Northern Integrated Supply Project update: ‘The NISP project really fits like a glove on our water portfolio for the future’ — said Doug Short (Lafayette)

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (Breanna Draxler):

“The NISP project really fits like a glove on our water portfolio for the future,” said Doug Short, the public works director in Lafayette. The city is trying to diversify its water supply to prevent vulnerability from dependence on a single source, especially considering the unknown future impacts of climate change, Short said.

The proposed supply project would include two reservoirs, two pump plants and a series of pipelines aimed at providing water for the growing population east of the Rockies. “One way or another we’re going to need additional water,” said Brian Werner, of Northern Water, the organization proposing the project…

The proposed project would increase Northern Water’s storage capacity so it could collect more water in wet years, like last year, to be used in dry years, like this year. “We’re there for those dry times,” Werner said, equating Northern Water to a water supply savings account.

The proposed Glade Reservoir would store water from the Cache la Poudre River. Its location northwest of Fort Collins would require the relocation of seven miles of U.S. 287. The second proposed water storage facility, Galeton Reservoir, would be located northeast of Greeley and would collect water diverted from the South Platte River…

In addition to the economic costs, opponents fear environmental degradation related to the project. Laura Belanger, a water resources and environmental engineer at Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, said diverting water from the rivers will be detrimental to the riparian ecosystems. “There will be no peak flows left in the Poudre River,” Belanger said.

Peak flows provide habitat and spawning areas for wildlife, she said, as well as move sediment and remove vegetation. “If you remove peak flows from a stream system, that stream system can’t survive,” Belanger said…

Belanger commended Northern Water and the project’s participating communities for their conservation efforts and outreach, and she said that these savings should be considered a larger portion of future water supplies. But Northern Water is unconvinced that it will be enough. Limiting water projects will not limit growth, Werner said. “We can’t conserve our way to future supply,” he said.

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

Denver: Niobrara Shale Conference recap — Two new possible plays near the Niobrara

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From The Greeley Tribune (Jason Shueh) via Windsor Now!:

The inaugural Niobrara Shale Conference, named after the oil and gas shale formation running beneath Weld, was held at the Colorado Convention Center on Tuesday and Wednesday and called in a variety of industry specialists, resident mineral owners and geologists…

A notable presentation during the conference included one on hydraulic fracturing by Anadarko’s Jim Raney, who was speaking as spokesman for American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group. Raney encouraged industry leaders to take a more proactive and environmental approach when working with the community. He strongly cautioned that if the industry didn’t work with the community first, there would be less of an industry to work in.

Another notable presentation included a panel discussion among land and mineral rights owners about leasing negotiations.

Smiley said that while he enjoyed all of the presenters, he thought the lecture by geologist Steve Sonnenberg sparked a lot of attention, especially when Sonnenberg pointed to a few Niobrara hot spots…

The new exploration areas included the Fort Hays Limestone — part of the Niobrara — and the Greenhorn formation — near the Niobrara — as potential territories for drilling.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Peter Binney: ‘You are on the cusp of a major change in water management’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado’s efforts to deal with water problems, such as the Interbasin Compact Committee he once sat on, are not effectively meeting the need for action on water projects. Basin roundtables have created discussions that continue to return to the same dilemmas, he said. “We need a General Patton to lead us out of circular motion and into forward motion,” Binney said…

The United States is in the third era of water development, in Binney’s view. The first was an attitude of “man over nature” that lasted until the 1960s. From then until now, the country has gone through “social awareness” that recognized other needs like the environment and recreation need to be incorporated in water planning. From this time forward, the country will look at balance needs, dealing with shortage or crisis management, he predicted…

Binney’s solutions to the looming crisis involve changes in the way water is used:

– Land-use planning and water supply need to be integrated. That will mean more high-rises along water corridors.

– Agricultural uses of water must continue, but it could mean a change in cropping patterns. In Colorado, cattle and cattle feed are the major agricultural products. That could change as the global food market shifts.

– Regional water supply systems will become more common. The changes will come from local districts charged with providing water, and a statewide “metro water district” is possible.

– Projects will be paid for over their life cycle. Currently, there is a $2 trillion infrastructure gap nationwide that cities and water districts will be tasked to pay for.

– More efficient appliances will conserve some water, but larger savings will be realized by better choices for urban landscaping.

– Water users will have to overcome the “yuck factor” when it comes to direct reuse for potable water.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Colorado Water 2012: ‘Celebrate tap water!’ — Alan Hamel

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Alan Hamel):

…we at the Board of Water Works want you to be sure to include tap water in your celebrations. Plain old tap water? That’s right, tap water. Or, as we like to call the safe, bountiful supply of water we provide our customers, Pueblo’s Vital Blue.

Although it’s easy to take our municipal water system for granted as we turn the tap to fulfill our drinking, cooking, cleaning or landscape irrigation needs, we really should be mindful of all the things tap water does for us — things that no other water can do…

The No. 1 job of the Board of Water Works is to keep healthy water flowing to Pueblo’s homes and businesses all day, every day.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Loveland: The Spring Waterway Cleanup attracts 350 people, ‘It’s amazing how dirty it gets’ — Lynn Adame

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From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Shelley Widhalm):

“I love to be out here by the river,” said Waneka, a member of National Honor Society like his peers who came out that day. “Everybody sweeping in, getting every bit of trash, it makes a world of difference. It looks like nature and less like a river in the middle of the city.”

An estimated 350-plus people met at five cleanup stations throughout Loveland, coming alone, with friends and family, or as part of civic, school or community groups to help protect and improve the local waterways.

“It’s amazing how dirty it gets. We clean it every year, and every year, we find more stuff,” said Lynn Adame, a city employee helping out at the Loveland Civic Center station.

For three hours, the volunteers removed trash from the Thompson River, Jayhawker Ponds and other lakes, creeks and ditches in Loveland. They found a few large items, including shopping carts, a toilet, a vacuum cleaner and car tires, along with bottles, cups and cans, pieces of plastic, metal objects, barbed wire, tarps and trash bags…

Eight-year-old Travis Hallmark’s finds included cans and plastic.

“I love the Earth, and I don’t want it to go to waste,” the second-grader said. “I want to clean the river so animals don’t die from the garbage.”

Joe Chaplin, storm water quality specialist for the city, said the volunteers collected fewer large items than they did in past years, though the number of volunteers is comparable — he won’t have a final number of volunteers and the volume they collected until early next week, he said.

More Big Thompson River watershed coverage here and here.