Colorado Division of Water Resources: Division 1 Well Measurement Rules Public Meetings May 24 and May 25

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From email from the DWR (Jonathan Hernandez):

DWR will be hosting three informal public meetings to solicit feedback from our Well Measurement Rules (April 4, 2011 draft). They are being scheduled as follows:

Ft. Morgan – May 24th, 6pm
Morgan County Rural Electric Association Meeting Room
20169 U.S. Hwy 34
Fort Morgan, CO

Sterling – May 25th, 6pm
Sterling Public Library, Community Room
425 North 5th Street
Sterling, CO

Greeley – TBD

More groundwater coverage here.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance for Water Efficiency release ‘A Blueprint for Action and Policy Agenda’

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Here’s the release:

A panel of national experts on energy and water efficiency has developed a blueprint for realizing the substantial economic and environmental benefits to the nation from a combined approach towards more efficient water and energy systems. These experts were jointly convened by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), leading national research institutes focused respectively on energy and water efficiency, to address opportunities that could result from exploring the connections between energy and water. The outcome of this joint process, A Blueprint for Action and Policy Agenda, was released today.

“With the publication of this blueprint, the water and energy efficiency communities are committing to work together to achieve the substantial economic and environmental benefits that can result from increased efficiency,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE.

As much as a fifth of the nation’s electricity goes toward sourcing, moving, treating, heating, collecting, retreating, and disposing of potable water. Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey suggest as much as 50% of the nation’s water goes toward producing thermoelectric electricity. The blueprint outlines eight action steps that could lead to future economic opportunities and environmental benefits through using energy and water more efficiently. Some of the action steps include: collaborative programs and research, replicating best practices, improving revenue and pricing structures, codes and standards, and education of multiple audiences. The blueprint strives to learn from the experiences of both the energy and water communities, building on existing policies, programs, and relationships. The blueprint also contains a policy agenda describing the opportunities available for policymakers at every level of government.

“In simple terms, every drop of water saved, saves energy, and every kilowatt of electricity saved, saves water,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of AWE. “The nexus between energy and water has not received the national research and policy attention that it deserves. With this blueprint, we have brought together voices from both the energy and the water communities to outline what now needs to be done.”

Future combined efforts will focus on research, policy, codes and standards, and programs that realize the efficiency benefits of looking at water and energy efficiency holistically. The blueprint lays out paths for progress in each of those areas, providing a concrete challenge to funders, researchers, and program implementers to take the steps necessary to realize the opportunities from collaboration. The joint policy agenda identifies ways the energy and water communities plan to work together as they approach policymakers.

The blueprint and policy agenda resulted from a joint ACEEE-AWE day-long workshop that brought together over fifty thought-leaders from across the energy and water efficiency communities. This document summarizes the ideas generated and priorities identified through the workshop process.

To see the blueprint, click here.

More Energy policy coverage here.

Drought update: Drought worsens in southeastern Colorado

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From (Craig Elliot):

In a new report released earlier this week in the U.S. Drought Monitor, shows that drought conditions across the plains of Colorado continue to worsen. According to the report drought conditions are extreme in Baca County, eastern Crowley, Otero and Las Animas Counties, almost all of Bent and Prowers Counties. The report also notes that conditions in far southeastern Baca County are now ‘exceptional’! To see the report go to: Drought Report.

CWCB: The board approves loans for two La Plata County water districts’ cooperative projects

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From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):

Lake Durango, which acquired a long-troubled water company with a similar name two years ago, needs more water. La Plata West has a share of Lake Nighthorse water but no way to treat it and – as yet – no way to deliver it. Now with the grant-loan approved Wednesday by the state water board, [Lake Durango Water Authority] can build a pipeline from Lake Nighthorse to its treatment plant. It will get some of the potable water, with the rest reserved for La Plata West when it builds a delivery system. [La Plata West Water Authority] also no longer needs to find $4 million to build its own treatment plant.

More CWCB coverage here.

Northern Integrated Supply Project: Supporters of the project rally in Loveland

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Northern Water holds a rally for NISP once each year to keep the support for the project high among business leaders, local governments and the agricultural community…

As the list of NISP supporters continues to grow, political momentum has reached a tipping point, Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said. “We started to achieve critical mass two years ago,” he said, adding that most people in Weld County are tired of seeing farmland dried up so water can go to Thornton and other growing suburban cities and towns…

“This is a shovel-ready project,” U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner said. “We could actually start creating jobs today.” Gardner said NISP will create many jobs and spark millions of dollars of investments in the local economy. “Our state’s businesses depend on a brighter water future,” he said. “Our state’s agricultural economy faces the threat of the buy up and dry up of 60,000 acres of some of the most productive agricultural land in this nation. Our economy, our businesses are linked to water.”[…]

Save the Poudre Director Gary Wockner said after the rally that the group has published an alternative to NISP that proposes to provide water for growing cities while protecting the Poudre River. “It has two main components,” Wockner said. “One is a very strong focus on water conservation and the second is a new partnership with farmers that focuses on rotational fallowing and water-sharing programs.”

More coverage from Tom Hacker writing for the Loveland Reporter-Herald. From the article:

The rally organized by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District promoted the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a controversial water storage project. Backers say it is needed to shore up a regional water supply that demand will outstrip in the next decade, and that failure to build it would doom agriculture. Critics say it would threaten the free-flowing Cache la Poudre River, degrading water quality and harming wildlife habitat. But the water-storage faithful ruled on Thursday at “Water, Jobs and the Economy,” a business rally to boost support for NISP…

Featured speaker Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said that by 2020, water demand in the region will require another project the size of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, the region’s largest, which began delivering water in the late 1950s. “It’s time we stop talking and start working,” Gardner said. “Let’s get it done.”[…]

On hand were the future owners of NISP — 15 municipalities and water districts that have stakes of varying sizes in the project.

Their upfront costs already have been substantial, with more than $10 million spent on studies since the project was proposed, most of them required to satisfy state and federal regulatory agencies that have criticized the project, Wilkinson said…

While many of the rally participants urged united — and bipartisan — support for the project, some noted that most elected officials who favor the project are Republicans, and most who oppose it are Democrats. “One of the worst things that could happen would be for this project to be about R’s, D’s and other labels,” said Eric Doering, mayor of NISP participant Frederick.

More coverage from Monte Whaley writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

“We don’t get a thank-you card from Kansas or Nebraska when our water leaves the state,” said state Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling. The project calls for the Cache La Poudre River to be diverted during high-flow periods to fill two reservoirs, Glade northwest of Fort Collins and Galeton east of Ault. The project is estimated to cost about $490 million. NISP is backed by 15 water suppliers and 14 chambers of commerce. They say NISP is needed to bridge an advancing water-supply gap of between 190,000 and 630,000 acre-feet statewide by 2050…

Several major farm organizations also support NISP. They contend that without NISP, more than 60,000 acres of Colorado farmland could dry up because cities will likely buy up agricultural water rights…

NISP is still being studied by the Army Corps of Engineers, which might issue a supplemental draft environmental-impact study by the end of the year.

More coverage from Bill Jackson writing for The Greeley Tribune. From the article:

[U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner] was one of more than a dozen speakers who addressed the crowd, estimated at about 300 attendees. He said Colorado jobs, its economy and future depends on the state’s ability to “store and deliver clean, affordable water.” He cited the vision of such water pioneers as W.D. Farr of Greeley and Wayne Aspinall, who represented Colorado’s 4th District in the U.S. House from 1947-73. “They captured the usefulness of our natural resources beyond imagination,” he said, noting the present generation is benefiting from their vision. He said the present generation must do the same for future generations, and he quoted Colorado poet laureate Thomas Hornsby Ferril who described Colorado as “a land written in water.”[…]

The Weld commissioners closed the meeting with a chant of “Conserve water, build NISP.”

Severance Mayor Don Brookshire was joined at the meeting by his 3-year-old daughter, Savannah. “This is why we are here today. Savannah is what this is all about,” Commissioner Sean Conway said.

More coverage from From the article:

More than 200 supporters rallied today for the development of the Northern Integrated Supply Project which would store water in both the Glade and Galeton reservoirs. Participants and business leaders say that this project is critical to the future of the region.

More coverage from the Northern Colorado Business Report:

“It’s incumbent on each one of us here to get out and make NISP a reality,” said Eric Doering, mayor of Frederick, one of 15 cities, towns and water-related entities that have signed up to receive water from the project. NISP includes Glade Reservoir in Larimer County and Galeton Reservoir in Weld County. “It’s going to benefit all of our communities to grow jobs and maintain our ag resources for our farmlands,” Doering said.

More coverage from Catherine Tsai writing for The Associated Press. From the article:

A selection of mayors, state lawmakers and U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., told supporters at The Ranch in Loveland that the project would help the region’s economy and shield farmers’ irrigation supplies as demand for drinking water grows, especially during droughts.

The event had been billed as a barbecue, but it was raining, chilly and gray outside. “People in the water community look outside and say this is beautiful weather,” said Eric Wilkinson general manager of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District…

The city of Fort Collins is among those that have expressed concerns with the project over the years, and the group Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper contends it would drain too much of the river. It proposes an alternative that relies heavily on water conservation and a proposal to pay farmers to fallow land on a rotating basis when needed and lease their water to cities.

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

Southern Delivery System: Construction to take off in earnest over the summer

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Engineers and crews have already begun staging work at the Pueblo Dam where a new North Outlet Works will be constructed. Underground pipeline will be placed beginning in June through the first 9 miles through Pueblo West. And some work has already begun on laying finished pipeline under Marksheffel Road in El Paso County…

“In terms of land acquisition, we are halfway there, mostly in Pueblo County,” SDS Project Director John Fredell told the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board Thursday…

“It will be a boost to the regional economy, with $80 million-$100 million in construction costs this year, much of that in El Paso, Pueblo and Fremont counties,” Fredell said. “Over the life of the project, there will be $150 million in labor earnings alone.” There are expected to be an average of 380 jobs per year until SDS is completed in 2016, with a peak of 700 SDS jobs in 2014. The peak construction period will be in 2013-15, when the El Paso County treatment plant and three pumping stations will be constructed…

Reed Dils, a Buena Vista director, said the Pueblo route is preferable to an early proposal to build a dam near Buena Vista. The idea for an Elephant Rock Reservoir was kicked out in the early 1990s, as Colorado Springs was formulating plans for SDS, and protest signs remain in the area. “Thank you for the wisdom in not selecting Elephant Rock,” Dils told Fredell. “By not building in Chaffee County, you preserved the recreational economy in Chaffee and Fremont counties.”

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin

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Here are last week’s notes from the Colorado Climate Center. Here’s an excerpt:

For the current water year, most of the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) has received near or above average precipitation. The Four Corners region and valley areas have been the driest, seeing around 50 – 90% of average precipitation. Some of the higher elevations of Utah and Wyoming were around 300% of average at the end of April. The San Luis Valley and the southeastern plains of Colorado have been very dry, receiving less than 50% of average precipitation for the water year in many areas.