Denver: Contractors, health officials and landowners are invited to participate in the development of new sewage disposal rules

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From The Fort Morgan Times:

An individual sewage disposal system stakeholders’ meeting is scheduled for Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Building A, in Denver…Many of the people at a recent stakeholders’ meeting in Fort Morgan expressed opposition to a statewide system of regulations, pointing to a likelihood of increased costs and saying that rural areas should not be subject to the same restrictions as more densely populated areas.

More wastewater coverage here.

CWCB: Don’t forget the streams at tax time

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

SUPPORT the COLORADO HEALTHY RIVERS FUND on your COLORADO STATE INCOME TAX RETURN

Donations support:

Cleaner Water
Healthier Wildlife & Restored Habitat
Improved Recreation & Accessibility

Since 2003, 86,342 citizens donated over $631,840 from their tax returns to fund 50 local water enhancement projects in Colorado.

In the CheckOff Colorado section of your state income tax form – LINE 34 – please contribute a portion of your refund to help protect and conserve our most fragile and important resource – OUR WATER.

For more information go to www.coloradowater.org and click on the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund logo.

Colorado State University: March/April issue of Colorado is hot off the presses

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From email from the Colorado State University Water Center and the Colorado Water Institute (Zachary Hittle):

The CSU Water Center and the Colorado Water Institute are pleased to announce the March / April 2010 issue of our Colorado Water newsletter

In their 2008 paper in the journal Science, Milly and his colleagues proclaimed, “Stationarity Is Dead” and went on to ponder, “Whither Water Management?” Their thesis was that climate change undermines a basic assumption that historically has facilitated management of water supplies, demands, and risks.

Most statistical forecasting methods are based on the assumption that a series can be rendered approximately stationary through the use of mathematical transformations. A stationarized series is relatively easy to forecast: you simply predict that statistical properties will be the same in the future as they have been in the past.

HB 10-1188: Opponents mount advertising campaign

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From the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):

Friends of Colorado’s Rivers is listed on the “paid for” line in the ads, which advocate for the property rights of landowners along Colorado rivers. The ad reaches out to landowners who may want to keep commercial rafting outfits from pulling out on their property in order to portage rough sections of water or deal with emergency situations.

The group caused some confusion for proponents of the legislation, who argue Colorado rivers should be kept open to the state’s $142-million-a-year rafting industry – even along private stretches. The problem was that Friends of Colorado’s Rivers isn’t listed with the Colorado Secretary of State as a political committee. It is, however, registered as a nonprofit corporation under the SOS business section.

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

Moffat Collection System Project: Denver Water’s Travis Bray tells forum in Summit County, ‘In dry years, we take smidge’

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

In addition to increasing diversions from the Fraser River, in Grand County, Denver Water would also take between 4,000 and 5,000 acre feet of additional water from Dillon Reservoir each year, equal to about 2 percent of the Blue’s annual flow at its confluence with the Colorado River near Kremmling. Denver Water project manager Travis Bray said that, without the project, Denver Water would have to take even more water from Dillon Reservoir in the future as demand for water grows on the Front Range. Currently, Denver Water’s collection system is unbalanced, with 90 percent going through the southern branches of the system (including Dillon Reservoir, the Roberts Tunnel and the South Platte), and only 10 percent in the northern collection system (including the Moffat Tunnel).

The Blue River Watershed Group hosted a public forum on the project Tuesday evening that turned into a classic trans-divide showdown. County and town officials advocated for more Front Range conservation, while Denver Water staffers gave a detailed explanation of their plan to export more West Slope water across the Continental Divide, and also outlined their conservation efforts. Bray said increased diversions from the Blue River Basin would mainly happen in wet years during peak spring flows, shaving some water off the top of the hydrograph when it’s least noticeable. “In dry years, we take smidge,” he said. “It puts water in storage to use during a drought.”[…]

Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said the draft study has some serious flaws…

“What happens in May to September is the main concern. That’s our primary recreation season,” she said, adding that the draft study failed to address potential climate change impacts and also didn’t take into account any of the possible outcomes of a wild and scenic river planning process currently under way…

Similar concerns were repeated by Erica Stock, an outreach coordinator with Colorado Trout Unlimited.
The fisheries conservation group has specific ecological concerns related to lower flows, including warmer water that harms fish and higher concentrations of toxic metals. All those issues need to be addressed in the environmental study, she said. “We need minimum flows, flushing flows, adaptive management and monitoring. If we see the river is starting to collapse, we need to stop doing what we’re doing,” she concluded.

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here.

Hammon Oklahoma tornado

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One of my colleagues at Examiner.com has posted video of Monday’s tornado in Hammon Oklahoma. These weather events always fascinate me.

Snowpack news: Snow-water equivalent up slightly in South Platte River Basin

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From the Estes Park Trail (Mike Oatley):

With about six weeks left in the snow accumulation season, the snowpack statewide, and especially across the northern half of the state, is lagging well behind both 2009 levels and long-term averages. The silver lining in the outlook for 2010 is the strong snowpacks of the past couple of years. A National Resources Conservation Service report states that “(a)bout the only good news for water supplies is the near average reservoir storage across most of the state.”[…]

The Big Thompson Basin was running about 77 percent of last year`s level and 75 percent of the long-term average at this point in the season. The Cache la Poudre Basin is holding about 80 percent of its average snowpack. The St. Vrain Basin, hampered in particular by a lack of snow in Wild Basin, is sitting at 69 percent of last season`s level and just 59 percent of its average…

Watersheds in the southern part of the state are faring better in general, though only two watersheds are at or above their averages. Most of the northern half of the state is at less than 80 percent of average. Only portions of the Arkansas, Rio Grande and San Juan basins are expected to reach average or above snowpacks.

Farther south, some southern New Mexico river basins have a water content in the snowpack greater than 200 percent of average…

Water managers are forecasting the lowest streamflows since the height of the drought eight years ago. The NRCS gives the snowpack a 10 percent chance of reaching average and forecast “well below average runoff” in the Colorado, Yampa, White, and North and South Platte basins.

SB 10-052 (Alter Designated Groundwater Basin Area) is moving through the State House

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

Sponsored in the House by Rep. Kathleen Curry, U-Gunnison, [SB 10-052] (pdf) seeks to honor already permitted wells in the event that the Colorado Ground Water Commission redraws boundaries of the state’s eight existing designated groundwater basins.

Designated groundwater basins generally are considered nontributary, or at least not adjacent to major streams and rivers. They may include municipal, industrial and agricultural uses. At odds in the bill are the rights of senior surface water rights and the interests of permitted well users relying on groundwater…

Arguing in favor of the bill, Sonnenberg said the Legislature recognized in the 1960s that managing groundwater basins required a different set of rules than the set steering surface rights and therefore established the Colorado Ground Water Commission. Surface rights holders who have claims of injury would not be left without recourse because they could bring their challenges to the commission, he said…

Initially, the House rejected the bill by head count, called a division vote, Tuesday. But supporters called for a recorded vote of the full House, and it was revived by a margin of 33-30, with two representatives excused…

Having already been passed by the Senate with little saber-rattling, the bill next faces a final vote of the House.

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

Flaming Gorge pipeline: Million Resources Group in Casper pitching the project to Wyoming officials

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From the Casper Star-Tribune (Pete Nickeas):

The Casper City Council heard from two of Million’s representatives at Monday night’s work session, after hearing from the group of municipal investors in February. At that meeting, the council agreed to set aside $20,000 to help the municipal group study the pipeline’s feasibility.
Though the city’s water supply is considered safe and reliable, the council is looking 50 to 100 years out at projected water needs. Owning a piece of the water supply from the Green River Basin, which would be dumped into the North Platte River via Million or the other group’s pipeline, would allow the city to account for future growth…

Under Million’s plan, Casper and other water districts would own the right to the water, and Million’s pipeline would ship it from point A to point B. Water districts would be charged based on how far the water has to be pumped, said Jeff Fassett, former state engineer who is now working for Million. “He’s the highway. Our model is that the individual end users, including Casper, Cheyenne, Lake Hattie … we believe you need to apply and obtain and secure and maintain your own water rights,” Fassett said. “There’s no reason for Mr. Million or anybody else to have control over the city’s water supply.”[…]

Council Vice President Paul Bertoglio and others repeatedly asked for a cost estimate, a request [Million’s attorney, Steve Freudenthal] danced around without providing specifics. Bertoglio, an engineer by trade, said the costs of pumping water hundreds of miles through a pipe over a mountain could make the entire project cost prohibitive. “In terms of what we’re looking at — the precision is so far off that I hesitate to go into that,” Freudenthal said. “But the basic preposition at the far end is what potential users — what’s their second cheapest alternative? And our numbers come in well below those.”[…]

None of the council members have questioned the need to plan long-term for the city’s water supply, and the city hasn’t committed to either party yet. For now, the city seems content “riding both horses” and seeing which group can piece together the best proposal.

More Flaming Gorge Pipeline coverage here and here.

Summit County commissioners okay Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement

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From the Summit County Voice (Bob Berwyn):

County commissioners Tuesday gave their go-ahead for the enlargement of Old Dillon Reservoir, a $7 million project that will give local water users some new options, with storage high in the Blue River Basin. The 62-acre-foot reservoir was built in 1936 and stored water for Dillon until the town was relocated when Dillon Reservoir was created by Denver Water. Under the proposed enlargement, formally approved by the U.S. Forest Service last week, Old Dillon Reservoir’s capacity would be upped to 286 acre feet…

County officials have estimated the construction and preliminary soft costs like planning and design will total about $7 million, but they’re hopeful that the economic climate will result in some favorable bids that would lower the total cost. The county will pay for about 53 percent of the project, with Silverthorne kicking in about 8 percent and Dillon paying for the rest. Dillon stands to benefit significantly from the project. The town currently depends on surface water from Straight Creek, which is vulnerable to pollution from I-70. During the 2002 drought, Straight Creek flows dropped to a point that had Dillon thinking about direct diversions from Dillon Reservoir. The water in Old Dillon Reservoir could also be used to enhance stream flows in the Snake and Lower blue under other scenarios.

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More coverage from the Summit Daily News (Julie Sutor):

The proposed expansion would enlarge Old Dillon Reservoir’s capacity from 62 acre-feet to 286 acre-feet by raising its north and south dams. The $7 million project would create new water-storage and water-supply capacity for the town of Dillon, the town of Silverthorne and unincorporated Summit County. All three entities project that demand for municipal water in their respective service areas will increase in coming years. Old Dillon Reservoir was originally constructed in 1936 as a water-supply source for Dillon. The 14-acre reservoir is fed by water diverted from Salt Lick Gulch, just to its north. Salt Lick Gulch is a tributary of the lower Blue River.

In 1963, Denver Water constructed the new Dillon Reservoir to supply drinking water to Denver, requiring the town of Dillon to relocate from its original location to its current one. Since the move, Dillon has been unable to use the water in Old Dillon Reservoir, but the town has maintained the reservoir and the water rights to it. In the spring of 2008, a culvert carrying water from Old Dillon Reservoir failed under Interstate-70’s westbound lanes, causing a portion of the highway to collapse. The culvert was replaced, but the Colorado Division of Water Resources ordered the Town of Dillon to drain the reservoir over concern for safety of its north dam. The reservoir is to remain drained until either the proposed expansion is conducted or the Town of Dillon reconstructs the north dam.

More Old Dillon Reservoir coverage here and more Old Dillon Reservoir coverage here.

Salida: Construction begins to improve town’s whitewater park

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From the Salida Citizen:

Construction on expansion of the Whitewater Park has begun as two new play features are being installed before a March 31st regulatory deadline. Planned improvements include two new whitewater playspots and a trail extension through Riverside Park. Additions will also include a built-in year-round rock climbing structure appropriate for children and beginner to advanced adult climbers. Much needed bathrooms and changing rooms at the Salida downtown boat ramp will also be complete in time for the summer rush. The City of Salida, in partnership with the Arkansas River Trust was awarded a grant to expand the Salida Whitewater Park and improve Riverside Park. The majority of the funding has come from a GOCO grant and a cash match by the City of Salida. Citizens have been very generous with their support however, the Arkansas River Trust is seeking additional funding from the community to supplement the grant.

The Arkansas River Trust is raising funds by selling Bricks that will be placed in Riverside Park. Your brick purchase will help support this effort and create a lasting memorial to your family and/or business. The engraved bricks will be inset, in the new trail extension in Riverside Park near the Rotary Amphitheater. For more information please e-mail arkrivertrust@gmail.com.

More whitewater coverage here.

Water found in rocks retrieved from the Moon by Apollo missions

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From the National Geographic (John Roach):

Tiny amounts of water have been found in some of the famous moon rocks brought back to Earth by the Apollo astronauts, scientists announced last Wednesday. The water levels detected in Apollo moon rocks and volcanic glasses are in the thousands of parts per million, at most—which explains why analyses of the samples in the late 1960s and early 1970s concluded that the moon was absolutely arid. “Only in the last decade have instruments become sensitive enough to even analyze water at those kinds of concentrations,” said Gary Lofgren, the lunar curator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas…

In part by bombarding the mineral with a particle beam from an electron microprobe, the researchers were able to calculate the amounts of the gases fluorine and chlorine within the sample. Given known formulas for apatite, the amounts of fluorine and chlorine present suggest there’s another compound needed to complete the mineral’s crystal structure. The missing molecule, the team concluded, must be hydroxide—a common component of apatite and a byproduct of the breakup of water. The finding is “one of the first to detect water in a lunar magmatic mineral” and adds to evidence that moon magma, in general, contains trace amounts of water, according to geoscientist Francis McCubbin, who participated in the research. But, though discoveries of moon water continue to mount, they’re really just drops in the bucket, said McCubbin, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “While there is a lot more water in the moon than we previously thought,” he said, “it is still orders of magnitude drier than the Earth and Mars and therefore completely consistent with the last 40 years of lunar sample observation.”

Greeley: ‘Fix a leak week’ March 15-21

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From The Greeley Tribune:

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Residents are asked to check household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. According to a prepared release, minor water leaks can amount to more than 10,000 gallons in a home and accounts for more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted per year in U.S. homes. Greeley is hosting workshops to help residents find and repair leaks at 12:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday at the Greeley Recreation Center, 651 10th Ave. Each workshop is scheduled to last half an hour.

More infrastructure coverage here.