President Obama to request $50 billion for infrastructure

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From The New York Times (Chery Gay Stolberg):

Mr. Obama will lay out the plan, which is intended to promote the creation of construction jobs over the coming year and beyond, during a trip to Milwaukee on Monday afternoon, where he will observe Labor Day by attending a union festival. It would require Congressional approval, as it envisions extending and revising a broad transportation policy bill that is usually renewed every five years or so, but has been stalled in Congress. Despite its uncertain prospects, the White House is highlighting its proposal as one part of a broader economic recovery package that Mr. Obama is to unveil during a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday. With Democrats looking at a bleak election season, in large part because of high unemployment, the White House has been scrambling to find ways to jump-start the sagging economy.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Grand Mesa Water Tour Saturday September 18

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From email from DARCA (John McKenzie):

Grand Mesa provides most of the Grand Valley’s drinking water. It is where we go to ski in winter and beat the heat in summer. Grand Mesa is also home to working ranches, natural gas wells, and wildlife.

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, the Water Center at Mesa State College (a project of the Mesa County Water Association and Mesa State College) will host an all-day tour of the Grand Mesa with expert presenters to explain how Grand Mesa’s water is managed to meet needs for clean drinking water, the environment, recreation and agriculture. Along the way you will see gorgeous vistas from Lands End Road and Hwy 65, as well as aspens in high color. Key topics covered on the tour will include:

– how drinking water sources are protected from wildfire and other threats.
– the biological importance of fens (peat-forming wetlands) and how
protecting them complicates water development.
– how Grand Mesa’s reservoirs are managed for multiple uses.
– how Grand Mesa’s water is used for snowmaking
– the potential for ranching on Grand Mesa to suffer as municipal water needs grow.

We will have expert speakers from Mesa State College, the City of Grand Junction, the US Forest Service, the CO Division of Water Resources, Powderhorn Resort, and Ute Water.

Cost for the tour, including lunch and transportation, is $40 if you register prior to September 8 and $50 for late registrants. Members of the Mesa County Water Association get a $10 discount.

For more information or to register, contact Hannah Holm at 970-683-1133 or hannah@mesacountywater.org or download the draft itinerary and registration form from www.mesacountywater.org.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

Forest to Faucet Partnership: Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service to pony up $33 million for watershed protection

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The Pueblo Chieftain is running an article from Harris Sherman U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary of natural resources and environment praising the Forest to Faucet Partnership between Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service. Here’s an excerpt:

Water for more than 60 million Americans comes from our national forests. Half of those people turn on their faucets and tap directly into watersheds on forested lands in Colorado.

The Forest Service is focused on restoring forest and watershed health to ensure a water source for our nation’s businesses, homes and agriculture. Today, our nation’s forests are threatened like never before. They face a health crisis due in part to climate change and a legacy of fire suppression.

The symptoms of declining health are evident, with widespread outbreaks of forest insect and disease infestations, and the increasing occurrence of large and catastrophic wildfires, such as the 2002 Haymen Fire. That fire was the largest in Colorado’s recorded history, burning more than 137,000 acres. It resulted in massive siltation and erosion into the streams and rivers feeding Denver’s drinking water reservoirs, creating an expensive, challenging task for Denver Water’s managers.

More restoration coverage here.

Energy policy — oil shale: Garfield County Commissioners to get briefing on water requirements for oil shale production September 7

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Colson):

Energy industry liaison Judy Jordan is on tap give the Board of County Commissioners an update on the latest estimates about how much water may be needed to extract the estimated 1.2 trillion barrels of “oil” trapped in subterranean rock strata in the Piceance Basin, which is bisected by the Colorado River as it passes through Garfield County…

Jordan told the Post Independent on Friday that she will be basing most of her comments on a recent study by the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs. That report, according to CRWCD Deputy General Manager Dan Birch, estimated that extracting the shale oil might take as much as 120,000 acre-feet of water per year, which he said translates to roughly one or two barrels of water used for each barrel of oil produced. That is considerably less than the 400,000 acre-feet of water per year estimated in a 2008 study by the URS consulting firm, which translated to roughly 3 to 5 barrels of water consumed for every barrel of oil produced.

But, said Birch, even at the lowered estimate, the oil shale industry would use up to approximately 20 percent of all the Colorado River water now being used by agriculture, municipalities and other users around the Western Slope…

Among the reasons for the reduced estimates of water use, according to the study, is, in part, because earlier estimates were based on the amount of electricity needed to power the “in-situ” process being studied by Royal Dutch Shell. That process would involve using massive amounts of energy to heat up the shale rock in place and draining out the liquid kerogen.

More oil shale coverage here.