Colorado Springs: Colorado Rural Water Association’s 29th Annual Training Conference and Exhibition February 15-18

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Here’s the lowdown from the Colorado Rural Water Association.

Tamarisk control: 15 camels working the tamarisk clusters near Loma

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From Discovery News (Alyssa Danigelis):

Rancher Maggie Repp has unleashed her 15 camels in Loma, Colorado, on tamarisk clusters and noticed that they managed to obliterate every one of the hardy shrubs, Lisa Song reports in the High Country News.

More tamarisk control coverage here and here.

Grand Junction: Pit-liner bill upheld

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From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Wwebb):

Judge William W. Hood III issued the ruling Tuesday in the case brought by Fourmile Recycling Facility Inc. of Moffat County, and a second operation there.

The operators challenged rules adopted by the Colorado Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission, which was implementing a new state law. The Legislature passed the bill in 2008 out of concern about the potential health effects of the facilities in places such as the De Beque area in Mesa County. Its principal sponsors included state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and Bernie Buescher, a former state representative from Grand Junction now serving as secretary of state. The law requires new facilities to be located at least a half mile from homes, other occupied structures and parks. Companies also must now use synthetic rather than more permeable clay liners for disposal pits unless they qualify for waivers.

Brine waste from oil and gas exploration and production consists of salt water mixed with small amounts of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of wells, along with crude oil and other hydrocarbons.

The new rules don’t apply to brine waste disposal by oil and gas well owners, who instead are subject to similar regulation by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Hood disagreed with plaintiffs’ contentions that the new rules were contrary to the 2008 law, unreasonable and unconstitutional, and that they usurped local regulatory authority over such disposal sites.

More groundwater coverage here and

Flaming Gorge pipeline: Million Resources Group has seventeen entities in Colorado and Wyoming interested in the water

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Update: Here’s the list from the Associated Press via CBS4Denver.com:

Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and its subdistricts, headquartered in Greeley, Colo., up to 150,000 acre feet; Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities: from 3,500 to 5,500 acre feet by the year 2040; City of Brighton, Colo.: up to 12,000 acre feet; Douglas County, Colo.,: up to 40,000 acre feet; East Larimer County Water District, Up to 5,000 acre feet; Fort Collins-Loveland Water District; up to 5,000 acre feet; Larimer and Weld Irrigation Co.: up to 20,000 acre feet; Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, up to 35,000 acre feet; Norris Ranches (T-Cross Ranches, Norris Cattle Inc. in Colorado Springs); up to 20,000 acre feet; North Sterling Irrigation District; up to 25,000 acre feet; Penley Water Company in Douglas County, Colo.,; Up to 10,000 acre feet; Pioneer Canal and Lake Hattie Irrigation District in Wyoming, 8,000 acre feet; Prewitt Operating Committee, headquartered in Sterling, Colo., (Logan Irrigation Co., Illiff Irrigation District, Morgan Prewitt Reservoir Co.), up to 10,000 acre feet; Windsor Reservoir and Canal Co., up to 10,000 acre feet; Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, up to 3,000 acre feet.

More coverage from the Associated Press (Ben Neary) via CBS4Denver.com. From the article:

Mike DiTullio, general manager Fort Collins-Loveland Water District, said Thursday his district serves 15,000 customers and ultimately could use another 10,000 acre feet of water. The district’s letter submitted to the Corps of Engineers expresses interest in securing an additional 5,000 acre feet per year. “We’re interested in any water project that could bring water into northern Colorado,” DiTullio said. “It doesn’t have to be (Million’s); we’re into any of them. We think that water is just an essential ingredient for the health and welfare of northern Colorado and Wyoming.”

Tim Murrell, Douglas County water resources planner in Castle Rock, Colo., said Thursday that the county’s letter expressing the need for up to 40,000 acre feet of water doesn’t indicate support or opposition to the pipeline project. “It wasn’t interest in this water,” Murrell said of the county’s letter. “It was a statement that we would need a certain amount of water from some source.”

From the Associated Press via KJCT8.com:

Some of the potential customers say they don’t necessarily endorse the pipeline project, which faces opposition in Wyoming…Million this week gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a list of 17 local water entities in Colorado and Wyoming interested in getting water. He says their needs exceed the pipeline’s capacity and prove that it’s necessary.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Republican River Water Conservation District board meeting recap

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

Legal counsel David Robbins told the board that the three states — Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska — have reached a contract agreement with arbitrator Martha Pagel of Oregon. Colorado invoked the non-binding fasttrack arbitration last August after Kansas and Nebraska voted down the pipeline plan as presented. The initial timeline called for the arbitrator being chosen by September 16, the trial to be held February 1-5, with the arbitrator’s decision due by March 1. Robbins said there was no news yet on a revamped timeline. “We are more in a mode of a tugboat on an oceanliner, trying to nudge the three states along,” he said, noting the district itself had very little power in terms of forcing the states into action…

Robbins told the board that Colorado officials were meeting with their Nebraska counterparts this week in an effort to find out how to reach an agreement on the pipeline. Robbins and Dennis Montgomery, another member of the RRWCD’s legal team, were going to be involved with the meetings…

Later in last Thursday’s meeting, district engineer Jim Slattery reported that pipeline consultant GEI strongly recommends not do the prequalifying of potential contractors until ready to actually do the project. He added that GEI is receiving phone calls daily from contractors eager to get started, and the process is receiving interest from all over the country. That was when Robbins spoke up again, asking if the district should build before it is clear how much credit toward compact compliance Colorado will receive for the water it sends down the North Fork from the pipeline. (As it stands now, only 22 percent of the water that crossed the gage at the Nebraska state line would go toward compact compliance. However, when all is said and done, it is expected Colorado will receive 80 to 100 percent credit.) He noted that if the arbitration goes well, then Colorado will be in a stronger position to go forward with the pipeline…

Board President Dennis Coryell said last Thursday the district is just beginning to receiving the feedback, and hopes all ground water management districts and commissioners provide their opinion within the coming weeks.
(The district already has spent more than $40 million on purchasing the wells for the pipeline, from the Cure family. The wells are located approximately 10 miles or more north of Laird in extreme eastern Yuma County. However, there is another $15 million of the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s $60 million loan left to spend on construction of the pipeline.) Board members did relay some feedback they have received. Greg Larson said Byron Weathers of Colorado Corn, indicated the organization would prefer to wait for arbitration to run its course. Several others said their ground water districts are leaning toward waiting for the arbitrator’s decision, as well as other issues to be settled, such as the amount of credit Colorado will receive, the sub-basin test on the South Fork being pushed by Kansas. (The state is fighting the idea of water being sent down the North Fork counting for the water the compact states Colorado should be sending down the South Fork.)

More Republican River Basin coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley: Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District offers $40,000 per share for rights on the High Line Canal

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A copy of a contract being offered by the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District revealed the offer. Woodmoor is seeking to buy shares of the High Line and Holbrook canals, which primarily serve farmers in Otero County. The Woodmoor district is on the northern El Paso County line, east of Interstate 25. It serves 8,400 customers and some of the homes in the district drain into the South Platte basin.

It’s not known how many contract offers have been made, who has accepted or what prices are being offered on the Holbrook Canal. The contract provides a diligence period of four months with the possibility of extension. The price reflects the potential difficulty of moving water from the Arkansas Valley. Bessemer Ditch shares last year sold to the Pueblo Board of Water Works for $10,150 each. A share on the Bessemer historically irrigated 1 acre. Further down the river, on the Fort Lyon and Amity canals, shares have sold to municipal or industrial interests for a less than $2,500 per acre in recent years. High Line sold water to Aurora and Colorado Springs on a temporary lease agreement for $500 per acre in 2004-05.

The district filed for an exchange decree on potential Lower Arkansas Valley water rights on Dec. 30 in Division 2 Water Court. The move would allow Woodmoor to take water by exchange up reservoirs, both existing and planned, on the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek. On Wednesday, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board voted unanimously to oppose the water court application.

More Arkansas Basin coverage here.

Colorado State University: Water Tables 2010 February 20

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Here’s the link to the website. They write:

Join us for the fifth year of Water Tables, the annual fundraiser supporting the Water Resources Archive on Saturday, February 20.

You won’t want to miss this evening of dinner and conversation with experts on Western water. This year’s theme, “Across State Lines: Sharing the Resource,” promises to be livelier than ever. The event starts at 5 p.m. with a reception and tour of the Archive at Morgan Library before moving to the Lory Student Center main ballroom for dinner.

You can choose to sit with one of 20 table hosts who will hold discussions during dinner on various aspects of how states and countries share water. Archival materials on display during the reception will illuminate some of the history behind the topic.

With one international and five out-of-state water experts hosting tables this year, the Water Resources Archive is giving greater attention to western water issues, as well as Colorado’s precarious position of being the Headwaters State.

Water Tables 2010 provides a unique opportunity to mingle with this special group representing diverse perspectives. Join us!

Here’s the list of table hosts and topics from the CSU Water Resources Archives Newsletter:

Colorado State University Libraries will host Water Tables 2010, its fifth annual fundraiser for the Water Resources Archive, at 5 p.m. Saturday, February 20th. The event starts with a reception and tour of the Archive at Morgan Library before moving to the Lory Student Center main ballroom for dinner.

The theme this year is “Across State Lines: Sharing the Resource.” Twenty table hosts will hold discussions during dinner focused on various aspects of how states and countries share water. Archival materials on display during the reception will illuminate some of the history behind the topic.

With one international and five out-of-state water experts hosting tables this year, the Water Resources Archive is giving greater attention to western water issues, broadly, as well as Colorado’s precarious position of being the Headwaters State. Water Tables 2010 provides a unique opportunity to interact with this special assemblage representing diverse perspectives.

This year’s table hosts and topics are:

Don Ament, Former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture
Topic: Is ag dry-up inevitable?

Alan Berryman, Assistant General Manager, Engineering Division, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District
Topic: Interstate comity is for the birds

John D’Antonio, New Mexico State Engineer
Topic: The Rio Grande Compact — sharing the resource

Derek Everett, Visiting assistant professor, History Department, Metropolitan State College of Denver
Topic: Fluid boundaries: water and western state lines

Jennifer Gimbel, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board
Topic: The state of Colorado’s role in balancing non-consumptive needs and meeting the state’s future consumptive use demands

Neil Grigg, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University
Topic: Water for a sustainable future: challenges to the political system

Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program Director, The Nature Conservancy
Topic: The Colorado River Compact: is it up to the task?

Tom Iseman, Program Director for Water Policy and Implementation, Western Governors Association
Topic: How far has multi-state water management gotten us? Where will it lead us?

Frank Jaeger, District Manager, Parker Water and Sanitation District
Topic: Colorado-Wyoming Coalition: developing Colorado River water across state lines

Eric Kuhn, General Manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District
Topic: How can we keep from losing the resource? How would we deal with a compact call on the Colorado River?

Harry LaBonde, Jr., Wyoming Deputy State Engineer
Topic: The Green River Pipeline Regional Watershed Supply Project — perspectives from Wyoming

Mario Lopez Perez, Engineering and Technical Standards Manager, National Water Commission of Mexico
Topic: The Colorado River as an international river: Mexico’s perspective

Jon Monson, Director of Water and Sewer, City of Greeley
Topic: The Laramie-Poudre Tunnel and the Colorado-Wyoming Compact of 1957: a tale of transfer ag to urban

Patrick O’Toole, President of the Family Farm Alliance, and former member of President Clinton’s Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission
Topic: A historical look at western water policy development

Jennifer Pitt, Senior Resource Analyst, Environmental Defense Fund
Topic: Si se puede? U.S.-Mexico cooperation on the Colorado River

Rock Ringling, Managing Director, Montana Land Trust
Topic: Private land conservation’s role in the preservation of wetlands and water resources

Bill Rinne, Director, Surface Water Resources Dept., Southern Nevada Water Authority
Topic: Augmenting the Colorado River — sharing the resource

David Robbins, President and Co-founder, Hill & Robbins, P.C.
Topic: Why we have to share — limits on our right to consume

Randy Seaholm, Former Chief, Water Supply Protection, Colorado Water Conservation Board
Topic: Environmental flows, Colorado’s compact entitlement and compact administration

Steve Vandiver, General Manager, Rio Grande Water Conservation District
Topic: Riding herd on the Rio Grande Compact in the San Luis Valley

More Colorado Water coverage here.