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

Error: Can't find file, "".

Project Healing Waters

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, December 26, 2008

A picture named sdspreferredalternative.jpg

Here's an update on Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System and its possible effects on landowners along the route, from R. Scott Rappold writing in the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

[Gary] Walker is worried about what he sees as another forced intrusion onto his land, Colorado Springs Utilities' proposed Southern Delivery System water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir. He's mad, he wants Utilities to address his concerns about the impact of the project, and he is interviewing attorneys to fight Utilities if it tries to condemn the land. "The good news is they no longer allow dueling," Walker said in an interview at his family's 70,000-acre ranch Thursday . "To me, if you're going to take a man's land, you've got to prime your pistol and step out there."

The $1.1 billion Southern Delivery System involves 53 miles of pipeline, three pumping stations, two reservoirs and a water treatment facility. Bureau of Reclamation documents indicate 160 property owners in El Paso County and 128 in Pueblo County would be affected, the vast majority through rights-of-way for the pipeline to pass through. Walker would have more of the system on his land than anyone, seven miles of pipeline...

Colorado Springs Utilities officials, in an interview Dec. 19, said their mitigation will go further than what the bureau did [when building the Fountain Valley Authority pipeline]. Construction would occur on the ranch for a year. "We don't operate like everybody else. We operate based on our own processes and procedures," SDS project manager John Fredell said. Dust monitors would be in place. Utilities would not reseed once, but keep at it until regrowth occurred. Officials would survey for rare plants during construction, use silt fences to fight erosion, and maybe even move Walker's cows for him. Said Fredell, "The worst thing that could happen to us, as an organization, is to make a bunch of good neighbors into enemies." As for following the old pipeline, Walker's preference, officials said they chose a new route that is straighter, and is in a corridor with power lines. "It's distance. The shortest distance is going straight and following the existing utility corridor," said Dan Higgins, Utilities construction and delivery program manager. He said, given the sheer size of Walker's property, it would have been tough to find a route that didn't cross through his land...

[Walker] describes himself as a conservationist, with a duty to safeguard the rolling prairie his family owns, and he said vehemently he would prefer to see the project not go through his land at all, even in the name of progress and population growth in Pueblo West and the Pikes Peak region. "Doing what we're doing to the Front Range is not progress. All it is is destruction."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:41:10 AM    

A picture named chimneyhollowreservoir.jpg

Here's a look at the Windy Gap Firming Project draft environmental impact statement through the Front Range lens of the Boulder Daily Camera (Laura Snider). From the article:

Most of the water for [Erie's] nearly 17,000 residents -- triple the population from just a decade ago -- doesn't come from the snow melt in western Boulder County, or from Boulder Creek, or St. Vrain Creek, or the South Platte River or any of the tributaries carrying water from the Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, more than 90 percent of the town's water is piped up and over the Continental Divide from the headwaters of the Colorado River, where the water is captured early on its long trip to the Pacific. If Erie's population continues to explode, the town is looking at a serious water shortage by 2025.

So Erie -- along with Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Superior and Broomfield -- is looking to the Windy Gap Firming Project for at least part of its salvation. Environmentalists and towns near the Colorado headwaters are worried that the new project will stress the river beyond a breaking point. "Our major concern is that they haven't looked at the cumulative effects," said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited in Boulder. "(The project) could make every year look like a dry year."[...]

The Windy Gap project isn't new. The infrastructure for the diversion was finished in 1985, and towns in the Front Range, including Boulder, already own rights for the water Windy Gap promised to provide. The problem is that the supply from Windy Gap is unreliable. It's not that the water isn't in the river for the taking, though environmentalists fear the instream flows in the Colorado are too low; it's that getting the water to Longmont or Superior, for example, isn't easy. "These are water rights that these participants filed on way back in the '70s," said Brian Werner, a spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which is heading up the project. "We're not taking additional water; we're taking what we own." Windy Gap piggy-backs on the pumps, reservoirs, tunnels and canals used by the older Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which draws 213,000 acre-feet of water a year -- about 10 times the water used in Boulder -- for use by 30 cities and towns. During dry years, there's room for Windy Gap water in the system, but during wet years, when the storage reservoirs on the Western Slope are full and when the pipes are running at full capacity to fill up reservoirs on the Front Range, towns like Erie have to do without their Windy Gap allotments...

The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is asking for permission to build a large reservoir just west of Carter Lake so that water can be stored to even out the supply...

Environmentalists -- and some towns such as Grand Lake -- say the draft environmental impact statement prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation doesn't look thoroughly enough at the ecological impacts of taking more water from the headwaters of the Colorado. Already, 50 percent of the river's original flow is diverted from that part of the river by the Colorado Big-Thompson project, Denver's Moffat Tunnel, the Grand Ditch and the existing Windy Gap project. Pending plans, including an expansion of Moffat Tunnel and Windy Gap, would pull another 20 percent out of the river, according to Colorado Trout Unlimited. The Bureau of Reclamation leans on the fact that more water would not be pulled out of the river during dry years -- keeping the river above a minimum flow. But Trout Unlimited's Nickum said that argument underestimates the ecological importance of variable flows. During droughts, for example, fish kills can occur naturally. But during wetter years, the fish populations can recover, Nickum said...

Nickum said Trout Unlimited hasn't opposed the Windy Gap Firming Project, but the organization wants to see a more thorough environmental assessment that considers the cumulative effects of water diversion and that considers alternatives, including greater water conservation measures and possible agreements with farmers for short-term water leases to even supplies. "We don't think the (environmental impact statement) has done its job," Nickum said. "We'd like to see a more honest look at the alternatives."[...]

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:32:19 AM    

A picture named wastewatertreatmentwtext.jpg

Here's an update on Glenwood Springs' proposed new wastewater treatment plant from Pete Fowler writing in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. From the article:

Construction work to build a new wastewater treatment plant in West Glenwood Springs could begin soon. The city opened bids Friday to build an access road and a pipeline to the site of a new planned wastewater treatment plant on the west part of town south of the Colorado River. The property is the site of the old Cardnell property.

City engineer Mike McDill said the city received 11 bids and two of the lowest were around $4.5 million. The bid has not yet been awarded, but the apparent low bidder is Martinez Western Constructors of Rifle. On many construction projects the city receives only a few bids and sometimes even fewer. McDill said the heightened interest is probably a combination of this project being one of the largest the city has ever undertaken and the economic downturn making it harder to find work...

Preliminary designs called for a 14,000-foot pipe from the current wastewater treatment plant to the new site. That would include a pump station to pump the fluids around 50 feet up to a high point before reaching the site. The current site was used for over 60 years and is the lowest point in Glenwood Springs. Moving it out from near downtown will get rid of the odor that drivers and pedestrians sometimes smell on Seventh Street and open up valuable property in the area just southeast of the intersection of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers for development.

The new plant is also expected to increase treatment capacity from about 1.8 million gallons per day to 2.6 million gallons per day to meet demands from future growth. The current plant runs at about 1.2 million gallons per day and has had some issues with water discharge quality due to ammonia. The 30-year-old plant has outlived its usefulness and wasn't designed to meet today's water quality standards. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has said Glenwood Springs must build the new plant by 2014. McDill said the work could be done in 2012, or possibly earlier, if everything goes as planned.

Category: Colorado Water
8:17:15 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2009 John Orr.
Last update: 1/1/09; 6:39:30 PM.
December 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 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 30 31      
Nov   Jan