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, January 9, 2009

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka): "A trial in a water case that would allow Amity Canal water to be used for power plants near Holly has been delayed. The trial initially was scheduled to begin later this month in Division 2 water court, but is now scheduled to begin March 17. The application by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association would convert almost half of the shares in the ditch to industrial use, providing about 20,000 acre-feet annually for a future power plant at Holly...

"Tri-State has settled with 17 of 20 objectors in the case, following a settlement with Amity last month. Those who have not settled are Environment Colorado, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and the Verhoeff family, which owns almost 1,500 shares of the Amity Canal, about 4 percent of the total. 'The change in trial date provides more time to try to reach agreement with the few remaining parties to our application,' said Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey. 'Since we first began working in the valley, Tri-State has engaged the community to address concerns and develop a plan that maintains the historic conditions of the river and the Amity system.'"

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:29:36 AM    

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The current tug-of-war over water will only get more severe over the next few years. Colorado's unbridled growth is fueling much of the supply problem. Harris Sherman, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, was in Pueblo yesterday issuing a call to arms of sorts, for the state to get serious about water supply for the future, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing in the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

While competing water needs are on a collision course in Colorado, land-use decision-makers and water providers have barely begun to talk about how to deal with shortfalls. That was the assessment of Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, at a meeting of Action 22 Thursday at Colorado State University-Pueblo. About 50 people attended the meeting, hosted by a group that represents common political interests in 22 Southeastern Colorado counties. "How we develop our land-use patterns will have a huge influence on the use of water," Sherman told the group. "There is a direct relationship of how we grow and the use of water."


By 2050, as much as 70 percent of agriculture on the Front Range, and 60 percent on the Western Slope, could disappear if nothing is changed about the way the state is developing, Sherman said. The old model, moving water from the western to eastern side of the Continental Divide, is no longer sufficient, because Colorado has not completed a major water project in 30 years and Western Slope users have resisted any proposal for new diversions. "No one wants to see this scenario. It concerns everyone," Sherman said. "We need to spend time on the basin of origin. If they provide water or share it, how do we make sure they are protected?"

Sherman praised efforts in the Arkansas River basin to look at new ways to share water that will avoid the "buy-and-dry" model under which cities traditionally have acquired water. The Super Ditch, a marketing group formed by farmers on seven ditches under the leadership of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, allows farmers to retain water rights while leasing water in exchange for fallowing some of their land. The Arkansas Basin Roundtable has developed a water transfer model that tries to take into account how to make sure transfers do minimal damage to communities where water is leaving. "The Arkansas basin is the leader in this area," Sherman said. "The traditional buy-and-dry has a devastating effect on rural economies."


The shortfall for future growth in municipalities is projected to require an additional 660,000 acre-feet of water annually by the year 2030, Sherman said. With conservation measures, which cities are finding easier to achieve since the 2002 drought, the shortfall shrinks to 450,000 acre-feet per year. Better planning, such as zoning more densely for housing and better landscaping, could bring the number down to 430,000 acre-feet per year.

Category: Colorado Water
6:25:14 AM    

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan: "Sens. Mark Udall and Ken Salazar along with Reps. Betsy Markey and Jared Polis - all Colorado Democrats - introduced legislation Thursday that would designate nearly 250,000 acres of the park and adjoining national forest as wilderness."

More from the article:

Efforts to formally designate the park as wilderness date back more than 30 years. Past legislation has stumbled over political differences, including water and how it is moved through the park from the Western Slope to the Front Range. The proposed legislation would not affect water rights for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project or the Grand River Ditch, which is owned and operated by the Water Supply and Storage Co. of Fort Collins, Polis told reporters during a conference call.

The measure on the House side contains the same "consensus" language the Colorado congressional delegation - including former Sen. Wayne Allard and former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, both Northern Colorado Republicans - agreed to in 2007, Markey said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:13:39 AM    

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