Project WET

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From the Highland Ranch Herald: “Great Western Institute, a Highlands Ranch nonprofit, has become the project host for an international water education organization. Tracy Bouvette, a founder of the institute, said the institute trained 60 Douglas County schools teachers so far in Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) curriculum.

“Project WET provides school curriculum in 29 countries and 49 states. The programs are aimed all though the school grades and teaches the water cycle and how human disturbances impact it. WET also looks at watersheds, wetlands and the wildlife that dwells in them, with a cooperative agreement with Ducks Unlimited.”

Wallace Stegner’s 100th

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NewMexiKen is running his sort of annual Wallace Stegner tribute on the author’s 100th birthday and writes, “Stegner is first in fiction, second in non-fiction; now that’s a writer.”

Ginn Development Co high bidder for Columbine Ditch

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Ginn Development Co was the high bidder for the Columbine Ditch. The Pueblo Board of Water Works gets to bank $30.48 million, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain.

Aurora will get one more shot at the ditch. From the article:

The sale of the Columbine Ditch to a developer of a ski mountain at Minturn was approved by the Pueblo Board of Water Works on Tuesday, but Aurora still has one more chance to bid on the transmountain ditch.

Under its 1997 contract to lease water from Pueblo, Aurora has the first right of refusal until 2013 on the sale of any transmountain asset – a ditch or tunnel that brings water from the Western Slope into the Arkansas River basin. The Pueblo water board has several of those assets and wants to sell the Columbine Ditch to help pay for its purchase of Bessemer Ditch water shares.

Meanwhile the board is busy leasing water, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Long-term leases of 200 acre-feet for $350 an acre-foot per year for 40 years went to the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District and Evergreen Land Development of Dallas. The Upper Ark will use the water in its blanket augmentation plan for users in Chaffee, Custer and Fremont counties. Evergreen will use the water at the Mount Massive Golf Course and associated development.

Aurora bid $250 per acre-foot for 1,000 acre-feet the first year, and increased the amount and the price over a 20-year period. The water board followed Purchasing Agent Kathy Stommel’s recommendation to reject the bid because it failed to meet minimum requirements.

The water board had offered up to 5,000 acre-feet of water for long-term leases.

The short-term leases are for 10,690 acre-feet for one year only and range from $25-$75 per acre-foot. Ward said the timing of the leases – many want the water delivered before June 1 – would be good for the water board because it would not have to release water it already has stored in accounts.

Judge Maes to appoint 5 to Southeastern board

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From the Pueblo Chieftain: “Five seats on the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District are up for reappointment this year…

“Applications must be sent to Dennis Maes, chief judge of Pueblo District Court, no later than March 17. Maes, who also serves as Division 2 water judge, will make the appointments in consultation with district judges from the respective counties before the April 16 meeting of the Southeastern district.”

SB09-141: Fountain Creek Watershed District

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The Pueblo city council is taking a long look at the IGA between the towns and counties that will enable the authority. SB09-141 is the enabling legislation. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka wrting for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Council is the last governmental body to sign on to a proposed intergovernmental agreement on Fountain Creek among Pueblo County, El Paso County, cities in both counties and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. It will take at least two meetings, one next week and one in March, to approve an ordinance entering the IGA.

The agreement and SB141, which would create the Fountain Creek Watershed District, envisions a nine-member board that could funnel money into projects to improve the creek, charge fees and even – if voters desire – levy taxes. The primary goal is to control the periodic floods which eat up parts of Pueblo and other communities further up the creek, but there is also plenty in the IGA and bill about recreation, wildlife and wetlands.

In SB141, authority is limited to the narrow corridor of the 100-year flood plain from Fountain to Pueblo, fee authority to the watershed, although all of both counties would be included as a possible tax base. The documents even suggest a nine-member board which would include a representative from the City of Pueblo.

Colorado Springs Utilities has plans for stimulus dough

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Colorado Springs Utilities has plans for some of the stimulus dough from the bill President Obama signed yesterday, according to a report from the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Utilities submitted requests for funding for four projects:

• $5.8 million for improvements to Fountain Creek on Clear Spring Ranch south of Colorado Springs, including a fish ladder, creek realignment, wetlands development, bank improvements, and off-channel detention.

• $13.3 million for work at 20 locations where sewage lines cross creeks and are at risk of overflowing during storms.

• $10 million to extend the nonpotable water system in northern Colorado Springs.

• $600,000 for a demonstration project on low-impact development at the Mesa Environmental Center.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Mary’s Lake water treatment plant upgrades

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Here’s an update on the Mary’s Lake treatment plant in Estes Park, from Juley Harvey writing for the Estes Park Trail Gazette. From the article:

Marys Lake Water Treatment Plant has negotiated an agreement with the Upper Thompson Sanitation District (UTSD) for the discharge of 15,400 additional gallons of discharge and has received a January invoice from the UTSD.

The anticipated completion date for the Marys Lake plant is April. The Town is operating a temporary 1-million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant through completion of the project. Utilities Director Bob Goehring told the Utilities Committee at last week’s meeting at the Municipal Building that the Marys Lake Water Treatment Plant’s additional backwash discharge capacity will double — from 2 million gallons a day (mgd) to 4 million mgd. The waste treatment discharge will increase from 4,600 gallons a day to 20,000 gallons per day at capacity, requiring .5 percent more treatment, up from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. A change in treatment technique to membrane filtration is included. Goehring noted that the discharge from the Marys Lake plant mostly involves filtered dirt from the water and is not the UTSD’s typical discharge. According to the intergovernmental agreement for wastewater treatment, the user rate for metered customers will be charged at the current rate at the time of billing. The current 2009 user rate for metered customers is $6.25 per 1,000 gallons, with an additional quarterly access charge of $5.25 per month.