Phase II of the water needs assessment study for the Yampa/White and Colorado basin roundtables is hot off the press



From the Grand Junction Free Press (Sharon Sullivan):

The study, “Energy Development Water Needs Assessment Phase II — Final Report,” was produced for the Colorado River and Yampa/White River Basin Roundtables by an engineering consulting firm, AMEC Earth & Environmental…

Grand Junction Utility and Streets manager Greg Trainor represented Mesa County municipalities on the Colorado River Basin Roundtable. He met with interested citizens Thursday, July 12, in the Mesa County government building, 544 Rood Ave. to discuss its study regarding future Western Slope water needs.

“Assuming that the state will double in population by 2050, municipalities will be looking for water,” Trainor said. “We need to get a handle on water estimates for energy development.”

Phase one of the report looked at water uses of all conventional energy sectors — oil shale, natural gas, coal and uranium. Much of the information for the report was collected from the Bureau of Land Management, and oil and gas companies.

“In phase one, we did not get as much cooperation from (the) industry as we wanted — particularly concerning oil shale development,” Trainor said.

The initial phase of the report found oil shale would require 400,000 acre feet of water per year to support a long-term, high-production scenario that would produce a million-and-a-half barrels of oil shale a day by 2070. That amount of water was based on a Dutch Shell plan that required electrical generation (construction of 12 power plants) to fuel its energy production.

Such an operation would be huge; it would require the construction of power lines, pipelines, roads, additional housing and railroads, resulting in an unrecognizable Western Slope, Trainor said…

The report identified three water projects in the White River Basin that could meet an annual energy industry demand of 110,000 acre feet of water. Most years, the Colorado River could meet an additional demand of 10,000 acre feet.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

Grand Junction: CSU Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Host Free Water Education Webinar Series


Here’s the release from Colorado State Universilty (Jennifer Dimas):

Colorado’s unique situation as a headwaters state provides the backdrop for diverse issues and concerns related to a most precious resource: water.

Colorado State University Extension, in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, is hosting a Water Education Webinar Series to help landowners understand these contentious issues and provide ideas and recommendations to help ensure water security. The four-part, online series will highlight water conservation practices that don’t compromise crop production or livestock health.

The water situation in Colorado is rapidly changing, and understanding how to adaptively manage this finite resource will ensure this water is available for everyone’s use in the future.

In these free online webinars, offered from noon to 1 p.m., participants will learn:

• the Colorado Doctrine and tips to ensure the protection of your water rights, July 27;
• Colorado climate and drought trends now and in the future, Aug. 2;
• water administration, urban versus agricultural use, water quality implications, Aug. 15; and
• waterwise landscape solutions and recommended plant materials for use, Aug. 23.

Although these webinars are especially designed for small acreage landowners, anyone who owns or manages rural land will learn useful tips on how to manage water resources.

Presenters include Nolan Doesken, CSU state climatologist; Denis Reich, CSU Extension water specialist for the Western Region; Robert Cox, horticulture Extension agent; and Aaron Clay, former water referee for the Colorado Water Court.

The webinars are broadcast live and participants can interact with and ask experts questions during the presentation. To sign up for any and all of the webinars, visit The session also will be recorded and viewable through this web link after the webinar.

Thanks to The Fort Morgan Times for the heads-up.

More education coverage here.

Estes Park: Lawn Lake Dam failure remembered


From the Estes Park Trail Gazette (John Cordsen) via the Loveland Reporter-Herald:

The flood was first reported a little after 6 a.m. by former town trustee Stephen Gillette, who was a driver for A-1 Trash Service at the time.

He was making a pickup at the Lawn Lake trailhead and “heard a roar and saw debris in the air,” he said in an interview following the flood in 1982. “It was like a jet had crashed into the mountain.”

Millions of gallons of water rushed down Roaring River, creating the alluvial fan that is still visible today. The water merged with Fall River in Horseshoe Park and collapsed the Cascade Dam before joining the Big Thompson River and dumping into Lake Estes. The water hit the west edge of Estes Park around 8:12 a.m.

Flood waters destroyed 18 bridges, damaged road systems (particularly Fall River Road), inundated 177 businesses (75 percent of Estes Park’s commercial activity) and damaged 108 residences. Most businesses reported 3 to 4 feet of water, and as much as 2 feet of mud, in their establishments.

More South Platte River basin coverage here and here.