Drought news: Governor Hickenlooper’s decision about alluvial well pumping has farmers talking about crop disaster

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From 9News.com (Dave Delozier):

Because of the dry winter and spring the South Platte River is not flowing at a level to allow farmers, like Fritzler, to continue to use it as an irrigation source. Unless conditions change Fritzler will not receive any more above surface water for their crops. “We have no surface water,” [Glenn Fritzler] said. “We have an abundance of groundwater, but we do not have the permission to use it.”

Fritzler and other farmers in Weld County want to use their wells to pump groundwater from the aquifers beneath their farms. They are being prevented from doing that by a 2006 Colorado Water Court ruling. In that ruling, the court said farmers, like Fritzler, are only allowed to pump a limited amount of groundwater. If farmers exceed their allotment of groundwater, they are charged $3,000 a day for each pump used.

When the surface water ran out, Fritzler started pumping his allotment of groundwater. It will last for one week. The current drought conditions are expected to extend well beyond that one week supply.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

Boulder County approves and sets conditions for the 1041 permit for Northern Water’s Southern Water Supply Pipeline Project II

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (John Fryar):

Boulder County commissioners on Thursday approved a proposed pipeline that will deliver water from Carter Lake in Larimer County to the city of Boulder, the Left Hand Water District, the Longs Peak Water District and the Town of Frederick.

But the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which is heading up what’s called the Southern Water Supply Pipeline Project II on behalf of the entities that will be getting the water, will have to comply with nearly three dozen conditions that Boulder County is attaching to its approval. The project’s representatives expressed particular concerns about two of those conditions.

One, as recommended by Boulder County Land Use staff, will require the applicants to pay for a county-retained “project overseer” who’d monitor and inspect the work while it’s under way and would have the authority “to alter, direct and/or stop any activity that will result in adverse environmental or safety conditions” or violations of various county permits or “accepted construction standards.” Project proponents indicated discomfort over giving someone the ability to stop all work over issues they said could be resolved without bringing everything to a halt. County commissioners agreed to add language that the overseer couldn’t act arbitrarily. But they said some situations might require emergency work stoppages, rather than awaiting dispute resolution.

Pipeline project applicants also objected to a condition that they pay for the county Parks and Open Space Department to hire someone representing the county, as a landowner, during the project’s construction and reclamation work on county open space lands…

Northern Water’s Carl Brouwer, the project manager, said participants will now meet to work out a timetable for the phased construction of the pipeline, whose advocates have said is needed to improve the quality of the water being delivered, provide a year-round water supply and meet projected increases in demand. Brouwer said it’s been estimated that the work will about $35 million or more once it’s completed. At least some of the new underground pipeline will replace Northern Water’s and water recipients’ reliance of the portion of the current delivery system that channels water through exposed open-air canals that are closed in the winter and that can be polluted by storm runoffs and other surface sources. The new pipeline would run roughly in parallel to the old canal system between Carter Lake and a point near Longmont’s Vance Brand Municipal Airport. From there, it would run southwest to Boulder Reservoir. An eastern spur from the main pipeline would run from a point north of Longmont and go east to Frederick.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Southern Delivery System: Reclamation moves test of new Pueblo Dam North Outlet Works to Monday

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

The flow test originally planned for the new outlet at Pueblo Dam…will now be held on Monday morning, June 25. No flow tests are planned for the weekend.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

The Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors approves raw water rate increase

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Christine Ina Casillas):

The Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors approved a raw water rate increase and are in discussions with cost options that include $1.15 with Southern Delivery Systems costs spread over 10 years, $152 with 2011 actual SDS costs or $1.73 with 2011 actual SDS costs, including Hill Ranch and Wildhorse Pipeline. According to a Pueblo West Metropolitan Dsitrict water and wastewater rate study, the rate revenue needed to meet revenue requirements, the study showed.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Fountain Creek: Fort Carson reports spill into the creek

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A spill of 10,000 gallons from a sanitary sewer lift station at Fort Carson, including small amounts of petroleum, was reported to the Environmental Protection Agency on June 7, according to information provided by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division…

The spill occurred at a pre-treatment plant meant to separate oil from water before water is routed through a sewer plant. The EPA is evaluating corrective actions and steps that must be taken to prevent future overflows, said David Gwisdalla, environmental engineer with the EPA. The cause of the spill was an extreme rain that caused a manhole to overfill, sending 10,000 gallons of untreated sewage into a ditch leading into Fountain Creek, according to the report.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.