Aurora plans to sell 1,500 acre-feet worth $9.5 million for oil and gas exploration and production

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The former town of Fletcher is in the news again — this time for a deal with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Here’s a report from Sara Castellanos writing for the Aurora Sentinel. From the article:

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will purchase $9.5 million worth of “used” water from Aurora for its oil and gas drilling operations across the state, pending Aurora City Council approval July 9. The Houston-based company would pay Aurora Water over five years to use 1,500 acre feet of “effluent” water per year, according to city officials…

Members of the city council’s Management and Finance Committee will meet Wednesday to decide how the city should use the $9.5 million generated from the sale of the water. One idea, according to city documents ahead of the meeting, is to use revenue to partially pay off debt from Prairie Waters, a $650 million project that was completed in 2010 to ensure the city’s residents had enough water during droughts. The city borrowed more than $540 million and raised water rates to pay for the project.

It’s no surprise that The Pueblo Chieftain and water reporter Chris Woodka are assessing the potential effects of the deal, given Aurora’s popularity in the Arkansas River basin. Here’s an excerpt:

Aurora Water wants council to approve a five-year lease of 1,500 acre-feet for $1.8 million annually to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in an effort to reduce utility rates. Water would be sewer return flows into the South Platte River…

The water is surplus to return flows Aurora is now able to reuse through its Prairie Waters Project, said spokesman Greg Baker.

More Aurora coverage here and here.

Drought news: ESRI has an online map of all U.S. wildfires #CODrought

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From Emergency Management:

Esri maintains a continuously updated map of wildfires throughout the nation, including those in Colorado that have forced 32,000 people to evacuate from their homes and businesses. The map integrates the locations of wildfires, fire potential areas, global burn areas and precipitation. The map also pulls in tweets, YouTube videos and photos from Flickr to provide a look into what the public is sharing online.

Drought news: Anglers need to give fish a break in these times of low warm water #CODrought

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Biologist Doug Krieger said some fish are dying [ed. in the Arkansas River watershed]. The dead fish tend to collect in deeper pools and when the water is clear they are more obvious to river users. Dead fish have been spotted from Salida to Parkdale and also in lower portions of Grape Creek near Canon City…

On Tuesday water was recorded at 70 degrees near Salida and Cotopaxi, while temperatures on Grape Creek ranged from 72-74. When water temperatures hit 80 degrees that’s when it becomes critical, Krieger said.

Drought news: Hot weather == increased water use, North Metro water suppliers ask residents to conserve #CODrought

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Here’s a release from the water suppliers:

The cities of Arvada, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster, as well as South Adams County Water and Sanitation, and the City and County of Broomfield are joining together to ask residents to use water more efficiently this summer.

Most water suppliers in the North Metro area depend on mountain snowpack for a majority of their water. Below-average snowfall has meant less water for 2012 and possibly 2013. Plus, a warmer spring has jump-started the lawn-watering season, prompting higher water use.

Here are some recommended ways to reduce water use, save some money and protect future water supplies:

· Water lawns no more than two times per week under normal conditions. Add a third day in extreme heat. Spreading out watering days helps lawns grow deeper, drought-tolerant roots.
· If it rains, water less. Watch the weather and adjust watering days and times accordingly.
· Do not water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Watering during the day results in less water reaching your lawn due to evaporation and afternoon winds.
· Check your irrigation system at least once a month for leaks and other problems.
· When you water at night, it can be difficult to see problems. Running each zone for a few minutes during the day once monthly will reveal needed repairs.
· Raise your lawn mower blade. Protect your lawn’s roots from heat by letting grass grow a little longer.
· Limit other outdoor water uses. Sweep driveways and sidewalks with a broom. Always use a nozzle on your hose when watering landscape or washing your car.
· Check your home and repair water leaks. Place a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the water in the bowl turns color you have a leak. Replacing the flapper or other easy adjustments will generally solve the problem at little or no cost. Don’t forget to check showers and sinks for leaks as well.
· Know your water use. Check your water bill regularly to track use. Contact your water supplier for ways to identify and solve higher than normal water use issues.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

On Monday, nearly 54 million gallons of water were used in Pueblo, the highest single day of consumption so far this year, said Terry Book, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works…So far in 2012, there have been 5 days when more than 50 million gallons have been used. Even on some 100-degree days, that threshold was not reached.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Record breaking heat continues to drive some water demands on the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. Water is moving from Pinewood Reservoir to points downstream: primarily water deliveries, hydro-power generation at Flatiron Powerplant, and pumping up to Carter Lake.

Residents around and visitors to Pinewood have likely noticed a steady draw down over the last few days, including today and continuing through Friday. By Friday, June 29, we anticipate Pinewood will reach a water level elevation of about 6560 feet above sea level. That is about 54% full. It is anticipated that by Friday evening, or early Saturday morning, water levels at Pinewood will start to rise again.

Pinewood has been basically full for most of the month of June.

We are continuing to pump water up to Carter Lake reservoir.

From TheDenverChannel.com:

Calls for residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage during this year’s drought and mandatory restrictions in some parts of Mesa County have failed to get results…

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, some customers are now using three times as much water than when the pleas were issued.

Drought news: Waldo Canyon Fire blows up, homes near Colorado Springs destroyed #WaldoCanyonFire #CODrought

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From the Associated Press via The Pueblo Chieftain:

The [Air Force Academy] was telling families to leave two main housing areas, but an area of the 28-square-mile campus that houses cadets wasn’t immediately evacuated. A new class of cadets is still scheduled to report on Thursday. Fire officials had issued a pre-evacuation notice for the academy earlier Tuesday. El Paso County sheriff’s officials have ordered an estimated 32,000 people to leave. Fire information officer Greg Heule said earlier Tuesday that the fire was less than five miles from the southwest corner of the Air Force Academy’s campus. Television images showed homes burning and the Flying W Ranch southwest of the academy said on its website that the ranch had burned to the ground. Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown said “many, many homes” also have been saved.

Here’s the link to a photo album from The Pueblo Chieftain. Twitter hashtag @WaldoCanyonFire.

More from the article:

Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher in Denver, tying a record set in 2005 and 1989. On Monday, Denver set a record with 105 degrees. The previous record for June 25 was 100 degrees in 1991. Other areas of the state also topped 100 degrees Tuesday, including the northeastern Colorado town of Wray, which hit 108, the National Weather Service said. What the nation is now seeing is “a super-heated spike on top of a decades long warming trend,” said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The U.S. set 107 new temperature records Monday and in the past week has set 782 of them, which are large numbers but hard to put in context because the data center has only been tracking the number of daily records broken for little more than a year, Arndt said.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Tanker planes based out of the Pueblo Memorial Airport use city water to fight fires, and the U.S. Forest Service picks up the tab. The tankers fly in and out of the airport up to eight hours daily, with each plane carrying between 2,500-3,000 gallons of retardant mix, depending on conditions, said Ralph Bella, Forest Service spokesman. One part retardant is mixed with five parts water, and the water comes from a 3-inch metered hydrant. The rate for the hydrant is 1.5 times the residential rate, or $15.90 for the first 2,000 gallons, and $3.40 for every 1,000 gallons after that, said Terry Book, executive director for the Pueblo Board of Water Works.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

The Waldo Canyon fire has spread to one of the most crucial links in Colorado Springs’ far-flung water system, Rampart Reservoir. The fire destroyed power lines leading to the reservoir overnight Monday, forcing backup generators to kick on, and the flames were three-quarters of a mile away early Tuesday.

Drought news: NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin #CODrought

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There wasn’t much good news during yesterday’s webinar. The onset of the North American Monsoon for a couple of days was about it. Click on the thumbnail for the precipitation summary along with a map showing water year to date snowpack for the Upper Colorado River region. Click here for the summaries from the webinar from the Colorado Climate Center.