World Water Day 2011 March 22

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From the website:

This is the first time in human history that most of the world’s population live in cities: 3.3 billion people …and the urban landscape continues to grow.

38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while the city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.

The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

This year [the] theme [is], Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the defy of urban water management.

Here’s the link to the WWD 2011 event at Colorado State University.

Colorado River Basin: Where does your water come from?

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Here’s a post from Alan Predergast from the Westword Blogs. Click through for his links to videos on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:

[The video Tapped Out from Colorado Trout Unlimited] starts out with some ignoramus-on-the-street interviews along the Sixteenth Street Mall, in which Denver citizens are asked just that question: “Where does your water come from?” The most common answer? “The sink.”

As much as 60 percent of the metro area’s water consumption goes to landscaping — mostly that nice green grass imported from somewhere else.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Energy policy — oil and gas: Questions from South Park about the long-term and hydraulic fracturing

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Here’s a guest column written by Doris LeDue that is running in The Denver Post. From the article:

South Park has a nationally recognized heritage area. It provides angling, hunting and many other recreational opportunities. This heritage exists because of diverse populations of wildlife, which depend on a habitat base for their survival. Protection of this habitat base is critical to maintaining this heritage.

Of equal importance is the protection of water resources throughout the area. South Park is a major watershed supplying water to the Denver Metropolitan Area. Residents depend on water from wells to supply their domestic needs. Ranches depend on wells, springs and surface waters for cattle. Fairplay and Hartsel are reliant on wells, as well as surface waters. As Colorado’s population expands (10 million by 2050), the water resources of South Park will become more critical and deserve the highest level of protection…

Our single greatest objection is that there is no requirement to determine the cumulative impacts of such a massive gas production effort in one of Colorado’s most important watersheds. There is poor data on baseline water quality from which future monitoring will depend, as well as uncertainty of the flow patterns of fracturing material and methane gas through geological formations. To their credit Park County is considering funding it’s own base line water quality study.

Can it be demonstrated that if major gas reserves are found and developed throughout South Park, that the wildlife, historical and water resources will be protected both in the present, and long-term future? We believe the answer is No.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Colorado River basin: Instream flow right for the Colorado River from Gore Canyon to Glenwood Springs?

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Here’s a guest column from Jon Stavney writing for the Vail Daily. From the article:

…Front Range diversion projects as well as two other processes now put the focus squarely on Eagle County’s segment of the Colorado River from Gore Canyon to Glenwood Springs. In 2008, Eagle County suggested that the Colorado Water Conservation Board evaluate an in-stream flow right that would quantify and provide certainty for that minimum flow. That request took a back seat to a series of controversial efforts…

The threat of “Wild and Scenic” designation provoked stakeholders to devise an alternative management plan suggesting ways to preserve outstanding resource values without a strict federal mandate. That alternative management plan has been negotiated by 20 stakeholders from both sides of the Continental Divide for years. The Colorado River Water Conservation District, where I serve on the board, is a leader in these stakeholder talks. This stakeholder effort has resulted in a 70-page document just submitted to the BLM and U.S. Forest Service last week. Parties, including Eagle County, are expected by the end of April to indicate formal approval for BLM to include the proposal in the “Management Plan,” thereby bypassing official designation. The plan can be reviewed at

In the meantime, the Colorado Water Conservation Board has put the in-stream flow filing back on track following a study prepared and submitted by Eagle County, and funded by a grant from the CWCB. The study analyzes minimum flows required throughout the year. Eagle County is working closely with Colorado Division of Wildlife and the stakeholder group to finalize the last details of this streamflow study. That study will provide the data for the instream flow filing to be considered by the CWCB. They are scheduled to start noticing the in-stream flow filing process and accepting comments on this reach of the Colorado River in May so that it can be considered by the CWCB in January of 2012. Their website is

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Energy policy — nuclear: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Cotter Corp. are teaming up to request dismissal of Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste lawsuit

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

Attorney Jeffrey Parsons filed an amended lawsuit in January against the state health department on behalf of Canon City residents who are group members. The suit alleges a decommissioning bond, set up to cover costs of eventual closure of the Canon City mill, remains inadequate. Cotter Corp. has agreed to put up a bond for up to $20.8 million by June to cover costs of decommissioning the entire mill when it closes. The state estimates cleanup will cost about $43.7 million while Cotter estimates it would be $23.2 million…

In a response to the lawsuit filed Feb. 23, senior assistant attorneys general Thomas Roan and Jerry Good, working on behalf of the state health department, push for dismissal of the suit. “Colorado Citizens against Toxic Waste claims its members live in close proximity to Cotter’s milling facility and would be adversely affected if the facility is not fully reclaimed . . . if the state lacks sufficient funds to fully decommission and reclaim the facility,” the response reads. The claimed injury is speculative, the attorneys argue, and it alleges no facts to support a claim of an actual or imminent concrete injury. In the event reclamation work stops, “Cotter remains liable for all costs associated with decommissioning,” the response reads. The “remote possibility” that Cotter would not have the finances to fully address the liability is not sufficient to support a finding of injury in fact, the attorneys argue.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Colorado Water Conservation Board appointments

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From the Colorado Independent (Scot Kersgaard):

The members will serve effective March 3, 2011, and the appointments are dependent upon Senate confirmation. The members appointed are:

· Russ George, Grand Junction (R), term to expire on 02-12-13

· Alan C. Hamel, Pueblo (R), term to expire on 02-12-14

· April D. Montgomery, Norwood (D), term to expire on 02-12-14

· Travis D. Smith, Del Norte, (R), term to expire 02-12-14

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works, was appointed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board on Tuesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Hamel, who previously served on the board from 1994 to 1999 and was its vice-chairman, will represent the Arkansas River basin. Appointments are for three-year terms.

Travis Smith, superintendent of the San Luis Valley Irrigation District, was reappointed to his third term representing the Rio Grande basin on the CWCB. Smith chaired the board in 2007-08…

“I look forward to moving the basin and the state forward. High in my priorities will be working on shared use of water to protect our part of the state,” [Hamel] added…

[Hamel] also is a member of the Front Range Water Council, a group of the state’s largest urban water suppliers who import water from the Western Slope.

Hickenlooper also named Russ George of Grand Junction to fill the term of John Redifer as the Colorado River basin representative. George was an architect of the Interbasin Compact Committee process while he was director of the Department of Natural Resources.

April Montgomery, a Norwood attorney, joined the CWCB in 2009 and was appointed to her first full term representing the Southwest corner of the state.

More CWCB coverage here.