Arkansas Basin Water Forum recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Water providers from Canon City, Penrose and Custer County shared their experiences at the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum last week. “You need to base water rates on the true cost to water users, while having tap fees for new growth that are defensible,” said Bob Hartzman, Canon City water supervisor.

About one-third of Canon City’s water mains need to be replaced, because some cast iron lines are more than 100 years old. Canon City will face about $42 million in upgrades over the next 20 years, and recently borrowed $12.5 million for the first phase. It’s not alone. Statewide, $5 billion needs to be invested in municipal infrastructure in the next two decades, Hartzman said. “This has made for tough decisions for our City Council,” he said…

Penrose is making plans for a new well-field delivery system of water rights it purchased a couple of years ago, and planning is essential, said Lissa Pinello, president of the local water district…

The Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District had to come to grips with its own aging system in the last few years, said Chris Haga, a board member. The district, which serves Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, completed a new well and upgraded service lines, using grants from the state Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Water Conservation Board, through the Arkansas Basin Roundtable. Those were just the most recent steps in a 15-year process to upgrade a water system that had aging water lines and often lost pressure on heavy-use days.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Gunnison River Basin: The North Fork River Improvement Association board approves merger with the with Western Slope Environmental Resource Council

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From the Delta County Independent:

Meeting twice to review and consider an agreement and plan of merger between NFRIA and the WSERC, the board held two votes at its second special meeting on March 26. The board voted unanimously to approve the agreement and plan of merger and again voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to present for a vote the agreement and plan of merger to the membership at the annual meeting.

More Gunnison River Basin coverage here and here.

A look at climate change and the water resources picture in the Colorado River Basin

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Here’s an in-depth look at what we think we know about climate change and water resources, from Allen Best writing for The Aspen Times. Click through and read the whole thing. Here are a couple of excerpts:

The image of Colorado’s water resources in the future remains a blurry one. Laurna Kaatz, a climate scientist with the Denver Water Department, said decisions involving multimillion-dollar water infrastructure should not be made based on the results so far. “To say you’re going to plan for a single future based on one of the climate models with one emissions scenarios is, I don’t think, a responsible way of using the information,” she says.

But more than anything else, the study suggests that management of water resources will become more difficult. That’s the view of Mark Fuller, the executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority. Needs of endangered species and population growth have already made management more complicated. “Our margins for error for who we manage water are getting thinner and thinner,” he says. He points out that existing infrastructure, institutions and policies were designed for water on a crude scale. The uncertainties of the future suggest a need for more subtlety, he says.

All water officials and scientists agree this and other studies estimating the possible effects of global climate change on the American West are hardly the last word. “We will have to recognize that 20 years from now we will know a lot more than we know now,” said Kuhn.

More Climate Change coverage here and here.

Englewood/Littleton wastewater treatment plant is testing ultraviolet disinfection

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From the Englewood Herald (Tom Munds):

Dennis Stowe, plant manager, said the current chlorine system does a pretty good job of killing bacteria but new technological data reports the ultraviolet system provides better disinfection action on some bacteria than chlorine. Also, the chlorine used is similar to bleach. But while the chlorine is a good disinfectant, federal and state requirements mandate that an additional chemical must be added during the process to remove the bleach-like material before the water is allowed to flow into the river because it is bad for the aquatic life, Stowe said. “The system we are testing disinfects with the portion of the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn,” he said. “Those rays eliminate the bacteria by making them infertile so they die out. It also means there are no chemicals to remove before the water is put into the river.”

The plant has already tested one company’s system and currently is putting another company’s system through its paces. For about the next two months, plant crews will have the pilot-project system up and running so the technicians can collect performance data on the disinfection performance of the ultraviolet system. “We’ll evaluate the data to determine if we definitely are going to move forward with an ultraviolet disinfection system,” Stowe said. “Once all the data is collected, it’ll take a couple months to complete the evaluation. Then, if we decide ultraviolet is a better disinfecting system, we’ll begin the process necessary to move ahead with eventual installation.”[…]

Provided the state approves the plan, the plant will design the project and begin installation. Stowe said the target date for switch over to ultraviolet is 2014 and the project will cost $8 million to $10 million. He said the cost of operation for the chlorine and ultraviolet system will be about the same because while chemical costs will be less, the ultraviolet system uses more electricity.

More wastewater treatment coverage here.

Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership meeting Wednesday

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From the Montrose Daily Press:

The new Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership will meet from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at DMEA in Montrose. The meeting is open to the public. Partners will review more than 50 years worth of water quality data on the Uncompahgre River, from its source at Lake Como to the mouth at Delta. This will provide water resource specialists, city planners, agency experts and citizen groups a scientific foundation from which to establish watershed goals…

For more information, e-mail or call 303-408-1312.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here and here.