State Engineer directs Reclamation to release recent precipitation gains from Bonny Reservoir

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

Bonny Lake State Park saw its level increase by nearly 5,000 acre feet this past week due to a couple of significant rain events. It did not take long for the State of Colorado to get on top of that, as State Engineer Dick Wolfe issued an order today, July 8, for the release of water from the lake. The water will be sent down the South Fork of the Republican River in the state’s continuing efforts to be in compliance with the Republican River Compact.

More coverage of the recent rainfall in the basin from Tony Rayl writing for the Yuma Pioneer. From the article:

Meteorologist Mark Buller with the National Weather Service out of Goodland, Kansas, said the storm was the result of the perfect combination of several factors — in other words, the perfect storm. He said the air mass was very moist, and the winds in the atmosphere that would move it along were not very strong, “so it formed and stayed there.” Buller said the strong winds were the result of the incredible amount of rain that was coming down. “There is so much rain coming down, that it drags the air down, too.” He said. He offered the technical term of “precipitation drag.”[…]

[Senior Park Ranger Bob Shade of Bonny Lake State Park] reported Tuesday that the water level at Bonny Lake had gone up 4.08 feet since Friday, equalling 4,857 acre feet. That raises the lake’s level to nearly 18,000 feet, the highest it has been in years. He added that more runoff was hitting the lake Tuesday from big rains that hit Burlington, Bethune and Flagler on Sunday, then flow to Bonny through Landsman Creek…

Shade said the state park itself received three inches of rain at the visitor’s center on the south side, 5.5 inches on the north side at the Foster Grove Campground, and four inches at the dam. “The cell just parked northwest of the lake and rained hard,” Shade said.

More Republican River Basin coverage here.

Colorado Springs: Water consumption and rate analysis

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From the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):

In some cases, Springs residents’ water bills are more than four times what they were a year ago. With June temperatures running 108 percent of normal and rainfall at just 15 percent of normal, Colorado Springs Utilities’ customers guzzled 3.4 billion gallons of water from June 1 through 27. That’s way more than the 2.5 billion for the same period last year and rivals the 3.45 billion used in June 2001, the year before drought forced conservation measures.

Springs customers are among the lowest per-capita water users on the Front Range, thanks to watering restrictions imposed during the drought and water-saving techniques since embraced by the community, such as Xeriscaping and low-flow appliances. But those who reacted to June’s heat, wind and skimpy rainfall by pouring water on their gardens and lawns got a big surprise in their mailboxes recently. Not only did higher usage push bills up, but they’re paying more for water than two years ago. In February 2009, rates went up 41 percent, but the change went largely unnoticed last year when rain drenched the area and helped sustain lawns. Then, on Jan. 1, another 6 percent hike kicked in, including a per-day customer charge…

A household that used 1,600 cubic feet in 2009 paid $55.18. If usage goes to 3,200 cubic feet this year, the tab is $138.48…

Also keep in mind that water rates are tiered, meaning the more you use, the higher per cubic foot you’re charged. For up to 999 cubic feet, you pay 2.24 cents per cubic foot; from 1,000 to 2,499 cubic feet, you pay 4.18 cents; and for more than 2,500 cubic feet, the rate is 6.17 cents…

If you think what’s happened to rates is bad already, brace yourself. Two consecutive 12 percent annual rate hikes begin next year, and four more are expected to follow, doubling water bills by 2016. While a chunk of the rate hikes will fund the $2.3 billion Southern Delivery System pipeline project from Pueblo Reservoir, they also will pay for system maintenance, which includes a 20-year water main rehabilitation program involving a quarter of the city’s 1,900-mile water pipe network, [Utilities spokeswoman Patrice Quintero] says.

More Arkansas Basin coverage here.

Northern Integrated Supply Project: Supporters plan rally for July 15

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From The Greeley Tribune:

Northern Colorado farm and ranch organizations and public officials have announced an agricultural rally to show support for the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a proposed water storage project that is a cooperative venture between agricultural ditch companies and growing northern Front Range communities. The rally will be from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 15 at Anderson Farms, outside Erie. The farm, at 6728 Weld County Road 3.25, is 2.5 miles east of Interstate 25 on Colo. 52 and a mile north on Weld 3.25…

“Had the NISP project been in place in the last two years, Colorado would have been able to capture and store more than 150,0000 acre-feet of water from the Poudre and South Platte basins alone,” Foutz said in a news release. “Instead, Colorado must watch as that water flows downstream to Nebraska.” The rally is designed to demonstrate the agricultural communities’ strong support for the water storage project. It will feature speakers from the farming and livestock community in northern Colorado, agricultural industry representatives and elected officials. It also will be an opportunity to highlight the importance of water storage to the future of agriculture in the region, and the strong farm and ranch community support for NISP, Foutz said. The rally will be open to the public and a barbecue lunch will be served.

More coverage from The Pulse – of Colorado Farm Bureau (Shawn Martini).

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.