Not every Montezuma Valley Irrigation shareholder is on board with the proposed lease for instream flows below McPhee Reservoir

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From the Cortez Journal (Reid Wright):

MVI shareholder Drew Gordanier said Monday he thinks it is unfortunate that the proposal has created “animosity among friends” within the organization. Gordanier said he personally would support the lease if it were for local agriculture instead of environmental groups. He said he does blame the MVI board for its efforts to seek additional income. “I have nothing against them. I just think they should seek other revenue sources,” he said.

Meanwhile, the water conservation board is silent on how it and supporting organizations would fund the proposed $500,000 annual lease. Linda Bassi, chief of stream and lake operations for the organization, said more details will be released if the project moves forward…

In addition, he worries that if the water is leased to environmental groups, they might be able to seize control of the water permanently. “My biggest concern is them leasing the water to the environmental groups,” Gordanier said. “If you lease that water, they can prove that you can live without it.”

MVI officials approached their shareholders Thursday with a proposal to lease some of their water to a group of organizations for wildlife and environmental efforts on the Lower Dolores River. At the time, [MVI General Manager Don Magnuson] said the need for water on the Lower Dolores River is well documented and he believes MVI has enough water to provide for the need. Under the proposal, which is still under negotiation, MVI would lease a maximum of 6,000 acre-feet of water a year to organizations spearheaded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The water would be used during three years of need sometime in the next decade. The water conservation board would be able to use the water for a maximum of 120 days during the irrigation season – which usually goes from May 15 to Oct. 15…

Although the price is still under negotiation, MVI is currently asking $500,000 per year, or $1.5 million for the three years of water. MVI hopes to use the money for capital improvement projects, such as putting ditches into pipe, which reduce the amount of water lost to leaks. A recent irrigation pipe project saves an estimated 1,500 acre-feet in water annually, Magnuson said.

But after the drought of 2002, which left reservoir levels precariously low, MVI shareholders – comprising mostly farmers and ranchers – expressed a reluctance to part with their water during Thursday’s meeting. They also feared any revenues gained from the agreement would be lost to bureaucracy or loan debt.

Water would come from Groundhog Reservoir, and would be released through the Upper Dolores River and McPhee Reservoir into the Lower Dolores River.

More Dolores River watershed coverage here.

Cortez: Watering restrictions start May 15

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From the Cortez Journal

Watering restrictions are enforced between May 15 and Sept. 15 each year. During this time, watering of yards is not allowed between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m…

The city recommends using alternative grass types such as fescues, wheat grasses, and blue grama rather than Kentucky bluegrass. They require less water and are easier to maintain. Your local garden center can give you more information on the best grass for your property.

More conservation coverage here.

Snowpack news: Snowpack as a percent of average climbs again with this week’s beautiful rain (and snow)

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Snowpack as a percent of average keeps climbing across the state. This is a reflection of the cool temperatures delaying runoff. This week’s storm added to the impressive numbers — statewide snowpack is 155% of average.

On Wednesday at the combined Flood and Water Availability Task Forces meeting, Mike Gillespie from the NRCS, cautioned those present not to pay a whole lot of attention to the percent of average snowpack. He said that at this time of year the numbers are skewed by past melt-outs. He said that he looks at the current peak as a percent of average peak number. For example, the South Platte basin’s current peak as a percent of average peak is 146%.

Click here for the snowpack time series graphs for Colorado from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Arkansas River Roundtable recap: Is the state paying enough attention to the water needs of agriculture?

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We’ve established that there is a need for municipal and industrial water by 2050, and it’s a discussion point at a very high level in the state,” said Reeves Brown, a Beulah rancher who also sits on the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board. “But we’re hurting ourselves by not contemplating how much agriculture we need at this time.”

His comments struck a chord with other members of the roundtable during a routine discussion of how the roundtable’s progress will be reported to the state…

“We just let the ag water float around in discussions, but have no way of quantifying what we need,” Brown said. “Agriculture has a value that I think society as a whole is overlooking.”

Some believe growing enough food in the coming decades will be a problem that needs to be addressed on a global scale. “Maybe with 5 million people coming, we should start talking about a food gap,” said Jeris Danielson, a water consultant and former state engineer. “Also, I agree we have not looked at the environmental benefits of water used in agriculture.”

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

Colorado State University — Pueblo: 1,300 students attend the ‘Discovering Water in Pueblo’ water festival

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Now in its 13th year, the water festival continues to enchant youngsters — all 1,900 of them who attended Thursday’s event. Ask a group of them what their favorite exhibit was and the answers will change as quickly as Colorado weather. “Aqua-robics,” one boy said confidently.

“He means aerobics,” a girl nearby chimed in.

“No, it was called aqua-robics,” another girl added.

So, what did the girls like?



And the next five as well. There’s a ton of peer pressure in fourth grade…

The annual event is primarily sponsored by the Pueblo Board of Water Works, the Bureau of Reclamation, CSU-Pueblo, the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservation District, St. Charles Mesa Water District and Pueblo West Metropolitan District. Numerous other local agencies have exhibits and local businesses have signed on as co-sponsors.

More education coverage here.