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

Subscribe to "Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A picture named lowerarkansasriver.jpg

Here's a look at the proposed Super Ditch for southeastern Colorado from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Before the Super Ditch could be formed, it would face a legal gauntlet in water court in a massive change case that would allow the agricultural water to be used for other purposes. A foreshadowing of the types of questions that would be raised came at meetings last week of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable and Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District. A more basic question will first have to be answered: Will farmers go for it?

In order for water to be moved out of ditches, five of the seven ditch companies have to change bylaws. The Fort Lyon Canal approved by-law changes in 2003 after a weeklong hearing on High Plains A&M purchases on the Canal. The High Line Canal approved by-law changes in conjunction with its 2004-05 lease to Aurora. The Bessemer Ditch board has told the Lower Ark it is not interested in participating, but Lower Ark officials say that could change. "It's true the Bessemer board has opted out for now," said Lower Ark General Manager Jay Winner. "But the shareholders haven't. This is a voluntary program and it's really up to the individuals." The other ditch companies - the Catlin, Holbrook, Otero and Oxford - are still monitoring the progress of the Super Ditch. The ditch companies hold shareholder meetings in the winter months and could begin making decisions this year...

Meanwhile, Lower Ark Chairman John Singletary countered scathing criticism from the Upper Ark district last week. Several Upper Ark officials said the Super Ditch has the potential to dry up farmland and decrease flows in the river between Buena Vista and Pueblo, an economically important recreation area to their district. "We have never discussed taking water out above Lake Pueblo," Singletary said. Engineering reports are looking at moving water at sites below Pueblo Dam or from Lake Pueblo, he added...

While the Lower Ark is contemplating protesting a Bureau of Reclamation contract with Aurora that allows removal of water from the valley, the Upper Ark has signed agreements that allow it happen, Singletary added. "What was reported from the upper district is misinformation," Singletary said. "I want to make it clear we're not in favor of taking water out of the valley."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:10:52 AM    

A picture named fryingpanarkansasproject.jpg

Here's an update on the planned lawsuit by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District over the Aurora long-term storage contract with Reclamation, from The Pueblo Chieftain. They write:

A federal lawsuit over a contract that allows Aurora to store and exchange water in Lake Pueblo should be filed within a month. Peter Nichols, water attorney for the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, told the board Wednesday there are still a few loose ends to tie up before a federal complaint is filed. "We're working on a draft complaint, but there are still a few things we want to investigate," Nichols said. "I think we're looking at a time frame of about a month. We're making sure it's the best work we can do."

The Lower Ark is planning to sue Reclamation over its decision to enter a 40-year contract for storing up to 10,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Pueblo and to move a like amount to upstream reservoirs in a paper trade. Aurora will use the contract to move water from water rights it purchased in Crowley and Otero counties into the South Platte River basin...

[Lower Ark Chairman John Singletary] wanted the lawsuit sooner, rather than later, but accepted the delay, which was discussed by the board in executive session. "This is a new venture and it's unprecedented, so we want to have the best chance for success," Singletary said. "We want people to know we're moving ahead, and we will not compromise." Singletary told the board talks with Aurora have stalled. "We've not been able to find common ground," Singletary said. "We have been consistent in not allowing water to be transferred outside the basin and are preparing to go ahead with the legal action." Nichols said there is no real urgency in filing the suit. "The legal statute of limitations is six years, so there's no pressure," Nichols said. "There's pressure here," Singletary said. "As we move forward, the damage is being done."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:02:49 AM    

A picture named nukeplantcattenomfrance.jpg

Colorado may have a project in Texas as a case study to use before granting Powertech's application for uranium mining in Weld County. Here's an article about a proposed in-situ uranium operation there from The Texas Observer. They write:

Uranium Energy Corp., which has been drilling exploratory holes in Goliad County since May 2006, applied for a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality last month to begin mining uranium in the area. The commission has deemed the company's application "administratively complete," paving the way for the next stage of the process, which includes the opportunity for public comment. What form that public comment will take is still very much in the works -- the Uranium Research and Advisory Council, a group appointed by the county commissioner's court to investigate the issue -- has scheduled a press conference for September 26 to lay out its case against the permit. But Art Dohmann, chairman of the group and president of the Goliad County Groundwater District, said he anticipates "a lot of independent action as far as public comment is concerned." Houston environmental attorney Jim Blackburn, whom the county has retained to help with legal aspects of the issue, has already sent a letter requesting a contested-case hearing on the application, Dohmann said. As president of the groundwater district, Dohmann has participated in many of the 250 or so well tests conducted so far by the organization. He said the tests have come back showing mostly potable, "very good quality water." His concern, and that of other county residents, is: What happens once mining begins?

Adding to their concerns, the Texas Railroad Commission cited Uranium Energy in March for failing to adequately cover some 74 exploratory holes. Dohmann, however, said his group isn't reflexively opposed. "Our judgment is that in situ uranium mining cannot be done safely in Goliad," Dohmann said, based on the conditions of the aquifer on which the county sits. According to a letter mailed out on TCEQ letterhead to landowners who asked to be kept informed, Uranium Energy has applied for a "Class III Underground Injection Control Permit" to conduct in situ recovery of uranium...

Harry Anthony, CEO of Uranium Energy, rejected the claim that exploration has negatively influenced wells in the area. In an August 5 opinion piece in the Victoria Advocate, he wrote that dissenters "wrongly painted today's uranium mining methods, technology, and its effects on the community." One of those claiming contamination is Luann Duderstadt, who lives about a quarter-mile from an exploration area. Numerous tests of her well have come up negative for uranium or other radioactive material, but she said a thick, reddish mud has been clogging her filters and that she believes her future in Goliad County depends on her fighting Uranium Energy's permit. "If they get their mining permit, we're going to have to move," she said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:40:24 AM    

A picture named ogallalaaquiferriverbasins.jpg

From WIBW, "An advocacy group says the Ogallala Aquifer would be further strained by increased ethanol production. The aquifer contributes to water supplies in eight states. A scientist with the advocacy group Environmental Defense says state agencies proposing ethanol plants need to be concerned about water withdrawal. The nation has more than 100 ethanol plants with at least 80 more on the way. The group says water demands from the ethanol plants where the aquifer is depleted could reach 2.6 billion gallons per year for corn-to-fuel processing alone."

From Environmental Defense:

Biofuels are getting a lot of attention as a way to slow global warming. But not all biofuels are created equal. Whether they help the environment depends on how they are produced. A new Environmental Defense report recommends polices that will ensure that renewable fuels live up to their promise. Specifically, our study shows that we need: a low-carbon fuel standard to spur production of biofuels with low greenhouse gas emissions and better protections for water and land resources that are vulnerable to increasing production of biofuel feedstocks.

Our new report, Potential Impacts of Biofuels Expansion on Natural Resources [PDF], focuses on the second requirement, protecting land and water resources. It suggests how to avoid unintended consequences of producing more ethanol in the Ogallala Aquifer region. It uses the Ogallala Aquifer as a microcosm of the challenges we'll face as renewable fuels are developed.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:22:54 AM    

A picture named nukeplantcattenomfrance.jpg

Here's a look at this week's meeting of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

A Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board member is "frustrated and perplexed" by the labyrinth of agreements the district has made regarding its Preferred Storage Options Plan. "I get the impression the district is backed into a corner," said Shawn Yoxey, director from Pueblo County. "I don't know if (the agreements) are in the best interest of our community, because the emphasis is on Aurora, Aurora, Aurora." Yoxey's comments came following a presentation Thursday on the various agreements - through political bodies, agencies or court cases - that bind the Southeastern district to take specific actions. The board ultimately voted to pursue enlargement of Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake, with the existing agreements, however. It also voted to pursue a long-term master contract that would provide excess-capacity storage for entities within the district.

Attorney Lee Miller, who gave a similar presentation to the PSOP committee on Aug. 10, told the board there have been six or seven bills in Congress, 20 memorandums of agreement or intergovernmental agreements, eight settlement agreements and 17 court stipulations since the 2001 PSOP Implementation Plan was released. Miller explained that while the agreements require specific actions, it's up to the the board to determine how important those obligations are. Among the most significant are agreements with Aurora that require the district to pursue PSOP legislation.

Some details about the current agreements:

A feasibility study of the enlargement of Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake. Excess-capacity storage of water from outside the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, originally called reoperations. Specific authorization for Aurora to use Fry-Ark storage space as part of its Arkansas River operations. Miller said the district was obligated to support Aurora in its bid for a 40-year contract as well. The contract was finalized last week and will mean a total of $24 million in payments to Southeastern on top of payments to lease space and for paper trades of water under an exchange contract...

A new effort by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., is trying to find consensus among the negotiators to simply look at the feasibility of enlarging Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake, while also studying the possibility of a flood control-water supply project on Fountain Creek. Salazar will meet with participants again on Oct. 6.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:15:48 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 10/1/07; 7:43:52 AM.
September 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Aug   Oct