Wiggins scores nine shares of the Weldon Valley Ditch Company

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins Town Council members voted unanimously during their monthly meeting Wednesday night to contract with Tom and Donna Deganhart to buy nine shares of Weldon Valley Ditch Co. water at a cost of $720,000. That contract required $20,000 of earnest money, but that will give the town the right to look at records on the water use and a chance to figure out how much water those shares would yield for use by the town. Since the town already bought shares of Weldon Valley Ditch water which should give it 103 acre-feet, and this purchase may yield 150 acre-feet, that might be all the water the town`s water project will need, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers.

More Wiggins coverage here.

River call primer

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From The Lamar Ledger:

Because of the water allocation systems in play in Colorado, due to the Arkansas River Compact between Colorado and Kansas, rights to utilize the water in the river are broken into senior and junior water rights, with earlier, or senior claims to water use from the river taking precedence. The River Call states the date of the most junior or recent claim for water use that is eligible to receive water. For example, if the date of the River Call is 3-10, 1889, then those with water rights dating to March 10, 1889 are able to divert water for [beneficial] use.

In 1902, Kansas claimed that Colorado was taking too much of the water from the Arkansas River, making the land dependent on the river in Kansas less valuable. The Supreme Court dismissed Kansas’ petition in 1907 on other grounds, finding that development of land in Colorado had depleted the water in Kansas. The Court invited Kansas to file a new claim if the situation worsened. In 1943, The Supreme Court restrained further prosecution of Colorado by Kansas against Colorado users of the Arkansas River. A settlement was negotiated in 1995 between Colorado and Kansas, creating the Arkansas River Compact and in 2001 a special master ordered Colorado to pay damages to Kansas for use of water in excess of what it was entitled to have from 1969 on. Several ditches in Colorado and Kansas utilize the water. There are six ditches in Kansas, including the Amazon and Farmer’s Ditch. Ditches in Colorado include the Bessemer, Highline, Rocky Ford, Catlin and Amity.

More education coverage here.

Colorado River: Grand Diversion Dam history

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A while back Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs told a crowd in Silverthorne that, “The water ditch is the basin of civilization.” Here’s some history of the Grand Diversion Dam, from Kathy Jordan writing for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

Whether driving east or west on Interstate 70, a traveler can’t help but notice the magnificent roller dam spanning the Colorado River about eight miles upriver from Palisade. This diversion dam has supplied the lifeblood of water to farmers in the area since it was completed in 1918.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

2010 Colorado elections: The Pueblo Board of Water Works is taking a hard look at the possible impacts of Amendments 60 and 61 along with Proposition 101

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Amendment 60 would require the water board to pay property taxes. Based on fixed assets, excluding water rights, the board estimated it would have to pay $2 million, meaning a rate increase of 18-20 percent starting in 2011, said Alan Hamel, executive director…

Amendment 61 would limit the board’s ability to borrow funds to 10 years with a vote of the people. The board is currently using financing to buy water rights on the Bessemer Ditch, and has borrowed in the past — and still has debt — in order to make improvements to the city’s water system.

One of the components of Proposition 101 would reduce vehicle fees and could restrict the state’s ability to repair roads and bridges.

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.

Waterborne disease on the rise in the U.S.

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From Organic Authority (Gerry Pugliese):

In states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, rivers and streams are being contaminated with toxic selenium from mining operations. And now it’s being reported that microbes which cause Legionnaires’ disease, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are turning up in U.S. drinking water.

Presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say sickness due to waterborne illness costs the U.S. healthcare system as much as $539 million a year in hospital-related expenses, with much of that coming from direct government payments via Medicare and Medicaid.

The main culprits are bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis; many of these microbes are the result of human and animal feces getting in the water – sounds like a Frappuccino from the bowels of hades.

More water pollution coverage here.

Pueblo: Conservation took hold after 2002 drought and continues

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Water use continues to be down this year, picking up slightly during recent hot weather, but nowhere near the levels seen prior to the 2002 drought. “We truly believe our customers have changed their water habits,” said Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works.

Prior to 2002, it was common to have a midsummer period where more than 50 million gallons per day were used for days on end. The record one-day use was 63 million gallons. So far this year, there have been only two days above 50 million gallons: July 2, 52 million gallons; and Monday, 50.5 million gallons…

About two-thirds of the water board’s revenues come from metered water sales in this year’s budget, and were only at 40 percent of the anticipated $20.2 million six months into the year…

Spring was wetter and cooler than usual, and it showed in consumption figures. March was 20 percent below average, April 16 percent off and May 9 percent down. By June, however, the average customer was using 17,200 gallons per day — which is typical. Overall, through the first six months of 2010, consumption totaled 3.18 billion gallons, which is 5.27 percent below the past five years.

More conservation coverage here.