Little Thompson Water District: Excess levels of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids

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From the Berthoud Recorder (Sandy Barnes):

April samples taken at seven locations throughout the district also showed levels of chemical compounds higher than the maximum contaminants the EPA has set for stage two monitoring of drinking water. Hibbard explained that water is being assessed on the basis of EPA standards that go into effect in 2013. “In reality, we’re not out of compliance,” he said. Stage two monitoring requires measurements in parts per billion of disinfection byproducts resulting from the use of chlorine, which include trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, according to information on the EPA’s Web site. Mike Cook, district engineer for the Little Thompson Water District, said the stage one sample, which allows an average calculation of samples taken at various sites, is the critical one for the present time. Stage two monitoring is site specific, requiring the reporting of measurements at each location. Cook also said that water sampling results can vary by as much as 25 percent at different labs used for the analysis. Adding to the challenge of complying with EPA standards is that the state requires water disinfection with chlorine, said Hibbard. In order to address the problem, it would be necessary to work with staff at the Carter Lake filter plant where the water is treated and with Weld County, he noted.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Southern Delivery System: Corps of Engineers accepting comments until June 4

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From the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Utilities needs a permit under the Clean Water Act to build the pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir because stream crossings and building construction would affect the waters of Fountain Creek, Pueblo Reservoir and smaller streams, a total of about 14 acres. Comments will be taken through June 4. They should be sent to Southern Colorado Regulatory Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, 200 South Santa Fe Ave., Suite 301, Pueblo, CO 81003-4270.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Conduit: Financing picture taking shape

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Here’s an update on the state of financing for the proposed Arkansas Valley Conduit, From Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

A timeline for the $300 million conduit indicating that it could be up and running in 10 years was presented Thursday at a workshop of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The conduit would run from the Pueblo Dam serving communities all the way from St. Charles Mesa to Lamar and Eads. President Barack Obama signed legislation approving a plan to use revenues from Fryingpan-Arkansas Project contracts to help pay for the local share of the conduit as well as reimbursing other federal project costs. That cleared the way for appropriations. The district is asking Congress to appropriate $9 million in 2010, lobbyist Christine Arbogast told the Southeastern board. The district is asking for letters of support from Gov. Bill Ritter and the 42 communities that would benefit from the conduit, as well as continuing to seek the support of all Colorado members of Congress, she added…

Meanwhile, the district is using a $573,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant, matched with $473,000 in local funds to do engineering and financial studies related to the conduit, said Project Manager Phil Reynolds. Some of the work done in the studies by Black & Veatch engineering consultants will be applicable to later environmental studies. The studies will look at the route and land acquisition for the conduit. Of the local share, the Colorado Water Conservation Board has approved $200,000, Southeastern and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District have each put in $100,000 and the water providers $73,000. The CWCB also has approved a $60.6 million loan that is still in place, despite a state budget crisis that reduced water projects funding…

Reynolds presented a timeline that calls for completion of the environmental impact study by 2011; final design, permitting, land acquisition and contracts by 2014; and construction from 2015-19. The timeline could be moved up if more federal funding becomes available sooner than anticipated.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District: Kickoff event Monday

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District, signed into law last month by Gov. Bill Ritter, has no money yet, and in fact won’t officially come into existence until July 1. Ritter will attend an event to mark the formation of the new district at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Fountain City Hall. In the meantime a governing board created by the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force has been meeting. It will next meet at 10 a.m. May 29 at Fountain City Hall. The interim board has met to provide continuity and many of its members probably will sit on the district board in July. The nine-member board will have equal representation between the two counties. A joint appointment by the Pueblo County commissioners and City Council should be made in the next month. About a dozen people had applied before the deadline for applications closed Friday, [Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner] said.

The district will get $50 million over five years from Colorado Springs if the Southern Delivery System is completed from Pueblo Dam. Colorado Springs Utilities is now doing a business evaluation of the costs of their preferred route or an alternative through Fremont County.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Runoff news: Rio Grande basin will peak early

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

Division Engineer Craig Cotten said the early runoff may be the result of dust storms from the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin that have dirtied the snowpack in the San Juan Mountains, reducing the snow’s ability to reflect sunlight. While Cotton was sure to tell the Rio Grande basin roundtable this week that the scenario was a theory, he didn’t dispute that the San Juan’s snow has been dustier this season. “If you look up toward the mountains, you can really tell,” he said. “It’s not white.”

Gauges on the Rio Grande near Del Norte show the river had peaked at nearly 6,200 cubic feet per second on May 8. The historic average for the gauge, based on 111 years of records for that day, is nearly a third of that amount. Cotton said in normal years, the Rio Grande experiences two periods of peak flows, one in mid-May for the foothills and another in early June for higher elevations. The early runoff could pose a problem, Cotten said, noting that some potato farmers had yet to even get their crop in the ground. “That’s kind of the fear is that we’re seeing a lot of water right now,” he said. “But in a couple of weeks when we’re supposed to see our high runoff and when everyone counts on that high runoff our rivers might be dropping significantly at that time,” he said…

Larry Walrod, a senior meteorologist and hydrology program manager at the Pueblo office for the National Weather Service, agrees with the theory. “That’s got to be a part of the early melt out,” he said. But he also sites the sublimation of the snowpack, or its exposure to hot dry winds that lead it to vaporize into the air. Moreover, temperatures in the eastern San Juans were warmer than normal in March and April. Mean temperature for March in the San Juans was three to four degrees above the month’s normal mean, he said, while the mean temperatures in the area for April were two to three degrees above the normal mean.

Meanwhile, here’s the news from the Roaring Fork Watershed via the Aspen Times:

Releases from Ruedi, east of Basalt, will be increased in increments of 50 cubic feet per second over the next few days until the flow reaches 650 cfs on Monday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the reservoir. The release rate is likely to remain at or near that level through Memorial Day, the agency said. The high flows severely limit the ability to fish in the Fryingpan River. The river is expected to be at about 350 cfs by Friday afternoon, then continue to rise through the weekend. The Bureau of Reclamation anticipates that Ruedi Reservoir will fill to capacity this summer despite the special releases for the imperiled fish.

South Platte, Metro, Arkansas Roundtables: Looking for solutions to the Front Range water supply gap

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Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s combined meeting of the South Platte, Metro and Arkansas roundtables, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“We’re looking at different scenarios, not just one water future for Colorado,” said Eric Hecox, Interbasin Compact Committee coordinator for the Colorado Water Conservation Board…

Comments to staff from Wednesday’s meeting will help shape the final plan, which will be discussed by the CWCB at a workshop Monday in Pueblo. The meeting will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Pueblo Convention Center. The CWCB will have its bi-monthly meeting at the Convention Center Tuesday and Wednesday…

Colorado now is looking at urban conservation strategies like turf replacement, rate structures, leak detection, landscape audits and appliance efficiency as a way to reduce per capita use. The CWCB also is looking at new ways of making agricultural water transfers less damaging to rural economies through grants to water lease-fallowing efforts such as the Super Ditch in the Arkansas Valley. The final leg of the program is to identify how much water Colorado could claim from the Colorado River. The state launched a basin-by-basin study on the Western Slope to determine how much water could be taken while still meeting Colorado’s obligation to downstream states under the 1922 Colorado River Compact. The state also is working to identify which project or projects should be built if the water is moved to the Front Range. There is no consensus among the state’s nine basin roundtables about which project would best fill the need.