State Engineer Dick Wolfe on draining Bonny Reservoir, ‘Draining Bonny Reservoir is a part of our efforts to bring Colorado into compliance with the 1942 Republican River Compact and the 2033 Final Settlement Stipulation’

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Here’s are answers to questions about draining Bonny from the State Engineer, from The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl). From the article:

Q: Why weren’t other options considered?
A: Many options were considered, and other steps have been taken to make up for the water shortfall to Kansas. Agencies have reluctantly concluded there are no viable legal or physical options available to bring us into compact compliance that will allow water to be stored in Bonny Reservoir and allow farmers and municipalities to continue pumping their wells…

Q: Why can’t Kansas maintain Bonny Reservoir so water can be released when necessary to its irrigators?
A: We explored many options with Kansas, including ones that would allow the reservoir to remain as a storage facility. Thus far, Kansas has not accepted any of these proposals.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Delta County: Three county commissioners, reps from the BLM the Town of Hotchkiss and conservationists hold meeting to discuss the Gunnison River as a recreation corridor through the county

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From The Delta County Independent (Hank Lohmeyer):

The Hartland Dam Reconstruction project has ignited a blaze of local enthusiasm for a long stretch of recreational river. Excitement for the idea was running high last Thursday during a meeting of about 15 people who see river recreation as the next big thing. Represented at the session were the county (three commissioners, planning, and administration), the City of Delta (community development, parks, recreation), the Bureau of Land Management (Gunnison Gorge NCA manager), Town of Hotchkiss, Trout Unlimited, and the NFRIA Conservation Center of Paonia. The group’s idea is to complete a “concept paper” in two weeks that will outline a vision of a river recreation corridor through Delta County. The paper could lead to a planning grant from GOCO…

[County Commissioner Olen Lund] pointed out that there’s a lot of private ownership along the banks of the river, and private owners aren’t always receptive to river floaters and their sometimes inconsiderate ways. A county-sponsored public meeting of river corridor property owners took place in 2006 at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center. That meeting resulted in a deluge of opposition from landowners against promoting river recreation in the county. The meeting fairly stifled any broad discussion of the concept, until now.

Now, with the Hartland Dam reconstruction project connecting the river to boaters above and below Delta, and with the availability of GOCO money for comprehensive river corridor planning, the Gunnison River recreation idea has re-emerged.

More Gunnison River basin coverage here and here.

Cedaredge: The town council’s consultants are recommending a new $3.4 million wastewater treatment facility on Surface Creek

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Here’s the release from the Town of Cedaredge via The Delta County Indpendent:

Last March Cedaredge public works director David Smith told the trustees that the wastewater treatment plant exceeded the planning threshold for organic capacity levels three times in the past year, and that now was the time to start planning for a solution.

To that end, the trustees approved JVA Consulting‘s proposal to create planning documents based on the evaluation of the existing wastewater treatment facility and anticipated effluent limits.

McGibbon provided the trustees with an overview regarding the current wastewater needs for the town; an evaluation of the existing treatment facility; organic loading capacities; recommended design alternatives; and future operations of the wastewater treatment plant, including the most cost effective alternatives.

JVA’s recommendation is for the town to build a new mechanical wastewater treatment facility near Surface Creek, with total capital costs projected to be nearly $3.4 million, plus $1.3 million in operational and maintenance costs. McGibbon provided the trustees with a four-year implementation schedule to begin in October, with a startup date for the new facility of December 2015.

More wastewater coverage here.

Telluride Institute Water Education Program director: ‘The San Miguel River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Colorado, and boasts riparian ecosystems that are home to flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world’

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From The Telluride Watch (Martinique Davis):

[Water Education Program] is a free resource for local schools and teachers located in the San Miguel River Watershed. WEP provides full-day and overnight programs directly related to their classroom curriculum and tied to the Colorado State Standards, explains Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program Director Laura Kudo.

“The San Miguel River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Colorado, and boasts riparian ecosystems that are home to flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world,” Kudo says, describing the WEP experience as one that simply cannot be replicated indoors. “This gets students into the real-life classroom… providing unique hands-on learning opportunities.”

On Monday, all 60 of Telluride’s seventh graders explored their eye-popping, real-life classroom, listening to the barks of resident prairie dogs, seeing the handiwork of dam-building beavers and getting a quick history lesson about the Valley Floor and the San Miguel River from Telluride Open Space Commission and Town Councilmembers Bob Saunders and David Oyster.

“We’re witnessing the return of these prairie dogs’ natural predators,” Saunders told the group, as they stood watching the critters peek up out of their dens and scurry to new holes, referring to the recent emergence of badgers on the Valley Floor, and the raptors drawn to its recently erected Raptor Poles…

The tour features local speakers and experts like State of Colorado Department of Natural Resource’s Camille Price and Idarado Mining Co.’s Joe Smart, Town of Telluride’s Program Manager Lance McDonald and San Miguel County Parks Supervisor Rich Hamilton, as well as the Telluride Institute’s Kudo. The speakers share their knowledge about the area’s natural, cultural, and human history, watershed geography, regional geology, and river ecology, Kudo says, the purpose of which is “to inform the students that live in our Watershed how people and places interact with and shape one another, and why this interdependence is important and relevant to them.”

More education coverage here.

Castle Rock is pushing conservation on their website CRconserve.com, a resource for residents

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From the Town of Castle Rock — Utilitiess via Castle Rock News Press:

Water conservation is something every resident needs to understand. It’s simple. It’s smart. Small, everyday decisions can add up to enormous water savings and allow our community to maintain its economic strength and quality of life.

Castle Rock is located in Colorado’s high-plains, semi-arid environment. The Town averages only 8 to 15 inches of precipitation a year. Because of this, every drop counts – whether it’s pumped fresh from a well and delivered to your home, or saved through reduced indoor and outdoor water use.

Helping residents learn tips and techniques of water conservation was a primary goal when Castle Rock Water created CRconserve.com, a website geared at helping residents maximize water conservation habits around their home.

Rick Schultz, water conservation specialist says, “A major component of the Town’s Water Conservation Master Plan is educational outreach. With the generous support of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, through this grant, this new website allows us another way to reach our customers. We can keep our residents updated with all the latest conservation tips, local xeric plants and upcoming classes.”

More conservation coverage here.

EPA, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Colorado Water Conservation Board recognize Colorado’s first home certified under EPA water efficiency program

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Here’s the release from the Environmental Protection Agency (Lisa McClain-Vanderpool):

At a recognition event today, the U.S. EPA, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Colorado Water Conservation Board recognized Gold Hill Mesa builder GJ Gardner Northgate for building the first WaterSense labeled home in the state of Colorado. GJ Gardner joins only 3 other builders nationwide who have done the same.

“This beautiful GJ Gardner home is being celebrated today for meeting high standards for water efficiency and conservation,”said Sadie Hoskie, EPA Region 8 water program director. “The Gold Hill Mesa development is not only a successful example of reusing valuable land, they have set the bar even higher not only by instituting water conservation through WaterSense but by adopting high renewable energy and efficiency standards in the homes they’re building.”

Each WaterSense home is independently inspected and certified by a third party to ensure EPA criteria are met for both water efficiency and performance. This GJ Gardner home is 20% more water efficient and will save a family of four approximately $600 per year in utility costs, or 50,000 gallons of water, compared to a typical home.

“We applaud the innovative builders who are taking such a thoughtful approach to water. These sensible steps will not only save money for homeowners but provide important examples for Coloradans as we understand water is a treasure for the entire state, important for our homes, but also for our farmers, rivers, wildlife, industries and tourism,” said John Stulp, special policy advisor for water to Gov. Hickenlooper. “Such responsible approaches to water help our economy and environment thrive.”

“New homes like this one are a model for our community’s future and help us achieve our long-range conservation goals to ensure a sustainable supply of water, while saving homeowners water, energy and money,” said Jerry Forte, chief executive officer for Colorado Springs Utilities.
Homeowners who invest in a WaterSense labeled home will save water and energy now, pay less for utilities every month, and protect resources for future generations. WaterSense labeled products like showerheads, toilets and bathroom faucets are now available at every cost point.

WaterSense labeled new homes are all about convenience, efficiency and confidence. Hot water will be delivered to the users faster – saving water, energy AND time. Their yards will be healthy, regionally sustainable and easier to maintain and their homes will be filled with WaterSense labeled products that they can be confident have been tested for efficiency and performance.

For more information on WaterSense visit: http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/

More coverage from Kelly Werthmann writing for the Colorado Connection. From the article:

Colorado Springs Utilities, in partnership with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, recognized GJ Gardner Northgate for building the first WaterSense labeled home in Colorado. WaterSense homes are labeled as such when they are inspected by a third party and deemed credible to ensure water efficiency and performance. This particular home is in the Gold Hill Mesa development. As with other WaterSense homes, this home uses 20 percent less water than typical new homes. The U.S. EPA established WaterSense to protect the future of the nation’s water resources and promote water-efficient products.

More conservation coverage here.

Arkansas Basin Roundtable ag water needs committee met with Colorado State experts this week

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

For the past decade, Colorado has been looking at the “gap” in municipal water supplies. The Statewide Water Supply Initiative — first released in 2004 and updated last year — projects a gap of from 190,000 to 630,000 acre-feet per year if the state’s population doubles by 2050, as projections show it will. Until recently, the state had talked about drying up farmland to meet the gap. There is new concern that drying up ag land will diminish the ability to feed more people. Food supply is expected to become a global problem in the next 50 years.

“[The Statewide Water Supply Initiative] says by 2050 we’ll double the population, but by 2050, we’ll also have to feed those people,” said Mark Sponsler, CEO of Colorado Corn…

“We need to come up with a solution so that ag water relates the same as municipal water,” said Reeves Brown, a Beulah rancher and member of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board. “We need to protect ag water.”[…]

Colorado State University researchers have developed computer models that can project the economic impact of removing water from agriculture, and the committee explored ways to develop models specific to the Arkansas and South Platte basins…

The group discussed presenting scenarios where the amount of water available for agriculture increases, stays the same or is reduced. Alternately, the models could factor in how the value of agricultural production could rise or fall with various amounts of water available.

More IBCC – basin roundtables coverage here.