Colorado Foundation for Water Education: 4th annual Friends of Water Education Golf Classic August 3

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Click here to sign up.

Then click here to register for Western State College of Colorado’s 34th Water Workshop up in Crested Butte.

Energy policy — coalbed methane produced water regulation

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From the Pine River Times (Carole McWilliams):

“The grounds of the suit were that groundwater diversions had to be regulated under state water law,” Klahn said. “We thought it would be a nice quiet little suit, but then BP intervened. In April this year, we were affirmed on all accounts by the State Supreme Court. It’s the kind of win you only get once in your career.” The repercussions are still being sorted out.

“We are proceeding on all fronts to try to maintain our win,” Klahn said. “We aren’t assuming it will be fine. We want more than a paper win.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

23rd Annual Poudre River Fest July 11

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From email from the Friends of the Poudre:

TheFriends of the Poudre, a member of the Save the Poudre Coalition invites you, your family and friends to the

23rd Annual Poudre River Fest

Saturday, July 11
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At Picnic Rock in the lower Poudre Canyon

You’ll enjoy live music, booths and picnic cuisine prepared by Avogadro’s Number … and, of course, the river and Poudre Canyon.

The river is still running beautifully high and the canyon is lush this year with wild flowers.

The event is the oldest river festival in Colorado.

Replace prior appropriation?

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Here’s an opinion piece advocating that Colorado move away from the doctrine of prior appropriation, from Bob Berwyn running in the Summit Daily News. From the article:

The biggest problem is that the environment has always been an afterthought. Fish and other animals that depend on stream water, wetlands and riparian ecosystems weren’t able to make a legal claim on water back in the late 1800s, so they’ve gotten short-shrift ever since. Hundreds of miles of streams in Colorado experience extreme depletions every year, to levels well below those needed to maintain healthy ecosystems. A couple of times in recent years, the state’s namesake river was in danger of running dry upstream of Kremmling, due to a combination of diversions to the Front Range and irrigation demands on the West Slope.

To its credit, the state has tried to protect the environment within the framework of existing water law by establishing “minimum instream flows” and spending millions of dollars to buy water rights. But the instream flow program falls far short of its goals, leaving many streams unprotected and subject to environmentally damaging diversions. In some cases, stream gauges freeze up at critical times, just when trout spawning season and peak ski resort demand for snowmaking water coincide, making it difficult to accurately measure flows. In other cases the state lacks the resources or political will for meaningful enforcement. Many other streams simply don’t have any protection at all.

It’s time to take a deep breath and acknowledge that the archaic and outmoded 18th [ed. should be 19th] century law doesn’t meet the needs of the 21st century. Continuing down its current path, Colorado is building a fragile house of cards that will someday collapse, most likely as the result of an extended drought. Before that happens, elected leaders, environmental experts and other stakeholders need to sit down together and develop a statewide water plan that reflects current and future realities, including the need to protect Colorado’s environment beyond today’s “reasonable” standard that falls far short of achieving its goals.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Precipitation news

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From the Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

A sudden storm tore through Morgan County Friday night, leaving broken trees, downed power lines, hail damage and floods in its wake, and rain continued in some areas Saturday. Fort Morgan took the brunt of damage to cities, as a storm moved across central Morgan County and started dropping rain about 9:40 p.m. Friday, said Fort Morgan Police Chief Keith Kuretich. About two to three inches of heavy rain fell within a 15-minute period, with winds in excess of 75 miles per hours at times, he said. The National Weather Service characterized the storm as a wet microburst and there was a flash flood warning, Kuretich said.

Pueblo: Stormwater utility

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Pueblo residents began paying a stormwater fee in 2003, and about one-third of the money – $900,000 a year – goes toward maintenance of the city’s stormwater system. Maroney said some parts of town have more problems than others because the drainage systems were not built to handle larger volumes of water. “One thing we’re trying to do is develop green infrastructure, that will allow source controls to hold the water on site or let it soak into the ground,” [Pueblo’s stormwater director Dennis Maroney] said. “We can retrofit these. One example is the work they’ve done at the Colorado State Fairgrounds.”[…]

Everything from shopping carts, furniture and landscape materials wind up in drainage ways, but the worst problem is caused by plastic bags and bottles, which build up to block water and do not decompose, Maroney said…

At the Pueblo Chemical Depot, a microburst removed a 400 square-foot section of roof on 45,000 square-foot warehouse, damaging a fire sprinkler and causing water to leak into the building, said Chuck Finley, executive director of the depot authority. Boone Hill East Road and Bergemann Road, southwest of Pueblo, washed out in places. On Red Creek Springs Road west, Rock Creek had 4 to 5 feet of water running over the road and is expected to continue to run for the next two days. The largest rainfall in the county over the Fourth of July weekend was at the Hatchett Ranch, south of Pueblo and east of Colorado City, where storms that moved north and south of Pueblo converged. The rain left a total of almost 2.5 inches, on top of half an inch the day before.