Florence: Supply infrastructure upgrades

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Here’s an update on Florence’s planned water infrastructure improvements, from Charlotte Burrous writing for the Cañon City Daily Record. From the article:

This Monday, K.R. Swerdfeger Construction, of Pueblo, will begin to replace the old water pipes with 16-inch ductile iron pipes on the Main Street water line improvements for Florence. The new line will be installed along several blocks on Main Street, said Florence City Manager Tom Piltingsrud. “We’re starting at Pikes Peak and working west,” he said. “That’s estimated to be a three-week leg.”

The next segment will be from Santa Fe to the railroad tracks, which will take five weeks. During the project, Swerdfeger Construction will install the water line on the south side of Main Street and then tear out the existing pipe on the north side…

The project, which is estimated to cost $551,161, should be finished within eight weeks, depending on weather, Piltingsrud said.

Bear Creek Water and Sanitation honors Barney Fix

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From the American Surveyor: “Barney Fix PE, C.C.E., vice president, and manager of the civil infrastructure business unit operations for Merrick & Company, was recognized by Bear Creek Water and Sanitation District for his 20 years of service to the District as District Engineer. Fix started his work with Bear Creek in 1988, while working for Greiner Engineering. Following his move to Merrick in 1992, the district engineering contract moved with him and he continued his work with Bear Creek in reviewing development plans, observing construction of public water and sanitary sewer in developments, and providing planning, engineering, and surveying for capital improvements for the district over the years.”

Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs council hearing Thursday

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The Colorado Springs City Council plans to review Pueblo County’s permitting conditions for the proposed Southern Delivery System on Thursday night, according to a report from R. Scott Rappold writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Utilities officials and city council members will hold a 7 p.m. public hearing at City Hall. In the works for more than a decade, the $1.1 billion pipeline is designed to meet water demands here through 2046 and provide redundancy in the water system, in case of drought or failure in the city’s other lines that carry water across hundreds of miles of mountain terrain…

To view a complete list of the conditions, visit http://www.co.pueblo.co.us. The conditions are designed to minimize the impact of pipeline construction and to mitigate the effect of sending more treated effluent down Fountain Creek. City council will vote on the conditions April 14. Pueblo County commissioners must then vote to issue the permit.

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain:

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Colorado Springs City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.

If the pipeline comes from Pueblo Dam, as the partners propose, Pueblo West would be able to tap into it to increase its water supply by up to 18 million gallons per day.

Council is scheduled to vote on the conditions at its April 14 meeting. Pueblo County Commissioners approved the conditions last month after a public hearing concluded. The hearing actually began in December and was continued over four months because of the complexity of the conditions…

…Colorado Springs Utilities filed for a permit last year. At March’s public hearing, Colorado Springs attorney David Robbins indicated the conditions for the permit were legally acceptable with modifications in language to include all SDS partners rather than just Colorado Springs as applicants. The SDS pipeline would cross 14 miles of Pueblo County and generate increased flows through exchanges, development and wastewater along Fountain Creek. The permit requires Colorado Springs to fund $50 million of projects for Fountain Creek through a newly created district, and to make $75 million in improvements to its sewer system by 2024. A total of $300,000 is set aside for a study of dams on Fountain Creek, and Colorado Springs is committed to several other projects regarding the Fountain under the proposed conditions. It also sets up a 3,000-acre-foot pool of water in Lake Pueblo to augment the Arkansas River below Pueblo Dam in extremely dry times. The Pueblo Board of Water Works and Colorado Springs jointly will provide water for that pool. There are numerous other conditions dealing with construction, roads and easement acquisition in the Pueblo County 1041 permit.

Formal acceptance of the terms and conditions by the Colorado Springs City Council is required for final approval of the 1041 permit by Pueblo County. Written comments will be accepted at the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s office until 5 p.m. April 9.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here, here and here.

Chris Treese: With all of these [pipeline projects] we have the same concern…that they are going to take us to the edge of the cliff and perhaps push us over with them

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The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial staff weighs in on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans for scoping sessions for the Flaming Gorge pipeline (Regional Watershed Supply Project). From the article:

Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating a grandiose proposal to pump water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in southern Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range, one might think that the federal agency would schedule hearings in the region that stands to lose the most if the plan proceeds: Colorado’s Western Slope. Not so. In fact, two public meetings set for next week will both be held in Wyoming, one in Green River and one in Laramie…

“We know how it will be allocated,” said Chris Treese, with the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs. “If it’s all being consumed in Colorado, then it will all come from Colorado’s entitlement” under the Colorado River Basin Compact. And Colorado’s entitlement under that compact all comes from the Western Slope — from the Colorado River and its tributaries. The estimated 250,000 acre feet of water a year that the Flaming Gorge pipeline project is to use would supposedly come out of the unused portion of Colorado’s entitlement. The problem is, “We don’t really know what Colorado’s remaining entitlement is,” Treese said. That’s why the state allocated $1 million two years ago to study how much water is currently being consumed from the Colorado River and its tributaries…

Furthermore, [Aaron Million’s] project isn’t the only one seeking to use potentially hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water from what remains of this state’s Colorado River entitlement. A northeastern Colorado water group has proposed a project to pump water from the Yampa River to the Front Range. And the demands that a commercial oil shale industry could place on Western Slope water remain uncertain, but substantial. “With all of these we have the same concern,” Treese said. “That they are going to take us to the edge of the cliff and perhaps push us over with them.”

The water availability question is one that needs to be answered before the Army Corps of Engineers proceeds much further with its examination of the Flaming Gorge pipeline project.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Arctic sea ice shrinking

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From Reuters (Steve Gorman): “Arctic sea ice, a key component of Earth’s natural thermostat, has thinned sharply in recent years with the northern polar ice cap shrinking steadily in surface area, government scientists said on Monday. Thinner seasonal sea ice, which melts in summer and freezes again every year, now accounts for about 70 percent of the Arctic total, up from 40 to 50 percent in the 1980s and ’90s, the researchers said, citing new satellite data. At the same time thicker ice, which lasts two summers or more without melting, now comprises less than 10 percent of the northern polar ice cap in winter, down from 30 to 40 percent. Just two years ago, the thicker so-called perennial sea ice made up 20 percent or more of the winter cap. Scientists have voiced concerns for years about an alarming decline in the size of the Arctic ice cap, which functions as a giant air conditioner for the planet’s climate system as it reflects sunlight into space. As a greater portion of the ice melts, it is replaced by darker sea water that absorbs much more sunlight, thus adding to the warming of the planet attributed to rising levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by human activity.”

Downtown Pueblo in new FEMA 100 floodplain map

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Peter Roper): “Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency told council the new digital flood maps ordered by Congress could very well put Pueblo’s Downtown within the 100-year flood plain – a decision that will force property owners to purchase flood insurance and could impact the city’s ability to borrow money. The preliminary maps are scheduled to be finished later this year with a final version completed in 2010. ‘We’re still looking at the hydrology,’ consultant Dave Jula told council, ‘but if you can’t certify (the levees), you’ll see water Downtown.’

“The levees in question are on Wild Horse/ Dry Creek west of the city, the massive concrete barrier along the Arkansas River, and the levees on Fountain Creek. The new FEMA map will spell out what areas are likely to be underwater in the event of a major, 100-year-flood. Because such floods are often catastrophic, the FEMA map will determine which properties must carry federal flood insurance. To date, Pueblo’s Downtown has not been marked inside the Arkansas River flood plain. ‘We realize the effect this could have on our Downtown,’ Council- woman Judy Weaver somberly acknowledged to FEMA officials during the 45-minute briefing at the council work session.”