growth. All of this flows into the inter-connected Grand Lake, reducing the 30-foot clarity to only 5 to 10 feet. Activists, reports the Sky-Hi News, say that Grand Lake must cease to be used as a holding pond. They say a $60 million pipeline from downstream at Granby Reservoir could bypass Grand Lake altogether. Activists are also getting the Colorado Department of Health and Environment involved to verify and validate their claims that the water quality is deteriorating in a way that could be harmful.

Category: Colorado Water

6:53:40 AM    

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From The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, "Dennis, Debbie, Zach and Jessica Coryell are inviting producers to their farm for a tour of limited irrigation and crop rotation production practices on Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. In 2006, Colorado State University Extension initiated a demonstration and study on their farm looking at alternative practices to reduce water consumption and alleviate limited capacity wells. The crop rotation includes corn, soybeans, sunflowers and winter wheat as well as alternative water management strategies for these crops. This is an opportunity for you to talk with Colorado State University Extension specialists about water management, crop production and weed management issues and to view the current plots. Location is at the northeast corner of County Road X and 52. The tour will begin 0.5 miles east on the north side of the road at Coryell's shop. Lunch will be served following the tour at 12 p.m. For more information, please contact Joel Schneekloth at 970-345-0508 or Alan Helm at 970-474-3479."

Category: Colorado Water

6:43:12 AM    

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Here's a look at consumption in Colorado Springs from The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Colorado Springs soaked up an average of 127 million gallons of water a day during a hot and dry July -- 25 percent more than last July but 8 percent less than in 2001's predrought guzzling days...

The week of July 30 through Aug. 5, Utilities sold 790 million gallons, or an average of 113 million gallons a day, during a time when rainfall totaled 1.17 inches, Utilities spokesman Steve Berry said. During the same week a year ago, rainfall was a mere 0.54 of an inch, and usage hit 820 million gallons for the week, or a daily average of 117 million gallons...

The drop in usage translates to a revenue shortfall of $1.6 million below budget so far this year, based on preliminary information, Berry said. He said officials estimate water sales will fall short of projections for the year by 3 percent, depending on weather conditions. "However, we are not planning a 2008 water base-rate increase due to a revenue shortfall," he said. "At this point, we can make up the 3 percent by cutting costs in other areas." The city's water supply has improved since the multiyear drought. Storage on Pikes Peak and at Rampart Reservoir was at 89 percent of capacity at the end of July, and the city's systemwide capacity stood at 87 percent. Last year, systemwide storage was at 79 percent of capacity at the end of July. In 2002, it was at 59 percent.

Category: Colorado Water

6:37:58 AM    

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Here's Part I of The Greeley Tribune's (free registration required) series on property rights issues on the South Platte River (and it's alluvial aquifer), a guest commentary written by Gene Kammerzell. From the article:

I am a third generation farmer in the South Platte River Basin. Although my wife, Jan, and I now grow specialized nursery crops of shade trees, I grew up in a farming operation where we produced sugar beets, potatoes, alfalfa, corn and fed cattle. I am thoroughly familiar with irrigated agricultural production as I own both a high-capacity irrigation well and senior 1865 ditch-water rights. The fighting over water along the South Platte is not simply senior surface right holders claiming that irrigation well pumpers have stolen their water, as the propaganda of the day would have you believe. I am both a well user and a 1965 senior surface right holder. I am not fighting myself! The issues surrounding the use of water from the South Platte and its alluvial aquifer have been complicated, confusing and downright devastating if you are a farmer who cannot turn on his irrigation well to grow a crop that will pay the bills...

Everyone needs to pay attention to this unfolding water war. It doesn't matter if you are a Colorado native, a newcomer or just passing through. What is happening will ultimately have a direct impact on you. If you want to live in a country that is free, be unafraid of your food source and have an economy that continues to provide one of the highest standards of living in the world, you have to get involved in Colorado water issues...

...through court maneuvers, lawyers have managed to divert the management of our water resources away from the state engineer who has historically worked with agriculture and given control to the courts and legal system. This maneuvering is typical of what is happening to property rights across the nation. If you own a corner lot where the city fathers would like to see a new Wal-Mart, they will take it from you. If you own a ranch in southern Colorado that the Army wants, they will take it. And if you own water that municipalities and developers want, they will take that, too...

Workshop on protecting water and property rights -- 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Country Steak Out Restaurant, 19592 E. 8th Ave. in Fort Morgan. A special session on how to take control will be from 7-9 p.m. Registration -- through Friday, $50 for Property Rights Foundation of the West and Stewards of the Range members, and $75 for nonmembers. After Friday, $60 for members and $85 for nonmembers. To register or for more information, go to or, or call (970) 842-5575, (970) 847-3469 or (970) 522-1829.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:31:32 AM    

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Here's an update on Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Despite a slowdown in growth, Colorado Springs is not changing its plans to develop a project that would pump water from Pueblo Dam. The city hopes to have its Southern Delivery System online by 2012, a date already pushed back five years from earlier projections by a lengthy environmental review process. "Even though growth is slowing, it could return. We'd like to see the project built and online by 2012," Colorado Springs Utilities Water Supply General Manager Gary Bostrom said Tuesday. "It could still slip a year, so we're still keeping a close eye on supply and demand."[...]

Colorado Springs will continue to maneuver the SDS project into position by the target date, however, because SDS also attempts to address supply issues - redundancy as well as demand, Bostrom said. "We had a pipe failure (on the Homestake pipeline, Colorado Springs' major delivery system from the west) about a year ago. At the end of the day, we want to provide a safe and reliable water supply," Bostrom said. Bostrom said the project also serves Fountain and Security, which have in recent months filed applications in water court to bolster their supply systems in lieu of SDS. Colorado Springs Council, sitting as the utilities board, also has started discussing using the SDS line to deliver water owned by other El Paso County users, Bostrom said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:20:25 AM    

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