Coyote Gulch's 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, September 5, 2007

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Be sure to sign up for the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association annual conference starting on September 9th. Here's the link to their website (Click on annual conference). Here's the link to the registration form [pdf].

Category: Colorado Water

7:07:25 PM    

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Readers interested in commenting can get a copy of the draft contract between Reclamation and the Colorado River District by sending email to klamb [AT] gp [DOT] usbr [DOT] gov. She writes:

The Colorado River District has requested a contract for water from Ruedi Reservoir--we announced the request over a year ago at our annual operations meeting. At that time, we began environmental compliance on the request under the Natiional Environmental Policy Act. We wrapped up the environmental compliance earlier this year and have moved into the next phase: the actual contract. That has been drafted and is now available for public review and comment. We are accepting public comment on the draft contract through November 9 of this year and you are invited to comment on it.

The contract has been requested under Reclamation's water marketing program at Ruedi Reservoir. The River District plans to subcontract some Ruedi water to third parties as a source of municipal, domestic, industrial, and agricultural supply. Until such demands develop, however, and under certain conditions, some of the water could be used to fulfill the River District's obligations under the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and as temporary enhancement to instream winter flows in the Fryingpan River

Meanwhile, releases from Ruedi continue to be under 250 cfs. With contributions from the Rocky Fork, flows in the Fryingpan remain around 250 cfs.

Category: Colorado Water

6:29:00 PM    

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Instream residents in the Gunnison River have won one for a change. The runoff into Blue Mesa Reservoir continues to be strong so Reclamation is moving extra water downstream, according to email from Dan Crabtree. He writes:

August unregulated Blue Mesa inflows were 116% of average causing reservoir levels to not recede as needed to achieve the December target elevation. To address this situation, on Friday morning (September 7) releases from Crystal Reservoir will be increased by 200 cfs bringing the total release to 2,000 cfs. Flows through the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Gunnison Diversion Tunnel will remain at approximately 1,000 cfs, while the Gunnison River flows through the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge will increase to about 1,000 cfs.

Category: Colorado Water

6:20:17 PM    

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From The Greeley Tribune (free registration required), "The Poudre Valley Green Party will present The Dam Truth About Glade Reservoir, at 7 p.m., Sept. 20 at the River Rock Commons, 520 North Sherwood St., next to Lee Martinez Park in downtown Fort Collins. The free event features a multi-media presentation on the Poudre River and the threats from proposed new dams and reservoirs. Guest speaker will be Mark Easter, conservation chair of the Sierra Club Poudre Canyon Group. Parking is available at Lee Martinez Park; light refreshments will be served."

Thanks to DARCA for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

7:07:14 AM    

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Here's an update on the Aurora long-term contract with Reclamation, from The Pueblo Chieftain. They write:

The Aurora City Council delayed action on a water storage and exchange contract with the Bureau of Reclamation [August 27] in order to resume negotiations with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. The Lower Ark district is ready to sue the Bureau of Reclamation if a contract is signed. Reclamation has completed its review of the contract and sent a copy to Aurora earlier this month. Council was expected to take up the issue of the contract on Monday, but it was pulled off the table until Sept. 10...

Lower Ark Chairman John Singletary said he is trying to get Aurora to agree never to buy any more water rights in the Arkansas Valley, and while he's not sure he can extract that promise, there is room to talk. "We're talking and I think we should talk," Singletary said. "We might have more to lose in a quick decision than Aurora." Singletary credits Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer with helping to create a path toward finding resolution. "He mentioned to me, 'What if there's a way to never buy another drop of water in the Arkansas Valley?' We're trying to find a way, but I don't know if there is unless we can write that in legislation," Singletary said...

The Lower Ark is promoting Super Ditch a water management, land fallowing lease program that would require some of the same exchange capacity on the Arkansas River as the Aurora-High Line plan. There are also competing claims for the exchange capacity from Colorado Springs and Southeastern. "We're talking about the possibility of restricting that amount," Singletary said. Beyond Aurora, Singletary is concerned with the actions of the Bureau of Reclamation. By asserting that it has authority to lease space in the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, authorized 45 years ago to help the Arkansas Valley, to Aurora, a city outside the valley, Reclamation is opening the door to other growing Front Range communities and not providing any assurances that water wheeling would not become a more common practice, Singletary said. "This is a Bureau of Reclamation problem as much as it is Aurora's," Singletary said.

Thanks to DARCA for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

7:02:48 AM    

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Here's a look at the water supply in the Arkansas Basin from The Mountain Mail. From the article:

The Arkansas River Basin is showing signs of recovery from years of drought and reservoirs and other storage vessels are reaching full capacity. Turquoise Lake, Twin Lakes and Pueblo Reservoir are holding more water than in years past Kara Lamb, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation said Monday. Turquoise Lake and Twin Lakes Reservoir are full at 129,000 acre feet of water and 141,000-acre feet, respectively. As of Monday, Pueblo Reservoir was impounding 167,505 acre feet of water. "That is a little less than half," Lamb said. "It hasn't gotten back to pre-2002 levels," she explained.

Thanks to DARCA for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:53:56 AM    

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From The Crested Butte News, "In a move designed to protect the natural environment of the Slate River, the state of Colorado has issued a water call on some junior water users in the Crested Butte area. As a result of recent low flows in the Slate River, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) placed a call on its in-stream flow rights, which were established in 1980. Under the state's current system of water prior appropriation, older, more senior water rights have priority over younger junior rights. As of August 26, the Slate River's flows had dropped to 15 cubic feet per second (cfs), below the state-mandated level of 23 cubic feet per second. The CWCB last issued a similar water call in 2004. During the spring runoff, flows in the Slate River can flirt with 1,000 cubic feet per second.

Thanks to DARCA for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:49:29 AM    

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Here's a look at opposition to the Pine River Irrigation District's recent application to expand their business, from The Durango Herald. From the article:

Opposition is mounting to a proposal that could put the Pine River Irrigation District in the water business far beyond its current involvement. On June 19, the district, known as PRID, applied to the 6th Judicial District water court to lease Vallecito Reservoir water for household and other uses in areas outside the district, including the Florida River drainage and part of the Animas River basin. On Monday, Caryl Helmin-Schmid filed a statement of opposition to PRID's application with the water court. "I encourage individuals and ditch companies to protect their water rights," Helmin-Schmid said in an interview. "If this (PRID) application is approved it could destroy agriculture." Statements of opposition already have been filed by the Colorado state engineer and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe on Friday Durango attorney James Anesi, who represents PRID, was not available for comment Monday. Helmin-Schmid represents Opponents of the Gopher Hole Project, which in October 2003 out-maneuvered the PRID board, preventing it from leasing water for other than agricultural use within the district. The name of the opposition group stems from its allegation that using water for other than irrigation was tantamount to pouring it down a gopher hole. PRID was created in 1941 to distribute Pine River water to farmers and ranchers through a series of canals.

The name of the opposition group stems from its allegation that using water for other than irrigation was tantamount to pouring it down a gopher hole. PRID was created in 1941 to distribute Pine River water to farmers and ranchers through a series of canals. Today, PRID has about 1,100 shareholders who receive Pine River water through 14 major ditch companies and a number of individual or collective laterals. The PRID board bounced back, winning the right to lease - with water court approval - 3,000 acre-feet of Vallecito water for purposes other than irrigation within the district. The water would be provided by individual PRID shareholders for the proposed La Plata Archuleta Water District, which wants to bring potable water to the southeastern corner of La Plata County. Households in the area now are on wells...

In its statement of opposition, the state engineer said: The PRID application is speculative as to new uses and places of use; The applicants must prove that senior water rights will not be injured; The "return flow," the amount of water that rejoins the river or aquifer, must not be diminished; The applicants must provide a consumptive-use analysis of water to be used.

Thanks to DARCA for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:44:18 AM    

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It looks like officials will wait until spring to try and flush the mud left over from an August flash flood on the Fryingpan, according to The Aspen Times. From the article:

The state Wildlife Division has decided against boosting the flow on the Fryingpan River next week to flush out sediment that accumulated during a flash flood in early August. The Colorado Division of Wildlife had planned to ask the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to increase flows from Ruedi Reservoir from the current 250 cubic feet per second to 800 cfs during the week of Sept. 10. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the reservoir. Wildlife division officials reversed their direction after gathering opinions late last week. "There are some folks who think we should wait until spring," said Randy Hampton, public information specialist for the wildlife division. The Roaring Fork Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to water quantity and quality issues in the Roaring Fork basin, advocated waiting. If the Fryingpan River was free-flowing, a flushing flow wouldn't be an option, noted Tim O'Keefe, education director for the conservancy. Some rainstorms might boost the river's flow at this time of year, but not to the 800-cfs level proposed for the flush. The conservancy conferred with numerous scientists about the flushing proposal before reaching its conclusion to ask the agency to wait until spring, O'Keefe said.

Category: Colorado Water

5:52:42 AM    

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