Colorado Water 2012: The Rio Grande Reservoir hits the century mark in 2012

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

The Rio Grande Reservoir will celebrate its 100th anniversary in conjunction with the Colorado Water 2012, and a display on the history of area reservoirs will be circulated in local libraries, city halls, visitor centers and colleges.

Other possible promotions next year include: regular informative newspaper articles and possibly a special insert; radio spots; tours of projects such as reservoirs and the Closed Basin; and a student art project on the subject of water.

The Colorado Water 2012 began small, as a way to commemorate legislation and organizations that were celebrating anniversaries in 2012, but it has grown to encompass all of the river basins in the state. The Colorado Foundation for Water Education is spearheading the celebration.

Goals for Colorado Water 2012 include: raising awareness of water as a valuable and limited resource in the state; increasing support for management and protection of Colorado’s water and waterways; showcasing water projects; educating Coloradans about water.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project update: 2,500 cfs in the Upper Colorado River below Granby Dam

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

We are still on track with the release plan from Granby Dam to the Colorado River. Today [June 24], the combined release from the dam is in the mid-2200 cfs and continues to go up. We will cap the release at 2500 cfs.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

With the warm temperatures today [June 24], we anticipate that we will see a spike in snow melt run-off inflows into Lake Estes late tonight. As a result, later tonight, we will increase releases from Olympus Dam to 500 cfs.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here.

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

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Here are the notes from this week’s webinar from the Colorado Climate Center.

S.1047 — Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Act of 2011: Senator Udall introduces bill that would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to take over operation of the relief well permanently

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Concern about a potential blowout in the tunnel, located north of Leadville, was raised in early 2008 when high groundwater levels were suspected of building pressure from millions of gallons of contaminated water behind bulkheads in the tunnel and possibly leaking into surrounding areas.

Since then, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has tried to get approval for legislation that would give the Bureau of Reclamation authority to continue operating a relief well and to take steps toward a long-term solution.

The Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Act would clarify that the Bureau of Reclamation has the authority to treat the water diverted into the tunnel and — if necessary — to expand on site to treat additional water. The bureau is also required to maintain the structural integrity of the tunnel to be safe over the long haul.

Previously, Reclamation claimed it lacked specific authority to treat water behind the blockages in the tunnel, a federal facility built to drain mines as a way to improve production in World War II and the Korean War…

Reclamation and the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mine drainage mitigation at a nearby Superfund site in California Gulch, have been unable to reach a long-term solution.

More Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel coverage here and here.

Energy policy — oil and gas: The COGCC has requested a voluntary assessment of Colorado’s rules from the State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations

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From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai) via The Denver Post:

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission earlier this month sent STRONGER written responses to questions about its rules. On Thursday, commission staff took questions in person from STRONGER reviewers Lori Wrotenbery of the Oil and Gas Conservation Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, environmental scientist Wilma Subra and Jim Collins of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and STRONGER observers.

They asked about the breadth of Colorado’s data on water wells and aquifers, philosophies on casing wells, how regulators handle odor complaints, and other issues.

STRONGER’s final report is expected later this year. It will be up to the commission to decide what to do with the findings, but the public could weigh in if the commission decides to change its rules.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has selected a site in the Raton Basin for a study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. Here’s a report from David O. Williams writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:

The site in the Raton Basin of southern Colorado will be used in a retrospective case study, which will examine hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” impacts on drinking water in an area where drilling has already occurred. Four other sites – in North Dakota, Texas, and two in Pennsylvania — will be part of the retrospective study.

Two areas – in Pennsylvania and Louisiana – will be used as prospective case studies, in which the EPA will monitor the hydraulic fracturing process throughout the life of a well. There’s great anticipation building over the ongoing EPA study, which seeks to definitively answer key questions about whether or how fracking can contaminate groundwater.

More on the EPA study from the Associated Press via From the article:

The Agency will study the future effects of the hydraulic fracturing process in the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana’s DeSoto Parish and Pennsylvania’s portion of the Marcellus Shale in Washington County.

Washington county will also be subject to a retrospective case study which will look at areas where hydraulic fracturing has already occurred for any effect on drinking water resources.

It will be studied alongside Pennsylvania counties Bradford and Susquehanna in the Marcellus Shale, along with North Dakota’s Kildeer and Dunn counties in the Bakken Shale, Texas’ Wise and Denton counties in the Barnett Shale and Colorado’s Las Animas County in the Raton basin.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Berthoud: The town is contracting for treated water from the Little Thompson Water District until November 2013, intents are to bypass Berthoud Reservoir in the supply chain

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From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Madeline Novey):

Last July, consistent with the past three years especially, summer algae growth in Berthoud Reservoir made the town’s water both look and taste like dirt, residents and restaurant owners said. As a result, Berthoud did an examination of its water from algae to zebra mussels. Hart said the town spent upward of $100,000 last summer to install a new carbon filtration system at the plant to improve taste and odor. After last summer’s water-quality debacle, Berthoud hired consultants to evaluate the treatment facility. Berthoud trustees later voted to close the plant and put about $1 million into cleaning and updating equipment, Hart said. The plant shut down in February. The same month, the town entered into a 21-month contract with the Little Thompson Water District to buy water…

In the future, Berthoud will go out to bid on construction of a new pipeline that would pump water directly from Carter Lake or Welch Reservoir to the water treatment plant, bypassing Berthoud Reservoir. Until then, the town’s contract with Little Thompson Water District is good through November 2013, with an option to renew, Hart said. Berthoud has a final design for the reservoir bypass that will connect with the pipeline in place today, Hart said. Next steps include bringing out a testing firm to collect soil samples and determine an exact route for the new pipeline.

More infrastructure coverage here.