CWCB: Joint meeting of Water Availability Task Force and Flood Task Force April 22

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade):

A joint meeting of the Water Availability Task Force (WATF) and the Flood Task Force (FTF) will be held on April 22 from 9:30a-12p at the Colorado Division of Wildlife Headquarters, Bighorn Room. The agenda is available on the CWCB website on the WATF and the FTF pages. Following the joint meeting, the Drought Sub-Committe will meet in the same room from 12:30-2p. Members of the sub-committee are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch to eat in between meetings. Please contact Ben Wade at 303-866-3441 ext. 3238 or at if you have any questions.

Arkansas Valley Conduit: Meeting set for April 21

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From the La Junta Tribune (Alicia Gossman-Steeves):

An important meeting for potential recipients of water from the The Arkansas Valley Conduit Project is scheduled at 10 a.m. April 21 at La Junta Municipal Building.

Bill Long, chairman of the Arkansas Valley Conduit Committee, said the water companies that expect to receive water from the pipeline, will begin working on memorandums of understanding that prescribe how much water each entity will expect to receive and how much per capita they will be charged to pay back the cost of constructing the project, estimated at close to $300 million. Federal legislation offered by U.S. Rep. John Salazar recently was approved to bring the federal government’s share of the project costs up to 65 percent. The conduit project also is the recipient of a STAG grant to help with initial costs of getting the project under way.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Steamboat Springs: Draft conservation plan

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Here’s a look at the shiny new water conservation plan being developed jointly by the City of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner Water and Sanitation, from Brandon Gee writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:

The plan sets a goal of reducing peak day demand 10 percent by the year 2015 and anticipates that 60 percent of those water savings will come from irrigation efficiency measures. “That’s probably the easiest and largest component of overuse,” Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District General Manager Jay Gal lagher said. “That’s what we would call the low-hanging fruit. … Most people over-water their lawns.”

The plan recommends guidelines such as no outdoor watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., discouraging water-intensive landscapes and encouraging the use of native grasses and shrubs. In dry years or drought situations, the plan recommends more restrictive measures…

The city and water district estimate that the conservation plan could defer the cost of building new filtration bays as much as $4 million. Every gallon saved, according to the plan, postpones $1 or more toward a new filtration bay…

The plan also sets goals to reduced peak-day demand 15 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030. Other strategies to reduce water use include encouraging conservation practices indoors and requiring the use or installation of water-saving appliances and fixtures.

Wiggins: Town meetings for review of supply options April 22 and April 29

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From the Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker): “Two town meetings are scheduled in Wiggins on April 22 and April 29 to help residents review the town’s options for replacing its water supply. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. at Wiggins Town Hall. The idea is to make sure residents understand exactly what each option entails so they can compare them correctly, Town Clerk Craig Trautwein said after Wednesday’s Wiggins Town Council meeting.”


At an earlier meeting, the council gave out some cost estimates for the various options, which included costs of water acquisition and some infrastructure for 240 acre-feet of water, which would meet the entire demand for residential and commercial use.

Town Administrator Bill Rogers explained that the cost from Quality Water would be $8.28 million, from Fort Morgan it would cost $4.8 million and for Wiggins to buy its own water it would be $5.16 million.

However, because of debt service and possible grants to pay for infrastructure, the average minimum price to residential customers would be $184.75 per month if Wiggins went with Quality Water; $174 a month if it went with Fort Morgan water; and $107 monthly if the town bought and treated its own water, he said.

Yet another option offered by Fort Morgan would mean only buying 160 acre-feet — the most for which Wiggins has enough water shares to use for augmentation — and blending that water with Wiggins well water. The idea is to mix Fort Morgan water at a two-to-one ratio with town water during the summer, which would require some water softening, and have pure Fort Morgan water during the winter. That plan would have a base cost of $3.9 million and cost households $136 per month, Rogers said.

However, a similar blending plan if Wiggins bought its own water would cost $3.96 million and the monthly cost would be about $83, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Flaming Gorge pipeline: How will it effect endangered species?

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Wyoming’s Governor, Dave Freudenthal, is less than lukewarm about Aaron Million’s proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline (Regional Watershed Supply Project). Here’s a report from Joan Barron writing for the Casper Star-Tribune. From the article:

During a news conference Freudenthal said he was concerned about the parallel between the proposed trans-basin diversion project and the state’s dispute with Nebraska over the North Platte River several years ago. One of the tools Nebraska used against Wyoming in that legal dispute, he said, was the availability of flows in other parts of the river to support the whooping crane. These endangered species concerns were in addition to the issue of allocation of the river between the two states, he said.

He questioned whether the state would find itself in the same position if the trans-basin diversion of the Green River goes through and there are downstream demands made for environmental reasons. If that happened, the demands for increased flow would be made on the upper Green River in Wyoming…

[Aaron Million] told the group that federal studies have shown there should be plenty of water to meet needs for hydropower, recreation and endangered species. If not the project won’t go forward, he said.

Freudenthal said he personally doesn’t like the project and doesn’t intend to support it. “I think I have to be fair and hear it out. But I’ve never liked trans-basin diversions,” he said. The state may have some leverage depending on whether the right-of-way the developers select is on sections of state trust land. The state also will comment to the federal government during the scoping period, Freudenthal said. “There are an incredible number of unanswered questions about the implications of taking water from the point they’re taking it for the management of the upper Green and the rest of the area,” the governor said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Clear Creek: Spill at Big Five Mine not expected to cause quality problems

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From the Denver Post (Karen E. Crummy): “State health officials said the release of the mine water — containing iron and possibly zinc, copper and manganese — did not pose any health risks to humans, but they were still unsure Thursday about the risks posed to fish and other wildlife…The spokesman for the city of Golden, which is downstream from the contamination, said there won’t be any problems with the city’s water. The release of the contaminated water resulted from a blockage that was inadvertently backing up water within the Big Five Mine, Smith said. When miners hit the area with a shovel about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, water rushed out of the mine at a higher capacity than the treatment facility could handle. The release stopped six hours later.”

I grew up in North Denver. I remember my Grandmother saying, as I set out to play along the bluffs overlooking Clear Creek, “Don’t go in Clear Creek!” It used to often run orange and yellow in those days. What a difference a few years can make. I’ve caught trout near Idaho Springs while Thornton, Golden and Westminster (and perhaps others) take water from the creek for municipal supplies. Of course the work of the EPA on the Clear Creek/Central City superfund site should get a good deal of credit. And don’t forget the Clear Creek Watershed Assembly when you’re handing out kudos.