The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board approves a $2.9 million budget for 2012


From The Mountain Mail (Joe Stone):

Directors approved a budget resolution adopting the $2.9 million 2012 budget prepared by Swartz and Young Certified Public Accountants [November 10] during the monthly Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board meeting in Salida. The total budget includes the general fund and the enterprise fund, and Rich Young of Swartz and Young said the 2012 budget includes $465,779 in projected property tax revenue, an increase of $2,000-3,000 compared with this year.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

Teller County Environmental Health and Colorado State University Extension are hosting a septic and well system workshop December 10


From the Pikes Peak Courier View:

Ground water is an important resource in Colorado, supplying approximately 18 percent of the water used in the state. Nineteen of Colorado’s 64 counties rely solely on ground water for drinking water and domestic uses. Private wells are the primary source of water for many Colorado families, farms and ranches. Protecting these private water supplies is essential to the welfare of those who depend upon ground water. Good quality water is an invaluable resource.

Since wells are directly linked to ground water, they can become contaminated if agricultural chemicals, runoff from animal enclosures, fuels, household wastes or other contaminates accidently enter them. Because of this, all rural residents should view their well as a vital asset that needs to be protected.

This program is intended to help you understand more about your water and septic system and help you evaluate activities around the home or ranch that may contaminate wells and ground water…

Directly related to water quality is the maintenance of your septic system. We will explore the basic structure of the septic system, what it does, how it works, and how to maintain it. A septic system record folder will be provided as well as what should be recorded and how often.

More water pollution coverage here.

LaFarge settles Clean Water Act violations in five states, including Colorado


From The Denver Post:

Following federal inspections of Lafarge facilities that involved a pattern of violations since 2006, Lafarge and its four U.S. subsidiaries will evaluate all its 189 concrete facilities to ensure they meet federal Clean Water Act standards and will pay $740,000 in penalties. The work will insure that stormwater that flows over Lafarge concrete manufacturing facilities does not carry pollutants that impact water quality in nearby watersheds.

Lafarge also will protect land using conservation easements in Maryland and Colorado on l66 acres valued at $2.95 million.

The comprehensive evaluation will involve permit reviews at each facility and an analysis of all discharges into U.S. waters. Lafarge also will install an environmental team of managers and directors overseeing stormwater compliance standards at its facilities. Lafarge will spend about $8 million over five years developing and maintaining its new environmental compliance program.

More water pollution coverage here.

The strategy of switching federal agencies for the permitting of the Flaming Gorge pipeline project may not lead to a faster approval


From WyoFile (Allen Best):

“(Million) has been suggesting that he could get this project done in a significantly shorter amount of time (through FERC). My [Matt Rice, director of Colorado conservation for American Rivers] first reaction is this: He’s totally forgetting about the federal hydropower licensing requirements under the Federal Power Act. The process can be incredibly complex, especially for a project of this size, geographic scope and complexity.”

Based on his experience working on hydropower projects seeking permits in South Carolina and Alabama, Rice expects a process that lasts at least a decade. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this project took at least 10 years…and more like 12 to 15 years,” he says. “Augusta, Ga., just got a license for a small project, and that process took more than 30 years.”

And before a permit is awarded by FERC, it must also get review under the applicable environmental laws – possibly including the Clean Water Act, which is what had triggered the original review by the Army Corps.

Million needed a section 404 dredge-and-fill permit under the provisions of that law because of proposed use of fill at Flaming Gorge Reservoir for his proposed take-out structure and possibly at other wetlands locations along the pipeline route.

A spokeswoman for the Army Corps describes a process that was delayed because of Million’s foot-dragging. “It had to do with the many delays and the applicant continuing to ask for more extensions and more time,” says regulatory specialist Rena Brand. “Toward the end of July, his group explained that they were thinking about moving to energy production.” And that, she said, meant a new purpose and need.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Aquate Group reservoir covers lessen evaporation and generate solar energy in Israel


Here’s the release from the Aquate Group:


Aquate Group Ltd. signs landmark agreement with Chevrat Moshve Hanegev to increase national water resources, enable increased agricultural production in the Negev, and generate clean energy without exploiting land

 Aquate’s infrastructure investment will total approximately NIS 300,000,000 (U.S. $80 million)

 Through Aquate’s reservoir enhancement services the four Chevrat Moshve Hanegev reservoirs can increase their total water availability by 900,000 cubic meters of water each year

 Aquate’s infrastructure will add 1500 dunams [now defined as exactly one decare (1000 m²)] of irrigated agricultural land in the Negev

 Aquate’s infrastructure, which is installed only on a reservoir’s water surface, will preserve over 460 dunams of land from exploitation

 Aquate’s infrastructure will provide 16 megawatts of clean solar energy capacity

Aquate Group Ltd. (“Aquate”) and Chevrat Moshve Hanegev have entered into an unprecedented long-term cooperation agreement this week under which Aquate will provide Israel’s largest agricultural company with Aquate’s reservoir enhancement and clean energy infrastructure and services. Under the agreement, Aquate’s services will increase the volume and quality of water available for irrigation from Chevrat Moshve Hanegev reclaimed water reservoirs.

Aquate regional companies provide water reservoir enhancement and clean energy infrastructure and services throughout the world. Under this initial agreement in Israel, Aquate plans to invest NIS 300 million ($80 million). This investment by Aquate will increase the total amount of water available in the Chevrat Moshve Hanegev reservoirs, improve water quality in the reservoirs, enable the irrigation of new land devoted to agriculture, and prevent overuse of open areas.

Shimon Tal, Israel’s former Water Commissioner, Director of Aquate Group Ltd., and President of Aquate’s operations in Israel remarked, “Israel’s numerous irrigation reservoirs are critical to supporting agricultural production in Israel as well as to reducing pressure on supplies of drinking water. The services Aquate is providing Israel will produce clean electricity on a large scale and enhance the capacity of these reservoirs to support agricultural production without interfering with the operation of the reservoirs. The Aquate team has experience planning and installing cover systems on hundreds of reservoirs around the world, and that experience spans over more than thirty years. By implementing existing knowledge and methods in the design and installation of reservoir covers, we can provide a system-wide solution that will preserve and enhance the original designation of the reservoirs for agriculture.”

Aquate provides reservoir enhancement services by installing on water reservoirs a proprietary flexible floating cover, durable for twenty-five years or more, that incorporates photovoltaic cells and water quality monitoring and treatment systems. The company will begin installing reservoir enhancement and clean energy infrastructure and services in Israel this year.

“We believe that this cooperation is one of the most important ones we have undertaken,” said Ilan Peretz, CEO of Chevrat Moshve Hanegev. “For our company, Aquate’s reservoir enhancement infrastructure and services will prevent income loss that we have suffered in the past due to declining water quality and evaporation. At the local and national level, the Negev and Israel will benefit from increased agricultural outputs and an increase in water availability. Of equal importance, our farmers can proudly play a leading role in achieving the country’s ambitious renewable energy goals without having to relinquish precious farm land to do so.”

According to Barak Yekutiely, the Chairman and CEO of Aquate Group Ltd., “We believe this is the right approach to predictable development of large scale renewable energy sources that reduce dependence on fossil fuel generated electricity while increasing food and water supplies and preserving green open spaces. Aquate provides proven solutions that enhance and maintain national resources – in Israel’s case significantly increasing national water resources and agricultural output and protecting rather than exploiting scarce land for clean energy generation.”

* Aquate Group Ltd. develops sustainable assets on a global basis through regional operating companies that provide both climate change mitigation and adaptation services. Aquate’s regional operating companies deliver two primary services: reservoir enhancement to reservoir owners and operators and clean energy generation for electric utility companies. Through the delivery of these two bundled services, Aquate provides additional climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits such as reducing the need to build new power generation facilities on scarce agricultural land; promoting biodiversity; and stimulating increased agricultural production through greater availability of water at higher quality levels.

** Chevrat Moshve Hanegev is Israel’s largest agricultural company and is a partnership between 34 Moshavim which cultivate over 150,000 dunams. The company was established in 1958 and specializes in field crops (wheat, potatoes, peanuts, sunflower, chickpeas, corn and carrots), citrus fruits, almonds, pomegranates and more.

More coverage from (Shifra Mincer). From the article:

At Watec Israel, an international conference and exhibition on water technologies, renewable energy and environmental control, hosted from November 15-17 this year in Tel Aviv, Israeli national water company Mekorot agreed to a 20-year lease of a 100,000 square meter reservoir to Israel-based Aquate Group. Aquate specializes in floating reservoir covers that prevent a significant amount of the water from evaporating while providing a platform for renewable energy generation.

According to Aquate, the 20-year project with Mekorot will save 4 million cubic meters of water from evaporating and will create about 6 MW of clean power for the Israeli grid. Aquate will bear the operations and maintenance costs of the project.

“Signed in the national level and alongside national committees for assessing best options for green growth, this agreement may position Israel as a leading national actor that quantifies the economic costs of alternative solutions as well as conventional solutions with the aim of maximizing national long-term economic benefits,” said Aquate Group Marketing Communications Director Maya Ben Dror.

More conservation coverage here. More solar coverage here.