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.

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