City officials asked the water board for opinions and feedback on several water-related issues Thursday.
Among the topics discussed were commercial/industrial water rates, improvements to the city water system, options for an emergency backup water source and long-term debt in the city water fund.
City officials also presented the water board with information on the cost to the city of the Northern Integrated Supply Project, including scenarios outlining the annual debt payments for that project if paid off over 20 years and over 30 years.
City Manager Pat Merrill told the board he was looking for input, opinions and suggestions regarding each of the issues on the agenda. The discussion of commercial/industrial water rates took up about half of the nearly two-hour session.
Here’s a recap of the Dolores River Festival, from TJ Holmes writing for the Dolores Star via the Cortez Journal. From the article:
The free raft rides proved a popular offering again, with high demand. More than 200 groups went down the river from Riverside Park to Joe Rowell Park with some 25 volunteers acting as guides, helping with put-in and take-out and driving shuttles. “It went really smoothly, and we had a lot of dedicated volunteers helping with the raft ride activities,” Gans said. “It’s a really intensive activity to offer, but we are committed to offering that as a river festival. I think the families really enjoyed the rides this year.”
The fun and wild water competitive kayak races had about 10 participants with prizes awarded to the top three finishers in each category.
From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Le Roy Standish):
The WCC is reeling from financial cutbacks, has seen several changes in directors in the last couple years, is having its tactics questioned by many in the community, and in December was tossed from the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. The circumstances have combined to cause some members to question whether the organization should continue in its current format.
Sunday’s main discussion, which included Canadian officials and experts from the Middle East and Australia, focused on managing water amid changing climate conditions. Although many of the controversies in the West center around urbanization, natural resources and energy development, water — and often the lack of it — comes up again and again. “Water is connected to all those things,” said panelist Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, an environmental think tank based in Oakland, Calif. Gleick said there’s evidence of intensified water disputes, ecosystem collapse in some places and a population growth that’s driving a sometimes-fractured water management system. States can no longer rely on simply building more storage capacity, which can be expensive and “politically challenging,” he said. The West needs to consider other supply options such as rainwater, use of treated wastewater and desalination plants, Gleick said. Climate change — which will alter precipitation and the timing of mountain snow melt — also needs to be incorporated into all water management decisions, he said.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter said the region needs to do more to protect the water that’s already available.
“Conservation has to become an ethic in the West,” he said.