Take the time today to learn how you can help alleviate the problem of waterborne disease around the world

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Last week Your Water Colorado Blog pointed to this article, Water For All from Erin McIntyre writing for Headwaters Magazine. From the article:

To further its mission, Rocky Ford-based Innovative Water Technologies designed the Sunspring, a self-contained, solar-powered, portable water filtration unit. The Sunspring uses membrane technology developed by General Electric that can filter particles as small as .02 microns. “You can drink the water straight out of it and it’s bacteriologically safe,” says Barker.

The 900-pound Sunspring arrives at its destination with all the necessary tools for assembly, and can produce purified water within two or three hours, given fresh water and sunshine. It can continue to filter up to 5,000 gallons per day for ten years and perhaps longer. The unit also has a Category 5 hurricane rating, making it durable for parts of the world which endure frequent natural disasters.

Barker got a first-hand look at the impact a Sunspring can have on a community after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Haiti’s fuel crisis made it difficult for water treatment plants, which needed power generators, to operate. When Barker arrived, the threat of cholera and dysentery loomed. “They were sending down plane loads of anti-diarrheal medicine and they were taking it with dirty water,” says Barker. “It was just a vicious circle there.”

Within hours of the earthquake, General Electric donated 10 Sunsprings. The Pentair Foundation donated two more. And Innovative Water Technologies donated time and travel to teach the local people how to use the technology.

“When we would show up to install a Sunspring, it was like a festival—hundreds of people waiting to see if it worked,” Barker recalls. Barker demonstrated the purified water’s safety, drinking the first cup as the crowd cheered. “We were able to give the Haitian people the same exact technology that we use here in the U.S. for our drinking water. To me that’s an honor.”

More water treatment coverage here.

Metro Water Roundtable public reception, ‘Is There Enough Water?’ Thursday, April 5

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Here’s the announcement from the Metro Roundtable. Here’s an excerpt:

Get an inside look at the work of the Metro Water Roundtable, meet top public officials, and have your questions answered about future water supplies.

Is There Enough Water?: Thursday, April 5, 2012 3:00-6:00pm; Metro State College, Tivoli Student Union, Room 250; Turnhalle, Auraria Campus.

The Norris Family plans to build the reservoir at the site eyed by both the Flaming Gorge Pipeline and the Southern Delivery System

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Norris family, owners of T-Cross Ranches, has filed a plan for the Marlboro Metropolitan Water District with El Paso County. “I’m going to build the reservoir,” said Steve Norris…“There has been lots of interest throughout the region for creating a regional storage reservoir.” Norris said it would hold nearly 30,000 acre-feet of water and would be built on land owned by the family and the State Land Board southeast of Colorado Springs. The application was filed earlier this month. The dam would be just south of the site targeted for the second phase of the Southern Delivery System. Colorado Springs Utilities, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West are building the SDS pipeline from Pueblo Dam, along with three pumping stations and a treatment plant. It is expected to be complete in 2016.

The reservoir on Upper Williams Creek is contemplated several years after the first phase of SDS…

The reservoir is also identified as terminal storage in Aaron Million’s plan to build a pipeline from Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River in Wyoming. Million and Norris are longtime friends.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

Cañon City: Local organizations combine forces to remove debris from the Arkansas River mainstem and banks

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From the Cañon City Daily Record (Charlotte Burroughs):

“This project focused on the area west of First Street on the north bank of the river,” said Rec. District Executive Director Jim Hoar. “It’s in conjunction with our new trail project, but it’s also our ongoing clean up of the river.”

As part of the efforts, the Rec. District will offer its annual Clean Up Green Up project on April 28, where numerous volunteers will do a lot of hand-on work.

“Each year in conjunction with Arkansas Headwaters Recreation District, the Outfitters and the Division of Wildlife, we try to identify hazards in the Arkansas River within our community, clear from MacKenzie all the way up to Grape Creek,” Hoar said. “Our focus was on the east side of the Fremont Ditch Diversion Dam earlier in the year and this second project focused around the Black Hills Clark Power Station. It was very successful. We’re 99 percent done. We actually removed 23,000 pounds of scrap iron, steel, railroad rails, bridge beams, old pipeline valves and all sorts of metals and debris from the river.” In addition, crews removed an old bridge deck that weighed 33,000 pounds. With 98 percent being recycled, the materials were put in proper places.

“The whole focus was to make the river cleaner, safer and better looking,” Hoar said. “It’s something in the past that many generations have taken for granted. Now we’re realizing the importance of our river for drinking water, recreational and agricultural uses.”

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

The National Park Service has released their draft EIS for mitigation of the 2003 Grand Ditch breach

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Here’s the release from Rocky Mountain National Park (Kyle Patterson):

The Grand Ditch Breach Restoration Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has been released by the National Park Service (NPS). A public workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 11, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Larimer County Courthouse/Commissioner’s Office at 200 W. Oak St., in Fort Collins and on Thursday, April 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Lake Fire Protection District at 201 W. Portal Road in Grand Lake. The public is encouraged to attend one of the meetings. The workshop format will be informal. A presentation will be followed by a question and answer period. Park staff will be on hand to discuss the DEIS and answer questions. Exhibits will be on display to describe the project and the environmental analysis. Attendees will have the opportunity to offer written or verbal comments.

The purpose of this project is to restore the natural hydrological processes, ecological services, and wilderness character of the area in the Upper Kawuneeche Valley impacted by the 2003 Grand Ditch breach. Implicit in this purpose is that the ecosystems restored are naturally dynamic and self-sustaining. The Upper Kawuneeche Valley area of impact contains more sediment, debris, and subsequent injuries from the 2003 breach than it would under natural conditions. The breach has resulted in highly unnatural conditions within the project area as a large amount of excess sediment has been deposited into the system and remains in an unstable, erodible state. The estimated 47,600 cubic-yard debris flow from the 2003 breach resulted in channel morphologic changes, deposition of a large debris fan, increased sedimentation along the Colorado River, altered aesthetics of a wilderness area, and tree mortality and scarring. These impacts have degraded the aquatic, riparian, and upland ecosystems, in addition to the wetland communities that support a unique array of species in comparison to other habitat types in the park.

The Grand Ditch Breach Restoration DEIS analyzes five alternatives to guide restoration of the area within Rocky Mountain National Park impacted by the 2003 Grand Ditch breach.

Alternative A, the alternative of no action / continue current management, would continue current management of the impacted area, following existing management policies and NPS guidance. This alternative serves as a basis of comparison for evaluating the action alternatives.

Alternative B, minimal restoration, would emphasize a smaller scale of management activity, compared with the other action alternatives, to restore portions of the impacted area. This alternative would focus actions on areas that are unstable and present a high potential of continued degradation of existing ecosystem resources and services. Management activities would be conducted using hand tools to reduce impact on wilderness character. This alternative would include stabilization of the road-cut hillside immediately below the Grand Ditch under one of two stabilization options.

Alternative C, high restoration, would involve more intensive management actions over large portions of the impacted area. This alternative would focus actions on unstable areas that present a high to moderate potential of continued degradation of existing ecosystem resources and services. Restoration methods would be used to stabilize banks, slopes, and disturbed areas, and to lessen the availability of breach debris and sediments to the system over a larger portion of the project area. This alternative would involve the use of heavy equipment and possibly reusing excavated debris for restoration and stabilization actions both within and between zones. This alternative would include stabilization of the road-cut hillside immediately below the Grand Ditch under one of two stabilization options.

Alternative D is the preferred alternative. This alternative would emphasize the removal of large debris deposits in the alluvial fan area and in the Lulu City wetland. Actions would be conducted to stabilize limited areas of unstable slopes and banks throughout the upper portions of the restoration area. Hydrology through the Lulu City wetland would be restored in the historical central channel through removal of large deposits of debris, relying on the historical channel to transport river flow. Small-scale motorized equipment would be employed for stabilization and revegetation activities, while larger equipment would be employed for excavation of large debris deposits and reconfiguration of the Colorado River through the Lulu City wetland. This alternative would include stabilization of the road-cut hillside immediately below the Grand Ditch under the preferred option, option 1.

Alternative E, maximum restoration, would involve extensive management activity and use of motorized equipment over large portions of the impacted area to restore the project area to reflect both pre-breach and desired historical conditions. Extensive recontouring and stabilization of 2003 debris deposits along banks and slopes would be conducted to approximate pre-breach contours and to reduce transport of sediments over a larger portion of the impacted area. Extensive changes would be made to both the existing and historical Colorado River channels to route the river to its historical alignment through the center of the Lulu City wetland. To facilitate movement of heavy mechanized equipment and excavated debris from the wetland to upland disposal areas, a temporary haul road would be constructed. This alternative would include stabilization of the road-cut hillside immediately below the Grand Ditch under one of two stabilization options.

The potential environmental consequences of the actions are evaluated for each alternative. Short-term, adverse impacts on natural soundscape, wilderness, water resources, wetlands, visitor use and experience, and wildlife that range up to major would result from restoration activities and the use of mechanized equipment. Up to long-term, major benefits would accrue for all impact topics under alternatives C, D, and E as a result of a high level of restoration of ecological reference conditions within a 100-year period.

A copy of the DEIS is available for public review online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo Printed copies may be obtained from Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 US Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517-8397, 970-586-1206. The DEIS will also be available at the Boulder Public Library in Boulder, the Estes Valley Library in Estes Park, the Juniper Library in Grand Lake, and at the Poudre River Public Library in Fort Collins.

The National Park Service will accept comments until May 25, 2012. If you wish to comment on the Grand Ditch Breach Restoration DEIS, you may submit your comments by any one of several methods. You may mail comments to: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO 80517-8397. You may also comment via the Internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo…you may hand deliver comments to: Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters, 1000 US Highway 36, Estes Park or to the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 16018 Highway 34, Grand Lake.

Please be aware that names and addresses of respondents may be released if requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Individual respondents may request that their home address be withheld from the record, which will be honored to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which a respondent’s identity may be withheld from the record, as allowable by law. If you wish to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. All submissions from organizations, or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses are available for public inspection in their entirety. Anonymous comments may be included in the public record. However, the NPS is not legally required to consider or respond to anonymous comments.

More coverage from Pamela Dickman writing for the Loveland Reporter Herald. From the article:

The park lays out five possibilities of how to repair the landscape, including two that use heavy equipment for higher levels of restoration, one that uses hand tools only for minimal restoration and one in which no additional work would be completed. The preferred option, however, focuses stabilization by removing debris from the alluvial fan and in the LuLu City wetlands, using larger equipment for some of the work and small-scale equipment for the rest, according to the national park.

Crews also would stabilize limited areas of the slopes and banks, restore the historical channel in the Lulu City wetland and remove large debris deposits using traditional river flow.

The work also would include stabilization of the road cut hillside immediately below the ditch.

More coverage from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

The Grand Ditch diverts water that would naturally flow into the Colorado River beneath the Never Summer Mountains and sends the water over the Continental Divide to the Poudre River to be used by Front Range farmers downstream. Fort Collins-based Water Storage and Supply Co., which operates the ditch, was sued by the federal government to claim compensation for the breach, and a settlement was reached in 2008. Since then, park officials have been working with Colorado State University to learn more about the ecology of the damaged area, and in 2010, they came up with five possible restoration scenarios…

The plan the NPS prefers doesn’t call for the highest level of restoration, and isn’t the “environmentally preferable” option, according to the analysis. The maximum level of restoration would involve extensive use of motorized equipment over a large area, according to the analysis. Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson called the plan park officials want to go with a “strategic alternative” that would reduce the project’s impact to wilderness yet achieve a nearly ideal level of restoration for the area.

More restoration/reclamation coverage here.

Republican River compliance pipeline tour recap: On schedule the project should be complete in mid-July

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From The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

More than 50 wells were purchased by the RRWCD, for approximately $49 million, from the Cure family in the hills about 12-14 miles north of Laird near the state line. Eight have been designated as primary wells, from which water will be pumped to the hilltop collection tank, from where the water will be sent down the pipeline through gravitational force to the outfall structure. Besides the eight primary wells, seven others have been designated as backup wells. Garney Construction submitted the winning bid of $13.54 million to construct the 12 mile pipeline, ending at the outfall structure on the North Fork of the Republican River less than one mile from the Colorado-Nebraska state line. Work is progressing as scheduled, with completion set for mid-July. It will be tested out later in the year.

The pipeline will be used to make up any deficits from Colorado in regards to its obligations to the Republican River Compact, an agreement between Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas first enacted in 1942.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

National Ski Areas Association files new complaint in their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

At issue is language in the permits under which most Colorado ski areas operate on public land. The two sides have been engaged in a long-running tussle over who owns the water originating on national forest lands. By amending its original lawsuit against the Forest Service in Federal District Court, the ski industry also gives the Forest Service an extra month to respond to the legal challenge. The industry also claims the new permit condition is an unlawful “takings ,”and that it conflicts with state water law. “The bottom line is, I don’t think the 2012 revisions solved the problem,” said attorney Glenn Porzak, representing the National Ski Areas Association in the legal challenge…

The industry has called the new permit language a takings, claiming that the Forest Service is forcing ski resorts to “abandon” or trnaswer water rights when permits are not renewed, and requiring ski areas to relinquish any legal claim for compensation for water rights “seized, taken, and subject to compelled transfer under the 2012 directive.”

The area where the industry may find relief from the court is related to the procedure or lack thereof) used by the Forest Service to adopt the new policy. According to the industry’s lawsuit, the agency failed to subject the change to any sort of environmental analysis, or to allow for public review and comment. According to Porzak, the Forest Service violated its own regulations by inserting the new clause without following those procedures.

More water law coverage here.