NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin

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Clck here (pdf) for a copy of Henry Reges’ notes from yesterday’s webinar and conference call.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

Colorado River Basin: Jonathan Waterman will discuss his journey from the Colorado River headwaters to the Gulf of California June 28

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Here’s the release from Save The Colorado via email from the Save the Poudre email list:

On June 28th at 5:00 pm northern Colorado citizens will get a glimpse of an epic journey by one of America’s foremost explorers at New Belgium Brewing.

In 2008, Jonathan Waterman, a National Geographic Society grantee and award-winning author began a journey by foot and boat down the iconic mother of all western American rivers, the Colorado. Standing at over 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, Jon emptied his mother’s ashes into its headwaters and began a journey all the way to the river’s last trickle in the Sonoran desert and down the parched Mexican delta to the Pacific Ocean. It was the first time in recorded history that anyone had ever traveled from these headwaters 1,450-miles to the Gulf of California and it was a compelling, complicated, and hugely informative journey.

Waterman chronicles his experience in his new book, Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River, which the author will sign after his talk and photo presentation at New Belgium. Waterman’s photos offer stunning imagery chronicling the journey. In addition, Waterman interviewed over two dozen Western water leaders and river enthusiasts along his journey – his book and photo presentation offer a rare slice of the Western American culture centering around the Colorado River.

The Colorado, sometimes called the American Nile, supplies water for 30 million people and more than 3 million farm acres, across seven western states and northern Mexico. But the demands made on the river have put its very future at stake – the river has not reached the sea for many years. The City of Fort Collins gets about 30% of its water from the Colorado River, and is involved in additional projects to draw even more water across the divide to the northern Colorado. Hundreds of thousands of farm acres in northern Colorado are irrigated by Colorado River water.

“This real question, once we build awareness, is how will we affect change on the river?” said author and explorer, Jonathan Waterman.

New Belgium Brewing helped fund Waterman’s journey down the Colorado, and then in May of 2010, launched the “Save the Colorado” campaign, a philanthropic endeavor to help fund environmental groups working to save the river. That endeavor – at http://www.SaveTheColorado.org – will donate over $500,000 to groups working to protect the Colorado over the next three years.

“Jon Waterman really helped bring the plight of the Colorado to our attention,” said New Belgium Brewing’s media relations director, Bryan Simpson. “We encourage all parties to become aware of the issues facing the Colorado and become involved in protecting this invaluable river.”

The event is free to the public and will be held at New Belgium Brewing, 500 Linden St., Fort Collins, CO.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District exchange case update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District faces objections from 21 parties in its quest to obtain an exchange decree that could allow it to use water it intends to purchase in the Lower Arkansas Valley. Three of the objections are from ditches where El Paso County water district already has contracted to buy water rights, the High Line, Holbrook and Excelsior ditch systems. The contracts, which total nearly $4 million and would produce about 1,800 acre-feet of water, are with individual owners and not the ditch companies…

Another is from Stonewall Springs Quarry, owned by Colorado Springs developers Mark and Jim Morley, which has since contracted with Woodmoor for a reservoir site…

The water court objections were filed in February, after Woodmoor filed for an exchange decree in December. Woodmoor proposes to move water up the Arkansas River, Fountain Creek and Monument Creek through exchanges, using some reservoirs they do not own or which have not even been built. An exchange allows water to be taken out of priority, with releases from storage that allow other water rights to be served. At the time, Woodmoor did not have any water rights in the Lower Arkansas Valley, and many of the objections submitted to Division 2 Water Court brought up concerns about speculation.

“The application is speculative, and is inconsistent with statutory and case law requirements for appropriative rights of exchange,” attorney Stephen Leonhardt wrote on behalf of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The Southeastern District also is seeking to protect the use of Lake Pueblo and Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water since Woodmoor is outside the district…

All of the large municipal users on the Arkansas River filed objections to the exchange decree. Also objecting was the city of Pueblo, which seeks to protect the Arkansas River flow program established under a 2004 intergovernmental agreement and its own recreational in-channel diversion water right.

The Woodmoor district serves about 3,300 customers north of Colorado Springs, on the El Paso-Douglas county line east of Interstate 25.

More Arkansas Basin coverage here.