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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Friday, October 31, 2008

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Today marks the end of the water season out of Horsetooth and Carter reservoirs. Mid-to-late October is also when we typically begin our annual operations and maintenance across the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The operations for this weekend and over the next couple of weeks are a result of both of these conditions.

We have begun to dewater the project facilities on the upper East Slope for inspection. Today, we stopped running water through the Prospect Mountain penstocks. However, the water elevation of 7473 feet in Lake Estes should remain fairly consistent during our maintenance and inspection schedule.

We are almost done dewatering facilities on the lower East Slope and inspections will begin soon. As a result, we have stopped running project water down the Big Thompson River. Today, releases from Olympus Dam to the Big T dropped into the low 30 cfs. We might bump up a little next week, week of November 2, but not much more than 50 cfs.

One of the facilities to be inspected is the Rattlesnake Tunnel into Pinewood Reservoir. We should hit an elevation of 6556 by Sunday afternoon at Pinewood. This is just above the pump for the water association there. We have been working with the association in anticipation of our inspection schedule. The water level at Pinewood will remain down while we are performing our inspections and maintenance, about two weeks. Pinewood has dropped almost three feet today. It is currently at an elevation of 6568.

Because today marks the end of the water delivery season out of Horsetooth and Carter, deliveries out of both reservoirs dropped off today. Carter is currently at an elevation of 5678 and Horsetooth is at an elevation of 5379. We anticipate both reservoirs to hover around these elevations until late fall/early winter when we begin bringing water again in anticipation of next spring.

4:52:01 PM    

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Here's the link to the current issue of the Colorado Watershed Assembly news. They're running a nice summary of recent Colorado water issues. Give them a try and while you're there drop some dough in the tip jar.

Disclaimer: The Colorado Watershed Assembly links to Coyote Gulch.

Category: Colorado Water
6:54:50 AM    

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate: "The Sterling city council Tuesday approved the 2009 budget at more than $20 million...One of the issues tied to the city budget and to health and safety is the cost of water quality and consumption in Sterling. The city has been bracing for mandated upgrades to the water system and what it might cost. The council received the news recently with the looming question of how to pay for the study, which alone is estimated to cost the city nearly $500,000. The answer will be in the mail as for the Nov. 1 statements with an increase starting at $4.27 per month. Kiolbasa said the average Sterling water customer will see an increase of about $6.50 per month. The high-end consumer, major industry customers, will see an increase of about $300 per month. The increase will pay for the study, required by the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services regarding water quality standards passed down by the Environmental Protection Agency. Construction of a new water treatment plant that meets or exceeds water quality standards is estimated to cost at least $10 million."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:41:10 AM    

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From the University of Nevada-Reno: "The fifth Annual Student World Water Forum will feature student presentations during International Week on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 20-21 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom. Students from different departments will present on water issues throughout the two days, creating an interdisciplinary and international look at water and the different political, scientific, sociological and environmental concerns that surround it.

"The Student World Water Forum is a two-day forum organized by graduate students in the Student World Water Forum Club with advisement from professors Kate Berry of Geography and Laurel Saito of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Keynote speaker Chris Brown, associate professor of Geography at New Mexico State University, will wrap up the presentations and speak about international water resource management at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, in the William Raggio Building, Room 2030. The student presenters will receive feedback from evaluators who are professionals from the University, the Desert Research Institute, and the community.

"The forum was first started in 2003 under Berry and Saito as part of their International Water Issues class, which is offered jointly through the Geography Department and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. The forum was first designed as a required project for the capstone class, modeled on the Student Water Symposium that Saito developed as a graduate student at Colorado State."

Category: Colorado Water
6:37:03 AM    

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Here's a recap of last night's public meeting for Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System, from the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

About 50 people attended a meeting Thursday at the El Pueblo History Museum in the last of a series of meetings hosted by SDS partners as part of Pueblo County's 1041 land-use permit process. SDS is a $1.1 billion proposal by Colorado Springs, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West to build a water supply pipeline from Pueblo Dam. Pueblo County commissioners will have a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center on the land-use application, adopted under 1974's HB1041, which allows cities and counties to regulate projects of statewide interest. Landowners along Fountain Creek brought up concerns about increased flows that could result from SDS, who bluntly told McCormick and other utilities officials that even a little more water from the project would lead to more erosion.

"We don't want any more water in the Fountain," said Bill Alt, who owns property along Fountain Creek north of Pueblo. "You say the alternative to recycle is too expensive, when it's the people downstream who pay. . . .Eventually, Kansas is going to wake up and come after us." Alt said the problem isn't just SDS, but the increase of flows from Colorado Springs and neighboring communities that have been steadily increasing for 50 years. "In my experience, there's no comparison to what the river is now from 25-30 years ago," Alt said. "I can't see how putting more water in won't make it worse."

Mark Glidden, an engineer for CH2MHill said the amount of additional sedimentation in Fountain Creek as a result of SDS would be the equivalent width of a sheet of paper per day - or 1 foot in 15 years. He explained that a major flood, like the four-day event in 1999, would bring in 1,000 times the amount daily flows contribute in a year. Troy Sammons, a Republican running in state House District 61, said SDS should not be held accountable for flooding. "We need to mentally separate acts of nature and SDS," Sammons said.

His comments sparked an angry reaction from Jane Rhodes, a longtime farmer on Fountain Creek in Pueblo County. "We're talking about more than flooding," Rhodes said. "When you get more water flowing into the creek, it impacts it. You cannot blame it all on flooding."[...]

Pueblo City Councilman Larry Atencio said East Side residents are concerned about whether levees built in the late 1980s would actually contain a 20-foot wall of water like that seen in the 1965 flood. He said a series of mini-dams proposed by Colorado Springs and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District in the Corridor Master Plan would not hold back that kind of impact. New development in Colorado Springs has increased the intensity of that type of flood by adding more impervious surfaces...

Other concerns were raised about the possibility that Colorado Springs voters would pass a measure making stormwater fees voluntary, which could gut a $17 million fund for planning and projects; the impact of SDS on water quality in Fountain Creek; and the adequacy of regulations requiring low-impact development. McCormick said those issues and others would be addressed in mitigation, either through the Pueblo County process or through the Bureau of Reclamation's environmental impact statement, expected in December. He and engineer Carol Baker also reviewed numerous projects Colorado Springs is already engaged in that address Fountain Creek concerns. After the meeting, McCormick and John Fredell, SDS project director, said Colorado Springs has not dropped a legal appeal that claims Fountain Creek impacts are not subject to Pueblo County 1041 regulations. Last year, Pueblo Chief District Court Judge Dennis Maes ruled that they were. "When we have a permit, that won't matter," Fredell said.

More coverage of the meeting from They write:

"I think the future quality of Fountain Creek is going to remain fairly similar in terms of water quality as it is today," says John Fredell, SDS Project Director.

But many Puebloans disagree. The major issues expressed center around flooding and adverse effects on water quality. "Its a belief of most people here in Pueblo, including myself, that Colorado Springs has not come to the table, and come up with a solution how to handle those problems on the creek and that are only going to be exasperated when SDS is built," says Sal Pace, opposes SDS project. "It crosses a lot of private land, and it could suck out the fish and it would be hard on the environment," says Frank Starginer, Pueblo resident. But the project director says, reports show the pipeline will have little effect on those concerns. "The project itself has a very minor impact on water quality in Fountain Creek and in the Arkansas river, thats been studied in detail with the draft environmental impact statement," says Fredell. The planning department has scheduled a hearing on December 9th to go over the SDS project with county commissioners.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:24:34 AM    

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News: "Within weeks the $957,000 water pipeline project in Kremmling, Colorado, will be completed. "We're really close to being done," said Town Manager Ted Soltis. Crews are replacing about 11,000-feet of the 12,000-foot water transmission line. Waterline improvements will stretch from the town's water plant, located more than two miles west of Kremmling, to the town's water storage tanks. A portion of the improvements to this stretch was completed in 2006. 'The line that we placed going to the plant to Highway 40 is all installed and pressure checked,' said Kremmling Manager Ted Soltis. 'Now they're starting to hook in service lines.'"

More from the article:

The town's original project estimate was about $957,000, but Grant Miller Inc. of Silverthorne agreed to complete the project for $683,883. Kremmling secured a $478,500 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, a 50-percent matching grant with the town paying the other half. At the start of the project the contractor encountered "unknown circumstances," and the town was able to pay for minor work during the project through change orders. The remaining funds paid for work on Jackson that will continue until the remainder of the grant money is used. The work on Jackson is extra work, "we were able to do because the bid came in below the grant funds that we had available," Soltis said.

Within 300 feet on Jackson Street, crews ran into more than a dozen leaks. "It looked like a sprinkler system," he said. The town decided it was better off replacing it than trying to repair the lines. The main transmission water line was installed in the early 1970s. The town was losing 60 percent of its water from the water plant to leakage because of steel pipe corrosion and corrosive soil conditions, Doug Moses, director of Kremmling Public Works, said earlier this year. Soltis estimates that there is more than 20,000 feet of pipeline in Kremmling in the same condition as the pipeline on Jackson Street. Officials hope to replace these lines within the next two years. This would cost about $4 million, but may cost the town itself only $1 million. Soltis will apply for a $2 million grant in 2009, which requires $500,000 of matching funds from the town. The town would then apply for same type of grant again in 2010. "For every $1 the town invests in this system, the state gives us $1," said Kremmling Mayor Thomas Clark. "That's what we call leveraging." "That's the only way we can do this," Soltis added. "We're going to continue to make progress ... We're going to continue to replace these lines that have exceeded their life expectancy."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:14:39 AM    

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Here's a short update for a conference call held yesterday on the subject of invasive mussels, from the Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

Western water utilities must develop a rapid-response plan to combat an invasion of zebra and quagga mussels that is moving faster than most had predicted, experts said Thursday. Destructive to water systems and ecosystems, the mussels, which have no natural predators, have been found in Colorado and three other western states in the past 18 months. "As it turns out, they spread very rapidly," said Ricardo De Leon, a mussel specialist for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves Los Angeles and San Diego. He spoke during a conference call sponsored by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation...

Steve Lohman, manager of Denver Water, Colorado's largest water utility, said the mussels are moving so rapidly that his agency hasn't developed a response plan yet. The mussels have not been found in any of Denver's reservoirs. "It was only a couple of weeks ago we found out they were in Tarryall," Lohman said, referring to the South Park reservoir that is upstream from Denver's Cheesman Reservoir, which draws water from the South Platte River. "If they're not in the South Platte, they will be shortly. We were really hoping it wouldn't come to this. It's going to be a huge headache to deal with."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:05:09 AM    

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