Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project: Will Aurora need a change of use from water court to lease water to Nestlé?

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From the Colorado Independent (Scot Kersgaard):

Terry Scanga, general manager of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, a key Aurora water partner and one angered by the deal, told the Colorado Independent it’s not clear Aurora has the right to lease water to Nestle. “Water is decreed for specific uses in specific areas. Aurora’s water rights in the Arkansas Basin were decreed for their use in their municipality,” he said…

Greg Baker, manager of public relations for Aurora Water, told the Independent that, in fact, the city is leasing only a small percentage of excess capacity to Nestle and that if a situation arises where Aurora needs the water for its own uses, it can temporarily shut down the Nestle operation. Baker said that Aurora has storage capacity of 155,000 acre-feet of water in various reservoirs, so 200 acre-feet may not matter one way or another to the city.

More Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project coverage here and here.

Grand Island: Platte River Recovery Implementation Program progress report recap

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From the Kearney Hub (Lori Porter):

CPNRD Biologist Mark Czaplewski said recent high streamflows have covered river sandbars and washed away any least tern and piping plover nests that might have been on them. The one possible exception is a “high and dry” artificial sandbar.

Director Dick Mercer of Kearney asked if current flows are more or less than what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials want to manage habitat for threatened and endangered species. “Both,” Czaplewski said, explaining that the program plan for channel maintenance includes lesser flows at times and higher, short-duration flows at other times. He said higher sandbars can be built by higher river flows, but only if the water is provided by Mother Nature, not reservoir releases. “There are easier, more economical ways to do the same thing with a bulldozer and a few gallons of diesel fuel, without taking water away from people,” Czaplewski said. “… Those birds will use sandpits and artificial sandbars. I have preached that for 20 years, and there are a lot of other people preaching it.”[…]

Czaplewski said staying involved in the program is the only way to chip away with other ideas and to use the program’s adaptive management component — changing methods if they aren’t achieving their goals. “If you look at what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ultimately wants, it’s just overwhelming,” he said, adding that the Endangered Species Act is “a hammer” in the agency’s hands.

More South Platte Basin coverage here.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board meeting recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board Friday considered its strategy in seeking funding for 2012, and possibly may ask some entities like El Paso and Pueblo counties, as well as cities that signed a 2009 intergovernmental agreement to form the district, for money in next year’s budget.

The district is now funded for $100,000 annually by Colorado Springs Utilities and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District as part of an agreement they reached in 2007 to complete a Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan. The budget pays the salary of Executive Director Gary Barber and other administrative expenses. That agreement continues in 2011, but nothing is in place for 2012. The board earlier this year agreed that it will not be in a position to ask voters for a mill levy until 2012 at the earliest, so the district would face a gap in funding.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

Greeley: Confluence Institute at the Poudre Learning Center recap

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From The Fence Post (Bill Jackson):

The institute’s first effort drew about 20 teachers from Greeley-Evans School District 6, Eaton Re-2 and Adams 12, Bouvette said. It was conducted as part of Project WET — Water Education for Teachers — which is an international teachers training effort. The Great Western Institute is the host organization for Project WET in Colorado, but Bouvette said it exists in 49 states and 26 countries.

Project WET, he said, builds networks to encourage effective and sustainable water education programs, and utilizes the core belief that water is important to all users, including business and industry, earth systems, energy, agriculture and a host of others — basically anyone who uses water, which is everyone. The project has developed and published more than 50 guides, kits and books for teachers and students that address a wide variety of topics.

More education coverage here.