Colorado Springs Utilities’ Conservation and Environmental Center and Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Kristina Iodice):

On the third Tuesday of each month through September, Colorado Springs Utilities’ Conservation and Environmental Center and Xeriscape Demonstration Garden hosts an open house, complete with displays, tours and classes. Classes are free. The next open house, focusing on energy and water conservation, will be 4 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the center, 2855 Mesa Road. In addition to a scheduled class, volunteers and staff will be on hand to answer questions. The scheduled class will cover low- to no-cost ways for homeowners to save money. Utilities experts will offer ways to save energy and water — and thus money — by discussing heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, appliances, insulation, windows and water use.

More conservation coverage here.

Upcoming Colorado water related events from the Colorado Watershed Assembly

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Here’s the link to the Colorado Watershed Assembly’s comprehensive schedule of upcoming events.

Denver Water: Moffat Collection System and the proposed expansion of Gross Reservoir

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Say hello to the shiny new Denver Water website. I’m most excited about the RSS feed for their news page. You Coyote Gulch readers know I crave Colorado water news. 🙂

At any rate check out the new part of the website for the expansion Gross Reservoir, part of Denver Water’s Moffat Collection System. They write:

If approved, the project would produce 18,000 acre-feet of new supply by expanding an existing reservoir rather than building a new one. The current dam height would increase from 340 feet to approximately 465 feet. The proposed project would increase Gross Reservoir from its current storage capacity of 41,811 acre-feet to approximately 114,000 acre-feet – an increase of 72,000 acre-feet. (Denver Water has determined four acre-feet of storage are needed for every one acre-foot of supply.)

Because Gross Reservoir was originally designed to be this larger size, other facilities, such as the Moffat Tunnel and South Boulder Canal, do not need to be modified and no additional water rights are needed. The additional water would be carried through the existing Moffat Tunnel from the Fraser River basin and Williams Fork River basin in Grand County, as well as from South Boulder Creek basin. Streamflow in the Fraser and Williams Fork rivers and South Boulder Creek would only be decreased by this project during wet and average years during the runoff months.

Denver Water officials anticipate that the Corps of Engineers draft environmental impact statement for the project will be released in the next few weeks.

More Denver Water coverage here and here.

Colorado’s water future dependent on new transmountain diversions?

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The Colorado Department of Natural Resources is looking at four pipeline concepts and two agricultural fallowing and dry up concepts as possible solutions to watering the unbridled growth along the Front Range. Here’s a report, from Bruce Finley writing for The Denver Post, about the pipeline plans from Flaming Gorge and the Green River proposed by the Colorado-Wyoming Coalition and the Million Resource Group. From the article:

Colorado municipal water suppliers are in discussions with their Wyoming counterparts exploring the feasibility. Separately, a private entrepreneur’s proposal to build a pipeline is under federal review. Colorado government officials — who have met with both contingents and are talking with Wyoming officials — recently included the “Flaming Gorge concept” among four options for diverting Western Slope water to the Front Range…

Huge hurdles remain, including financing and Colorado’s and Wyoming’s obligations to downriver states under an interstate compact. Conservationists object to the potential environmental impact of withdrawing the water…

The pipeline concept originated with entrepreneur Aaron Million and his Million Conservation Resource Group. In 2008, the group applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which regulates construction in waterways and wetlands. An environmental review has begun, and engineers are sifting through a deluge of public comments, said Rena Brand, regulatory specialist for the agency. “The majority of letters are against it” and “push for the idea of conserving more along the Front Range,” Brand said. Federal wildlife officials are among those questioning possible impacts on endangered species and migratory birds…

Million must provide a list of likely customers by January to establish a need for the pipeline, Brand said. Last week, Million said that “ongoing negotiations with 20-plus” potential customers in Wyoming and Colorado “are going well.” He declined to name them. The project could be done in five years, he said. He wasn’t invited to the municipal suppliers’ discussions at a country club, a slight he calls unfortunate. “The lack of collaboration is problematic. It was the private sector that developed the water in the West” before federal agencies got involved, he said. “This is a return to the historical development of water resources, using the efficiency of the private sector to get things accomplished.”

Meanwhile, the municipal suppliers’ group was to continue discussions in Wyoming this week. They are close to formalizing a coalition, Jaeger said. He declined to name participants.

Colorado’s top natural resources officials say they’ve talked with Million and Jaeger. The state’s emerging strategies for meeting projected demand — which include conservation, the re-use of water and rethinking low-density versus high-density growth — assume that importing some water between river basins will be necessary, said Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “Whether it is a public or a private project, it must incorporate public benefits,” Sherman said. “Sometimes it’s easier to incorporate public benefits with a public project, because the sponsoring entity is the public, and it will be focussed on public benefits. But it’s not impossible for a private project to incorporate a wide variety of public benefits. “

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here. Colorado-Wyoming Coalition coverage here.