The EPA releases their Draft Clean Water Strategy report

A picture named waterfromtap.jpg

From the Environmental Protection Agency:

The Coming Together for Clean Water event and online discussion gave us a lot to think about regarding how EPA can most effectively pursue our nation’s clean water goals. After a lot of consideration, we’ve developed this draft strategy to outline how we hope to accomplish those goals.

We’re pleased to share this draft with you and welcome your comments. If you’re commenting about something specific, please include the section title, page and paragraph number to which you’re referring. Also, please indicate whether you’re commenting as a private citizen or on behalf of an organization (and if it’s the latter, please include the name of the organization as well).

The draft strategy will be available for comment until September 17. After that, we’ll start developing the final strategy, which we hope to have ready by late 2010.

Coming Together for Clean Water Disc Draft Aug 2010 FINAL

More Environmental Protection Agency coverage here.

CWCB: Draft State of Colorado Flood Mitigation Plan ready for public comment

A picture named cherrycreekflood08031933castlewooddamfailure.jpg

From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

The State of Colorado’s DRAFT Flood Mitigation Plan is now available on the CWCB website for public comment. The public comment period will officially close on September 9th, 2010.

The Flood Plan was recently updated with input from a Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee to comply with the FEMA’s 3-year planning cycle and is a part of the State’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The update process has resulted in a revised Plan that includes an updated and comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability assessment, and outlines progress on mitigation strategies that the State has completed or will continue to pursue toward the goal of reducing flood losses.

Please direct all comments to Jeff Brislawn at by close of business on September 9th, 2010. Should you have any questions regarding the plan or public comment period please contact Tom Browning at the CWCB’s Watershed and Flood Protection Section at 303.866.3441×3208.

More CWCB coverage here.

Colorado Water Congress’ Annual Summer Meeting recap

A picture named longspeak.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Arkansas Valley Conduit received top billing in Rep. John Salazar’s address to the Colorado Water Congress summer convention Friday. “The conduit will allow 40 communities to have clean drinking water,” said Salazar, D-Colo. “I’m very proud of that legislation.”[…]

Salazar also talked about other water issues in the state, including pending legislation to deal with pine-bark beetle destruction and successful legislation to renovate the Platoro Reservoir dam on the Conejos River in the San Luis Valley…

The congressman’s opponent for the District 3 seat in the November election, Republican Scott Tipton, spoke on the importance of water for both domestic and agricultural purposes. “Those of us in rural Colorado need to protect our water,” Tipton said. “I will stand up to keep water in the 3rd Congressional District.” Tipton also wants to work with other states in the Colorado River Compact to build new storage in Colorado at the headwaters of the river…

[State Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma] called for a new generation of leadership for water development in Colorado, outlining a platform of water storage, alignment of federal purpose to state needs and conservation. “To provide more storage, we must start now,” Gardner said…

Friday’s speakers followed a series of state lawmakers Thursday who talked about the importance of water. Among their comments:

– “Water storage and structure is as important to the state as the highway system,” said Ellen Roberts, R-Durango.
– “You need to concern yourself with the state budget process,” said Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, saying he will continue to fight the raids on state water project loan funding.
– “We need to increase water literacy in Colorado,” said Rep. Randy Fisher, D-Fort Collins.

More Colorado water coverage here.

Windsor: Town Board approves budget for new finished water tank design

A picture named orrmnwatertower.jpg

From the Windsor Beacon (Ashley Keesis-Wood):

The Windsor Town Board passed a resolution seeking a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant to build a new, 3-million gallon concrete water storage tank. “This will identify the future building of the water tank and meet future demand from the town for the next 20 years,” said Windsor Public Works Director Terry Walker.

The town has tentatively budgeted $600,000 in the 2011 budget to design the tank. “If we do the design and end up getting the grant, we would be shovel-ready for construction,” Walker told the board.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Elk River: Rancher Jay Fetcher named to River Access Dispute Resolution Task Force by Governor Ritter

A picture named elkriver.jpg

From Steamboat Today (Mike Lawrence):

Gov. Bill Ritter named Jay Fet cher on Monday as one of 17 members of the River Access Dis pute Resolution Task Force. The group has until Dec. 31 to prepare a report for Ritter and the state Legislature that recommends methods for resolving disputes among landowners, commercial rafters, boaters and anglers on a case-by-case basis as disputes arise…

Fetcher was a logical choice for the task force, [Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said] said. “Jay (Fetcher) and his family have owned land and ranched in Northwest Colorado for decades and decades,” he said. “They have a unique perspective from a landowner’s viewpoint that will be extremely valuable to this task force and this process.”

Meanwhile, there is a dispute with the members of the dispute task force, according to a report from Shawn Martin writing for The Pulse- of Colorado Farm Bureau. From the article:

“In addition to the Governor making some questionable appointments to this taskforce, I am most disappointed that he clearly and purposely chose to alienate the organization whose members stand to potentially lose the most from this process. The Colorado Farm Bureau represents a large majority of riverfront landowners in Colorado, but our nominees to the task force are absent from the list of voting appointees,” said Alan Foutz, President of Colorado Farm Bureau. “It is disappointing that one of the organizations that was most engaged in the debate surrounding HB- 1188 is excluded from this process.”

In addition to a lack of diversity in political philosophy and vocation, the Governors list is also lacking members who live and work on the land of Colorado’s Western Slope. “Over half of the members of the taskforce reside in Front Range communities. It is apparent that the Governor is not serious about creating an equitable process that will yield fair and workable results for all parties involved. It shows his lack of seriousness about the issue,” continued Foutz.

More whitewater coverage here.

Orchard City: Town officials tour highlights improvements to water system

A picture named orchardmesa1911

From the Delta County Independent (Hank Lohmeyer):

Town officials conducted a tour last week to view a new water diversion project, take a look at the water treatment plant, and follow the route of the soon-to-begin and already-paid-for Phase I West Side main transmission line replacement project.

This year’s completion of the relatively inexpensive and modest looking Ward Creek diversion belies the project’s incalculable importance to the town. For a comparatively paltry $49,000 price of construction, permits, and engineering, the town now has an alternative to drawing reserve water supplies from the difficult-to-process irrigation flows of Big Ditch.

In addition to that, the project, as explained by officials, creates the ability to draw town water reserves from the much cleaner water stored in Ward Creek Reservoir and to divert that water directly into a pipeline to the treatment plant.

There is a third benefit to the town from the project. It is by far the biggest and most valuable advantage, while at the same time being completely invisible to unknowing eyes. That is access to Ward Creek reservoir itself. To explain — the most glaring weak link in the town’s water utility system has long been the lack of a raw water reservoir that could supply needs of the town’s water customers when springs dry up during severe drought. Orchard City has never had a raw water storage reservoir for its domestic supply. When the town’s extensive system of springs is producing water normally, there is ample water for town needs. But, in the frightful drought year of 2002, the flow of clean mountain water from Orchard City’s springs dwindled to a trickle. Trustees and staff scrambled trying to beg or borrow any water at all off the Grand Mesa that they could somehow manage to get into their collection system, or the Big Ditch…

Also during the town trustees’ victory tour last week, water utility superintendent Keith Peterson explained the workings of the town’s water treatment plant. The plant’s two filtration cells are sufficient to supply water users’ needs in normal, day-to-day operations. But, the plant was constructed in 1999 and 2000 with an eye to the future and was built to house two additional filtration cells, doubling the plant’s capacity, if ever needed.

Trustees also got a look at the two one-million-gallon storage tanks at the treatment plant site that will be the beginning of the soon-to-begin, seven-mile-long, $2-plus million West Side Main transmission line project. With an expectation that work will be able to begin in September, the 12-inch-diameter pressurized water line will follow a course across country and along road rights-of-way directly south to connect with the town’s storage tank at Eckert on Happy Hollow Road.

More Gunnison River Basin coverage here.

Animas-La Plata Project update

A picture named lakenighthorserisingwaters052010

From The Durango Telegraph (Leslie Swanson):

Whether you were for or against it, Lake Nighthorse is on the way. After decades of debate, the controversial Animas-La Plata Water Project is almost complete. By this time next year, the reservoir could be full. But will there be recreation at Lake Nighthorse? More than 5,000 acres of land, with 1,490 surface acres of water, less than 2 miles from a town full of outdoor sports enthusiasts? Think about it.

A recently released pair of studies from Durango’s RPI Consulting indicate that Lake Nighthorse could draw approximately 163,000 visitors a year to the area with nearly $8 million to spend on food, lodging, gas, supplies and, of course, souvenirs. In addition, 165 local tourism-based jobs could be created. By 2025, the report ventures, Lake Nighthorse’s attractions could bring 230 jobs and $10.8 million a year to area businesses.

But a recreation plan requires funding and there is little available. In 2008, the state announced that it would not be developing or managing a park at the lake, leaving the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District (ALPWCD) and the reservoir’s other sponsors with a choice: either fence it off from the public or come up with a plan – and funding – on their own. The choice was obvious. The potential gains are so solid that the Lake Nighthorse recreation plan is moving forward and gaining momentum.

More Animas River watershed coverage here and here.