Rain Bird is funding ‘Intelligent use of water awards’

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From email from the Pollack PR Marketing Group (Sara Nazarian):

The Intelligent Use of Water Awards is an interactive grant program that awards funds to water conservation and environmental sustainability projects that promote green spaces. Developed and managed by the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, Rain Bird Corporation, the Intelligent Use of Water Awards is a global initiative that invites anyone with access to the Internet to submit a water conservation project and/or vote on other projects to receive more than $50,000 in funding.

Anyone can submit a project via the Intelligent Use of Water Awards website at http://www.iuowawards.com and promote it within their community. All projects are anonymously voted upon by visitors (one vote a day per project, per individual user), and the projects with the most votes will receive funding from Rain Bird according to their funding category.

Rain Bird will award four $1,500 projects, three $5,000 projects, and three $10,000 projects.

The process for submitting a project is fast, simple, and open to the global public. If you or your readers have any current or upcoming projects that contribute to water conservation and/or green spaces and need funding for them, I strongly encourage them to submit entries to qualify for one of the grants and vote.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention (January 25-27) Program Descriptions

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From email from the Colorado Water Congress (Doug Kemper):

At long last, the near final program descriptions are completed for our 2012 Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention, The Year of Water Celebration and the Wednesday Workshops. I am pleased to announce that registrations are currently running ahead of last year’s record setting convention.

Advance registration will continue through next week. So there is still time for you to reserve your seat at what promises to be a very exciting convention. For the first time in several decades, the entire convention will be in plenary session. For those of you that love to make choices, we have a diverse array of concurrent sessions during our Wednesday Workshops – easily our richest selection of learning opportunities that we have ever had.

The San Luis Valley unconfined aquifer depleted to lowest level since record keeping started in 1976

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

High commodity prices and a below-average snowpack prevented the normal recharge of the shallower of the valley’s two major groundwater bodies from bouncing back during runoff as it customarily does. “This last year has been pretty brutal,” Allen Davey, an engineer who monitors groundwater for the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, said at the district’s quarterly meeting Tuesday…

From January of last year pumping has reduced the aquifer by 200,000 acre-feet, according to the district’s monitoring wells that are clustered in the north-central part of the valley. It’s down 740,000 acre feet from when officials started charting the aquifer’s levels in 1976…

“I’ve talked to several users who have indicated they’re having trouble with their wells at this level, which is really no surprise,” Davey said.

More San Luis Valley groundwater coverage here and here.

Snowpack news: Storms over the next week or so bring hope of building towards average

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Klaus Wolter (Climate Prediction Center) told the CWCB’s Water Availability Task Force yesterday (from my Twitter Feed @coyotegulch), beyond next week — temperatures warm, storm tonight, next weekend and probably one after that. We may exceed normal precipitation.

Here’s a report from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service reported the water content of the snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin was 70 percent of normal Jan. 17, 2002. On the same date this year, the snowpack was worse there: 61 percent of normal.

The Laramie and North Platte river basins had a snowpack 62 percent of normal on that day in 2002. In 2012, the snowpack was exactly the same. In the South Platte Basin, which includes the Poudre River, the snowpack was 54 percent of normal. This year, it was a bit better: 73 percent of normal…

“The sense of optimism we have right now, that is the forecasts are strongly indicating a weather pattern change that’s imminent,” said Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken. The shift already has started as the jet stream is beginning to drop south now that arctic air has moved into the Gulf of Alaska, pushing a hefty dose of snow to the Rockies this weekend, said meteorologist Mark Heuer of DayWeather in Cheyenne, Wyo. “The Rockies are starting to see consistent and heavy snow,” he said…

There’s another big difference between the winter conditions of 2012 and those of 2002. “We’re going in well ahead above average in (water) storage,” said Brian Werner, spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District in Berthoud.

From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

The annual index flow for the Rio Grande is normally about 650,000 acre feet, but the initial projection is for 505,000 acre feet, Hardesty reported. The Conejos River system, which ended the year with more water than expected, is initially forecast to produce 258,000 acre feet or about 90 percent of the average 280,000 acre feet. Both the Rio Grande and Conejos Rivers ended the calendar year with a credit on the Rio Grande Compact, Hardesty added…

Hardesty said although the current basinwide snowpack is 82 percent, “the numbers are all over the place.” The SNOTEL site at Wolf Creek Summit, for example, registered 104 percent of average as of Tuesday, Jan. 17, while the Lily Pond site was only registering 53 percent of average.

From USA Today (Doyle Rice):

“There are quite a few storms lined up over the Pacific that will be coming onshore over the next several days,” Weather Channel meteorologist Frank Giannasca said…

The storm dumped almost a foot of snow on Washington’s capital, Olympia, the National Weather Service reported. That amount was close to the city’s 24-hour record of 14 inches. Seattle saw about 4-6 inches of snow.

Mike King (DNR): ‘We have seen our water projects not being developed at a rate necessary to meet our future demand’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

“We have seen our water projects not being developed at a rate necessary to meet our future demand,” said Mike King, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources.
Dating back to 2008, the state has filled holes in its budget with severance tax money derived from drilling and mining. Funding pools that support construction of water projects have been raided to the tune of $173 million to balance the budget, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has proposed to move another $30 million from water projects to the general fund in the 2012-13 budget. The Department of Natural Resources has identified $100 million in potential projects, but most will have to wait until sunnier budget times to complete them because a meager $22 million remains in the funding pool for projects.

A handful of projects will receive enough funding for partial completion this year. The Rio Grande Reservoir in the San Luis Valley is one of them. Water is seeping through its permeable base and needs reinforcement. Adding capacity to the reservoir also is on the wish list…

Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, represents the San Luis Valley. She said the budget wrangling of recent years has ignored state law that dictates how severance tax funds are to be used. “We are paying a price, ultimately, by not addressing the state’s water concerns,” she said. “This has been a choice of all of us (in the General Assembly) that we have just created different priorities. The question is: How do we realign ourselves with this priority long-term?”

More infrastructure coverage here.

Alan Hamel is retiring from the Pueblo Board of Water Works after more than 51 years

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Hamel plans to announce his retirement as executive director today, and will step down from the job at the end of August…

“I turn 70 in March,” Hamel said Wednesday. “It will be a good time for me to step down and allow (wife) Mary Kay and I to spend more time together.”

Hamel, who was recognized by the Colorado Water Congress with its top award in 2010, will continue as a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, as an advisory member with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, as a director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and as state appointee to the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here and here.