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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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Representative Lundberg has introduced a bill to exempt oil shale developers from severance taxes, HB09-1038, Concerning a Limitied Exemption from the State Severance Tax for Production from a Primary Commercial Oil Shale Facility (pdf).

Category: Climate Change News
6:13:55 PM    

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Here's the link to HB09-1062, Concerning the Authorizaiton of a Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Piceance Basin Relating to the Effects of Oil and Gas Operations, (pdf). The purpose of the bill is to fund a water quality database for the area.

Thanks to the Colorado Watershed Assembly for the link.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:07:04 PM    

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From the Conejos County Citizen: "Conejos County Clerk and Recorder Lawrence Gallegos has been nominated to serve as the County's representative on a proposed 40-member advisory committee being formed to offer advice and recommendations to State Water Engineer Dick Wolfe, concerning well water rules and regulations...

Gallegos is also the president of El Codo Ditch Association, Conejos River. He said he had been approached by El Codo to represent it on the State Engineer's advisory committee, but opted to be the County's representative, as he had already been contacted for that position...

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:42:00 PM    

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From the Colorado Watershed Assembly website: "Formerly the Colorado Watershed Protection Fund, the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund is financed by the Colorado checkoff program which provides tax payers the opportunity to contribute a portion of their tax return or to make a donation to assist locally-based conservation groups in their efforts to protect our land and water resources. Since 2003, Colorado citizens have directly contributed $560,000 to the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund."

Category: Colorado Water
5:35:37 PM    

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From the Durango Telegraph: "The Animas-La Plata project's big brother is taking shape downstream. The Navajo-Gallup water supply project, a pipeline that would siphon water from the San Juan River and dwarf A-LP both in finances and infrastructure, is forging ahead. Last week, the proposed pipeline received U.S. Senate approval as part of the Omnibus Lands bill, a package of 160 bills largely dedicated to wilderness designation and river preservation.

"A lesser known piece of the massive bill is approval of a 2005 settlement between New Mexico and the tribe, guaranteeing the Navajos the rights to 600,000 acre-feet of San Juan River water per year for farming, cities, households and industrial uses between the intake and the City of Gallup. The bill also authorizes $870 million to build the pipeline. By comparison, A-LP, just south of downtown Durango, is a 120,000 acre-foot project with a current cost estimate of $500 million."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:31:03 PM    

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There's a boil order in for Woodland Park as a result of the break yesterday. Here's a report from the Associated Press via the Denver Post:

Woodland Park residents have been told to boil tap water before using it after crews repaired a water line break. City officials said Wednesday the boil order was a precaution and no signs of contamination have been found. Officials say the order will be lifted if final tests show no problems.

More coverage from the Colorado Springs Gazette: "The City of Woodland Park issued the boil order about 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, covering an area from Valley View Road to the south end of the city.

"According to its public notice, the city will inform citizens when water is safe to drink again. That could take as long as eight days, though the city's utilities company will work as quickly as they can safely, uitilies director Jim Schultz said."

Category: Colorado Water
5:26:12 PM    

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Now this is cool. During the summer the operators of the Summitville Mine waterworks installed a small pipe penstock. With the addition of a turbine next summer the mine will generate its power needs. Here's a report from the Monte Vista Journal:

To defray the costs, add a measure of self-sufficency and support renewable energy, EPA and the state have begun installation of a narrow pipe penstock and turbine, comprising a micro-hydro power plant, which will capture the water power and convert it to energy as it flows downhill from the site.

Penstock construction began in 2008; turbine installation is planned later this year.

The elevation drops some 64 feet between the water treatment plant discharge point and the Wightman Fork downstream of the Summitville Dam Impoundment (SDI). Once workers construct the micro-hydro plant, the water flowing from the treatment plant through the penstock into Wightman Fork will be "harvested" for energy to back-fee the power grid, offsetting power use at the site.

The penstock pipeline is buried under Pinos Creek Road north of the newly installed Wightman Fork arched culverts and will deliver discharge water to the turbine at about 10 cubic feet per second (cfs), generating approximately 56 kilowatts of energy, equating to a cost savings of $9,000 to $15,000 over the seven months of operation each year.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:21:51 PM    

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Here's some snowpack news from the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

[Division of Water Resources' Craig Cotten] said the basin is second highest in the state in terms of snowpack with 128 percent of normal. The Arkansas River Basin at 136 percent of normal is the highest, and all of the basins in the state are either close to or above 100 percent of snowpack. "Statewide we are really, really good," he said. Cotten cautioned that it is too early to tell what the year will bring but said at this point both the Upper Rio Grande Basin and Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range Basin are well above 100 percent of normal snowpack. Almost all of the SNOTEl snow-precipitation measurement sites as of Tuesday recorded snow readings well above normal. For example, the Cumbres Trestle SNOTEl site was at 155 percent of normal and Wolf Creek Summit at 121 percent of normal. The North Costilla site in the Sangre range was at 180 percent of normal...

On the Rio Grande Compact, the basin ended the year with an over-delivery to downstream states, Cotten said. He added that the engineer advisors from Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, the states participating in the Rio Grande Compact, will meet next month to firm up the figures, and they will report the final Compact statistics during the annual Rio Grande Compact meeting in El Paso, Texas, in March. It appears that the Rio Grande will have over delivered about 9,350 acre feet in 2008 when all is said and done, and the Conejos River system will have over delivered about 450 acre feet in 2008 when all credits and adjustments are made. Cotten said the Rio Grande was able to recharge water back into the San Luis Valley in November and December to lessen the total over delivery to the Compact. Ditches ran until November 8, and recharge began on November 9 and lasted until December 12, he said. The Rio Grande was able to recharge more than 18,000 acre feet during that time, the most by far in any year...

The projected annual index on the Rio Grande was about 710,000 acre feet with about a third of that or 209,050 acre feet required to be sent downriver to meet Compact obligations. Curtailments were as high as 31 percent early in the irrigation season and steadily declined throughout the season. After the recharge period in November and December, the curtailments went to 100 percent for the winter.

The projected annual index on the Conejos River System was about 402,100 acre feet with 47 percent of that obligated to downstream states through the Compact. Native flows delivered 3,700 acre feet in December. Cotten said the expected over-delivery for the Conejos River system is 450 acre feet after credits and adjustments are accounted for, "which is really close, less than 1 percent." That is the division's goal to get the deliveries as close to zero as possible. Curtailments on the Conejos system were as high as 52 percent at the beginning of the irrigation season and did not drop below 30 percent until August. Since the Conejos system does not have ditches with specific winter recharge rights, when the ditches were shut off on that system mid November, water rights went to 100 percent curtailment according to Cotten.

Category: Colorado Water
6:46:26 AM    

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade): "As a quick reminder, the Water Availability Task Force (WATF) will meet on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 from 9-11:30am in the Bighorn Room at the Division of Wildlife Headquarters. The agenda is available on the CWCB website. Please note: We will be discussing the proposed Scope of Work outline for the comprehensive revision of the State's Drought Mitigation and Respons Plan. The outline and the Drought Plan are also posted on the CWCB website. If you have any questions, please contact Ben Wade at 303-866-3441 ext. 3238 or at"

Category: Colorado Water
6:36:18 AM    

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From the Pagosa Daily Post: "The Town of Pagosa Springs will host a public meeting to present the current design documents for the San Juan River Improvements Project. Proposed improvements include whitewater features and fish habitat enhancement features. The Town is in the process of finalizing the design and obtaining a permit, so that part or all of these river improvements can be constructed this winter. The meeting will be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center this coming Monday, January 26, from 5:00 until 7:00pm, in the South Conference Room. All interested members of the community are invited to attend."

Category: Colorado Water
6:32:25 AM    

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From the Capital News: " Delegates from more than 60 countries are meeting in Rome between Wednesday and Friday to continue negotiations on a global plan of action for adapting to global changes that affect how countries manage freshwater resources. The meeting is part of preparations for the 5th World Water Forum, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on March 16-22 this year. The World Water Forum is the largest international event in the field of water. The Rome gathering is the third in a series of high-level meetings to prepare for the ministerial conference on water that will be part of the World Water Forum."

Category: Climate Change News
6:22:48 AM    

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