Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project: Tanker trucks are moving water out of the Arkansas Valley to Denver

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From The Chaffee County Times (Kathy Davis):

Trucking the water to Arrowhead Water’s Denver bottling plant began Aug. 17, [Arrowhead Water natural resource manager Bobbi McClead] said…

The spring water for Arrowhead is piped from Ruby Mountain Springs near Nathrop to Nestlé Waters’ truck loading facility. The water line for piping the water and the water line crossing on the Arkansas River were completed in late spring. During the installation of the water line crossing, Nestlé installed and paid for a second line for future use by the Town of Buena Vista…

Nestlé has ongoing projects in Chaffee County. One is the installation of a second well at Ruby Mountain Springs. That well will become the primary well, McClead said.

More Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project coverage here and here.

Northwest Colorado Water Forum September 24

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From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The [Yampa/White River roundtable] recommended funding a $220,800 water storage feasibility study in the Yellow Jacket District south of Craig, and the Colorado Water Conservation Board approved it in January. The study is under way, and project consultant Mike Apple gate is among six speakers slated for the forum. Applegate said Wednesday the Yellow Jacket Board, which oversees a district primarily in Rio Blanco County, but including small portions of Moffat and Garfield counties, is a long way from building a water storage facility…

The board of the Yellow Jacket Water Conservation District made it plain in a September 2008 filing in Water Court that it seeks to ensure adequate water supplies for agriculture, but it’s also determined to create adequate supply for a growing oil shale industry in the region. Applegate said the goal of protecting agricultural water is sincere. “If you don’t figure out in advance how to supply water for (energy development), the result can be a ‘buy and dry agriculture’” approach to securing water for energy, he said. In their 2008 filing, the Yellow Jacket Board members anticipated building Thornburgh Reservoir and filling it with conditional water rights from nearby creeks via pipelines. West Milk Creek Canal, for example, is estimated to be able to supply 90 cubic feet per second of water. Axial Creek Canal could be counted on to supply as much as 315 cfs during its peak, the court filing anticipated. Applegate said the system of creeks and canals feeding an offline reservoir (built in a ravine without live water of its own), is just one possibility that will be looked at in the feasibility study.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District approves plan geared to soften the blow of new irrigation rules

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Lower Ark board plans to set up a compliance program under new rules that are now moving through Division 2 Water Court. Most objectors have settled or are planning to settle in the case before a November trial date. The rules are being sought by State Engineer Dick Wolfe to ensure that improvements like canal lining, sprinklers and drip irrigation do not increase consumptive use. They are primarily aimed at avoiding future claims by Kansas that Colorado is violating the Arkansas River Compact.

The board wants to have the program up and running if the rules are approved and take effect on Jan. 1, 2011.

More Ark Valley consumptive use rules coverage here.

Energy policy — geothermal: November 10 is the next try by the BLM to lease parcels near Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

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From The Denver Post (Mark Jaffe):

The Bureau of Land Management said it will offer a 799-acre parcel near Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Chaffee County for geothermal development Nov. 10. The lease sale was postponed in February after a volley of opposition and questions about whether the picturesque and narrow Chalk Creek Valley was an appropriate site for a geothermal power plant. It had been delayed earlier by questions from the state about jurisdiction over geothermal development — which involves water wells.

On Friday, the BLM issued a new environmental assessment that responded to 287 protest letters and issued about a dozen “stipulations” limiting lease activity and protecting wildlife and water. “We wanted to be sure to respond to the issues raised by residents,” said Steve Hall, a spokesman for the BLM. “This is the first lease sale in Colorado, and we had to do a better job of explaining.”

More geothermal coverage here and here.

Energy policy — nuclear: Piñon Ridge Mill update

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Heavy-metals waste from Energy Fuels Resources Corp.’s proposed uranium-processing in southwest Colorado would include arsenic, lead, molybdenum and cadmium. A failure to fully address handling of this potentially harmful material “is considered to be a major deficiency in the application,” Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulators said in a recent request for information.

Beaches around waste impoundment ponds would be exposed to birds. “What are the risks to wildlife from exposed tailings beaches?” the request asks.

State regulators asserted that people at fences around Energy Fuels’ 880-acre site could be exposed to radiation approaching a 25-millirem limit. “A projected dose that approaches a regulatory limit cannot be considered trivial,” a CDPHE document said.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board is opposing Energy Fuels’ filings to use water from the Dolores River. Energy Fuels has begun drilling wells to supply enough water to process 500 tons of uranium a day. But company officials say they may need additional water…

CDPHE officials are required to decide by Jan. 17 whether to issue a permit. “If they need more information to make their decision, we’ll give it to them,” said Dick White, Energy Fuels’ vice president for exploration. Controlling radiation levels at the fence “may require additional cover” on the ponds,” White said. One option for protecting birds would be “hazing” — setting up motion detectors and noise-making cannons that would drive them away, said Frank Filas, environmental manager for the project.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

La Niña update

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This OSTM/Jason-2 image of the Pacific Ocean is based on the average of 10 days of data centered on Sept. 3, 2010. A new image depicts places where the Pacific sea surface height is higher (warmer) than normal as yellow and red, with places where the sea surface is lower (cooler) than normal as blue and purple. Green indicates near-normal conditions. Sea surface height is an indicator of how much of the sun’s heat is stored in the upper ocean.

La Niña ocean conditions often follow an El Niño episode and are essentially the opposite of El Niño conditions. During a La Niña episode, trade winds are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Niña episodes change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air over cooler ocean waters, resulting in less rain along the coasts of North and South America and the equator, and more rain in the far Western Pacific.

“This La Niña has strengthened for the past four months, is strong now and is still building,” said Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “It will surely impact this coming winter’s weather and climate.

“After more than a decade of mostly dry years on the Colorado River watershed and in the American Southwest, and only one normal rain year in the past five years in Southern California, water supplies are dangerously low,” Patzert added. “This La Niña could deepen the drought in the already parched Southwest and could also worsen conditions that have fueled Southern California’s recent deadly wildfires.”