Gunnison State of the River meeting June 4


From the Colorado River Water Conservancy District website:

Mon., June 4, Gunnison County State of the Rivers, Student Center Ballroom at Western Colorado State University, Gunnison: 10 a.m., tour of the Aspinall Unit Reservoirs; 4 p.m. Gunnison Basin Roundtable Meeting: 6:30 p.m. Public Reception; 7 p.m. Snowpack and Streamflow levels and predictions for the summer; 7:20 p.m. Aspinall Operations Update; 7:40 p.m. a History of Construction at the Aspinall Unit; 8:15 p.m. the 75 Year History of the Colorado River District with author George Sibley.

More Gunnison River basin coverage here and here.

Carter Lake: The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District dedicates their new hydroelectric generation facility


From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Dickman):

A hydroelectric plant is now up and running at Carter Lake west of Loveland and pumping energy into the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association grid Dignitaries from Northern Water, which built the plant, the REA, Tri State Generation and even the United States Department of Interior on Thursday dedicated the Robert V. Trout Hydropower Plant not far from the south shore of the lake…

Already, the Colorado-Big Thompson Water that funnels through the Adams Tunnel from the Western Slope to Northern Colorado feed six Bureau of Reclamation hydroelectric power plants and has fed 37 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy into the grid. The new plant, owned and operated by Northern Water, will add 2.6 megawatts of power, or enough to feed 1,000 homes…

The water district named the plant after Trout, a lawyer who has represented the water district for 35 years and whose innovative and tireless efforts helped bring the hydroelectric plant to life.

Here’s the release from the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Brian Werner):

Northern Water dedicated their first hydropower plant today at Carter Lake southwest of Loveland. About 100 people attended the ceremony, which featured Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science for the U.S. Department of the Interior, and speakers from several organizations involved in the project.

The project, which started generating power in mid-May, harnesses pressure created by existing releases from the outlet tower at the south end of Carter Lake, a Colorado-Big Thompson Project reservoir. The facility includes two 1,300-kilowatt turbines and connections to the Carter Lake outlet and the St. Vrain Supply Canal. It is expected to produce 7 to 10 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy a year – enough to power about 1,000 homes – sold by the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association.

“Although the industry classifies this hydro project as small, it’s a really big step for Northern Water. We’re taking energy in the form of pressure that was already there and turning it into marketable power that expands Poudre Valley REA’s green energy portfolio,” said Carl Brouwer, project manager for Northern Water.

Northern Water’s Board of Directors approved a resolution earlier this month to name the facility the Robert V. Trout Hydropower Plant after attorney Bob Trout, Northern Water legal counsel for more than 35 years. Just as he was for countless other initiatives, Trout was instrumental in the development of the hydro project.

The $6 million project received a $2 million low-interest loan through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, and Northern Water’s new hydropower enterprise fund is managing a loan for the rest. The project’s projected revenue, which will repay construction costs and cover future upgrades, is about $600,000 a year.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: Objectors question the State Engineer’s authority to approve this season’s substitute water supply plan


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The case is one of the first major decisions facing newly appointed Division 2 Water Judge Larry Schwartz. “We think the state engineer has exceeded his statutory authority,” said Richard Mehren, attorney for the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association. LAWMA, along with the Amity Mutual Ditch Co., District 67 canals and Tri­State Generation and Transmission Co., filed the complaint last week in water court. It asks Schwartz to require the Super Ditch to file in water court in order to operate its pilot program…

The lawyers who filed the complaint say the Super Ditch transfer program have effects that would persist longer than five years — the return of groundwater to the Arkansas River. Mehren pointed out that the Super Ditch engineering shows this and LAWMA had to account for its own lagging return flows in a court case. Super Ditch engineers say recharge ponds would be put in place to account for the timing of return flows, and Wolfe agreed to the engineering design under a lengthy list of conditions. Several farms were eliminated from the plan because they could not meet recharge requirements, and in fact the pilot project’s scope was cut in half for that reason. Opponents also say the one-year pilot program sets a precedent, giving them little time to respond to claims made from one year to the next. They also point out the program could be renewed annually for another four years.

“We have an interest in keeping the water we think we have,” said Colin Thompson, a farmer on the Amity. “We’re out real money when we can’t irrigate, and we believe the burden of proof should be on the Super Ditch.” “LAWMA gets hurt in two ways,” said Don Higbee, manager of the well owners’ group. “We’re very cautious that our water rights won’t be depleted, but we also must make up flows at the state line.”

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here.