Colorado Water 2012: The water footprint of a cup of coffee is 35-55 gallons


From The Pueblo Chieftain (David Hartkop):

Did you know, for instance, that one cup of coffee actually requires between 35-55 gallons of water to produce? So says National Geographic and a carefully compiled study by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)…

For it to make sense, one must track that cup of coffee all the way back to the wilds of a coffee plantation in Guatemala. Coffee is grown on trees and picked as plump red cherries. This requires varying levels of irrigation, depending on the local rainfall. Irrigating a plantation is no small business, especially considering that each coffee tree only produces one pound of coffee per year. The cherries are then picked and the seeds (what we call coffee “beans”) are extracted by pulping the fruit.

The coffee beans are then washed in clean water to remove the pulpy remnants. Washing, again, is no small process. It may take several hundred gallons to flush the pulp away from a mere 100 pounds of beans. The washed beans are then spread out to dry. When we receive coffee beans, they are dry green pellets. As dry as they may seem, each green coffee bean contains a further volume of hidden water. One hundred pounds of green coffee becomes only 88 pounds once roasted. The 12 percent loss in weight is actually due to water released as steam from the beans during the roasting process.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

2012 Colorado legislation: Graywater bill dies in committee


From the Northern Colorado Business Report:

Lawmakers in the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted 5-4 to quash the measure late Wednesday, according to a statement from state House Democrats. Introduced by Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, the bill aimed to create a legal definition of graywater, which comes from showers and sinks.

Graywater can be used for toilet flushing, outdoor irrigation and other purposes. Currently classified as wastewater that cannot be legally reused in Colorado, graywater is used in homes and businesses in other Western states, according to House Democrats.

The bill would have ordered the state Water Quality Control Commission to enact public health guidelines that promote its use.

More 2012 Colorado legislation coverage here.

Downstream Neighbor 2012 Symposium: Maude Barlow keynote now online at Vimeo


Here’s the link to the video of Maude Barlow’s keynote presentation from the Downstream Neighbor 2012 Symposium.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Colorado State University Professor Named the 2011 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Winner


Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Kimberly Sorensen):

The Wildlife Society’s highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, has been awarded to Kenneth P. Burnham, professor emeritus from the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to wildlife conservation.

CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) has the distinction of now having four faculty honored with this award. The others are:

1973 Gustav A. Swanson, Professor Emeritus (deceased)
2000 Gary C. White, Professor Emeritus
2004 David R. Anderson, Professor Emeritus

Burnham and Anderson were also U.S. Geological Survey scientists in the Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, a unit within FWCB. All have been recognized with numerous awards for their scientific and academic accomplishments, and they continue to actively enrich the profession and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.

Burnham began his career as a statistician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and later as an area statistician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service in the southeast United States.

Burnham’s early research produced a wide variety of statistical methods used by ecologists around the world. These methods had a profound impact on the science behind numerous monitoring programs, including the northern spotted owl, endangered desert tortoise, endangered fish on the Colorado River, salmon passage through hydro dams on the Columbia River, and assistance in planning and conducting the 2000 U.S. Census.

Starting in 1988, and for the next 21 years, Burnham held the position of assistant unit leader for the Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at CSU. His work led to effective insights into a broad range of biological systems in many places throughout the world.

Over his 40-year career, he has nearly 200 scientific publications, and these works have been cited more than 17,000 times by wildlife professionals, ecologists, and statisticians around the world.

Ultimately, his scientific contributions have had an enormous impact on a wide range of management and research programs in numerous countries across the globe.

Aldo Leopold is considered the “father” of wildlife science and is one of the great conservationists from the first half of the 20th century.

Following Leopold’s death in 1948, the Wildlife Society annually awards an individual the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award in his honor. The Wildlife Society, founded in 1937, is a professional, international, non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

More endangered/threatened species coverage here.

CWQCC: Proposed nutrient standards have southwestern municipalities worried about costs for implementation


From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):

A Durango attorney involved in the process says region-specific nutrients standard makes more sense than the blanket regulations for nitrogen and phosphorus that are being proposed for Colorado. If a one-size-fits-all standard is adopted it won’t improve water quality in the Animas River but will cost Durango $19.7 million in capital costs alone, Jeff Kane, of Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel said.

Cortez would face a $3.1 million bill, Kane told the Southwestern Water Conservation District board on Wednesday. Bayfield would be looking at $2.4 million in upgrades while it would cost the Pagosa Springs Water and Sanitation District $14.6 million and the town of Telluride, $7.4 million…

Communities that treat wastewater in lagoons don’t fall under the new regulations. Among them are Silverton, Mancos, Hermosa, Durango West and Edgemont Ranch Metropolitan District…

At the March meeting, commissioners will address two issues – Regulation 31 that sets limits of 0.11 parts per million for phosphorus and 1.25 ppm for nitrogen – in cold-water streams and Regulation 85 that mandates new nutrient removal technology…

The heaviest nutrient loads are found in the Platte, Arkansas and Poudre rivers downstream from large Front Range urban areas, Kane said. Agricultural operations produce very little contamination, he said…

Gunderson said 135 of the 391 waste dischargers in the state account for 95 percent of effluent. One discharger, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver, alone accounts for one-third of the 95 percent, he said.

More wastewater coverage here.

Water 2012 Book Club: ‘The Colorado River Flowing Through Conflict’ discussion online now at Your Colorado Water Blog


Here’s the link to Ted Kowalski’s (CWCB) comments about the book. Be sure to get in on the discussion by clicking on the the comments section below the post.

The Colorado Water 2012 Book Club page also has three sneak peeks at unpublished books that are part of the book club selections.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Longmont: Open house today to discuss the city’s options with respect to oil and gas exploration and production regulations


From the Longmont Times-Call (Scott Rochat):

On Monday afternoon, city officials will hold an open house to discuss options for regulating the oil and gas industry, including the controversial practice of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method which reaches deep deposits by creating minute fractures in the rock. After the open house, Longmont’s water board, parks board and Board of Environmental Affairs will meet jointly to give their advice. But there’s one tricky area. The regulations all those groups are advising on still don’t completely exist. A first draft of the new regulations won’t be done until at least Feb. 10, as Longmont’s staff feels its way past Colorado Supreme Court decisions, possible legislative action, and the limits set by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state’s regulating authority…

The open house will run from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday in the lobby of the City Council chambers, 350 Kimbark St. The joint board meeting, held in the council chambers, will start at 7 p.m.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Runoff news: Below average streamflow is the current forecast for the Uncompahgre River


From the Montrose Daily Press (Elaine Hale Jones):

…as far as predicting the weather, statistics gathered in January and February typically tell the story for the remainder of the year. “So far, things look dry for the future,” said Dan Crabtree, water management group chief for the Bureau of Reclamation in Grand Junction. “We’re right on the cusp of being below average in precipitation.”

The Uncompahgre Valley is part of the Gunnison River Basin, which encompasses 8,000 square miles and extends from the Continental Divide to Grand Junction, where it joins the Colorado River. The major water development feature in the basin is the Aspinall Unit of the Colorado River Storage Project (the Blue Mesa, Crystal and Morrow Point reservoirs). Other water-development projects in the area include the Dallas Creek Project (Ridgway Dam and Reservoir), Silver Jack Reservoir and Taylor Park Reservoir, all administered by the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments has released a report about the importance of water to Colorado’s headwaters counties


From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Pitkin County provides an estimated annual average of nearly 99,000 acre-feet via transmountain diversions to the Eastern Slope, according to the study, “Water and Its Relationship to the Economies of the Headwater Counties.” To put that amount into perspective, Ruedi Reservoir holds slightly more than 100,000 acre-feet. Among the headwater counties along the spine of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, only Grand County loses more than Pitkin County through diversions. It supplies 307,500 acre-feet annually. Summit and Eagle counties are well behind Pitkin County in water diverted to the Eastern Slope. Gunnison and Routt counties are virtually untapped.

The mountain counties don’t want to suffer environmental or economic consequences from future diversions. An association that lobbies on their behalf, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, commissioned the study to show how vital adequate water supplies are not only to the mountain communities but also to the entire state…

The study isn’t intended to pit the mountain headwater counties against the Eastern Plains, said author Jean Townsend of the Denver firm Coley/Forest Inc. The headwater counties are simply saying, “There’s an economic impact to us, too,” she said. Pitkin County and the other headwater areas depend on streamflows for fishing, camping and boating activities. Townsend also noted that Aspen has a worldwide appeal. Its economy is built partially on real estate sales and service to second-homeowners. About 47 percent of homes in Pitkin County are owned by out-of-state residents…

A second message is that Colorado’s economy as a whole is dependent on a healthy mountain environment. The mountains not only draw people to the state and support a strong tourism industry, they also make Denver and the rest of the Front Range more attractive for businesses.

More transmountain/transbasin diversions coverage here.

Profile: Vena Pointer — Colorado’s first female water lawyer

Vena Pointer, Colorado’s first female water attorney via The Pueblo Chieftain.

At the Colorado Water Congress annual convention a couple of weeks ago Tom Cech spoke about Vena Pointer. Here’s a profile of Pointer from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

Vena Pointer was the state’s first female water lawyer, an original member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Pueblo’s only woman lawyer when she retired in 1960. She died at a Pueblo nursing home on Dec. 6, 1971, at the age of 91. Her accomplishments recently were recalled by Tom Cech, who is director of the water center at Metro State College of Denver and who has co-authored a history of the CWCB with former CWCB director Bill McDonald. They spoke at the Colorado Water Congress convention last month.

Miss Pointer — she never married — was born in Republic County, Kan., in 1880, and after graduating from high school attended Kansas Wesleyan College business school. She became a stenographer and moved to La Junta in 1911, working for lawyer George Wallis.

She passed the Colorado Bar examination in 1926, and was the last person in Colorado admitted to the bar under “clerkship” — reading the law under a lawyer’s supervision, rather than attending law school. She read the law for seven years in preparation. She was a law partner with Fred Sabin, and they moved their law offices to Pueblo in 1927. When Sabin died in 1931, she became affiliated with A.W. McHendrie, a Pueblo lawyer who also was an authority on water law.

Miss Pointer was secretary of the Arkansas Valley Ditch Association 1919-1959, and was Pueblo County public administrator from 1944-46. In 1933, she was appointed to the Caddoa Commission by Gov. Edwin C. Johnson, and served for more than 20 years on the board of directors. The commission lobbied for and oversaw the construction of what is now John Martin Reservoir.

More water law coverage here.