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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Thursday, September 27, 2007

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Here's a look at the possible benefits to Brighton and Commerce City as a result of Aurora's Prairie Waters Project, from The Brighton Standard Blade. From the article:

Aurora's new plan to transport water more than 30 miles from the South Platte River may provide Brighton and Commerce City with new trails, tax revenues and added water options of their own. Officials from Aurora Water gave presentations to city councils in both Brighton and Commerce City Sept. 17 and 18, requesting the approval of conditional use permits and an intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, for the construction of a pipeline that would wind its way through both cities. The line would be part of the Prairie Water Project, Aurora's bid to reclaim water from the South Platte. At both appearances, Aurora officials detailed the specifics of the project and its local impact. Aurora officials touted benefits for the cities, such as trail construction, augmentation options for local farmers and tax revenues. More specifically, the project could see an economic impact of approximately $1.8 million in Commerce City, and the construction of...trails in Brighton...

The Prairie Waters Project plan includes the construction of pumping stations in Commerce City and near Brighton, in addition to a third station and a water purification plant in Aurora. According to Aurora Water, the new facilities will be approximately two stories, or 35 feet tall. The Commerce City facility would be located south of 96th Avenue, directly bordering E-470. The Brighton pumping station would be built near the South Platte River and the Brighton Ditch. The pipeline would include an inlet valve into Ken Mitchell lakes in Brighton, and an emergency valve in Commerce City. Mark Pifher, the deputy director of Aurora's water department, explained that valves could play beneficial roles in both sites. "The pipeline sort of weaves its way through Ken Mitchell Lakes, and the valve would allow literally the drop off of water ... rather than just running by," he said. "The benefit to us is at times you may need to drain the line for maintenance, repair, replacement. For Brighton, they have a right, on an if-and-when-available basis, to purchase water from us for delivery. Also, we've agreed if we drain for maintenance or repair, as long as the water quality is good, we'll give them that water - the drain water. It becomes a win/win." The valve in Commerce City would play a similar role. Instead of serving as a drain outlet, Pifher said the valve could serve as a tap the city could hook onto in case of water pressure loss, water supply loss or extreme drought.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

8:56:20 PM    

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The South Platte River Task Force and the DU Water Futures Panel are both recommending a streamlining of the Colorado Water Courts. Former Colorado Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis was on hand at this week's Legislative Water Resources Review Committee to push the idea, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The recommendation came out of two separate groups, a DU Water Futures Panel, which looked at satisfying future municipal demands in the Denver Metro area, and the South Platte Task Force, which looked at ways to prevent future crises like last year's shutdown of more than 400 agricultural wells. The Futures Panel recommended more management of water rights, by allowing referees to serve like special masters, and to allow for emergency procedures where water might be needed on a seasonal basis, Kourlis said...

The South Platte Task Force was more specific on what needed to be done, requesting the Colorado Supreme Court to appoint a panel aimed at streamlining court procedures. Recommendations included allowing referees to serve as special masters, requiring referees to be engineers and improving training, Kourlis said. Water judges and referees meeting last week, however, agreed more input is needed from those who use the courts, rather than just those who run them. Kourlis said water lawyers and water users both need to be represented on a statewide panel...

Sen. Jim Isgar said Colorado water law worked fine when it only looked at how to appropriate water that wasn't spoken for. New interests, uses, transfers and diversions have complicated the process, however. Water cases are expensive and can take years to decide because of complex engineering studies aimed at protecting water rights or showing there will be no injury through a change of use.

Category: Colorado Water

8:45:31 PM    

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Pikes Peak area residents are hoping to get some access to the south side of the mountain and Colorado Springs Utilities reservoirs. Here's a report from The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

WAAG is the Watershed Access Advisory Group, appointed by Colorado Springs Utilities to make recommendations on how to regulate recreation in the long-forbidden south slope watershed. But would Utilities call the shots, or would the people? "I don't have a problem with calling the group WAAG, just as long as it isn't ambiguous who is the dog and who is the tail," member and avid hiker Eric Swab said Wednesday at the group's meeting. It was the start of a twoyear process to open a set of seven reservoirs on the south side of Pikes Peak to the public while ensuring the long-term safety of the water supply. The group expects to submit a plan to the Colorado Springs City Council in August 2009. There is no timeline for when hikers could hit the trail.

WAAG was formed after heated watershed access meetings last winter in which Colorado Springs Utilities made an about-face after saying repeatedly it would not consider opening the south slope. Wednesday, members of the newly formed group, made up almost entirely of hikers, bikers, fishermen and equestrians, made it clear they wanted to be the lead dog. A mission statement drawn up by Utilities said the group should focus on creating four trails, including one that already exists and has been used openly for a century, and one that is 30 yards long. Several in the group immediately said the mission was too limited.

Category: Colorado Water

8:28:32 PM    

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We're heading down to Colorado Springs for the groundwater forum, "Looking Underground for Water Supply Solutions." If connectivity works out at our hotel we'll be back tonight.

5:14:30 AM    

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