National Ground Water Association: New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman to speak at the 2013 NGWA Summit

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From the National Ground Water Association:

Charles Fishman has been named the keynote speaker for the 2013 NGWA Summit — The National and International Conference on Groundwater taking place April 28-May 2, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.

Fishman, an award-winning reporter who has spent the last several years trying to understand water issues around the world, is the New York Times bestselling author of the book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. Focusing on society’s relationship with water, his message is cautionary, but optimistic — there is still no reason for a global water crisis as there is more than enough water…it just has to be used smartly.

Since The Big Thirst was published, Fishman has spoken about water issues at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. State Department. He also recently penned a thought-provoking op-ed article on the current drought encompassing much of the United States.

To learn more about the 2013 NGWA Summit — The National and International Conference on Groundwater, visit www.GroundwaterSummit.org or call 800 551.7379 (614 898.7791).

Alamosa: Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust ‘2nd Annual Headwaters Hoedown’ September 16

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Here’s the webpage with all the inside skinny:

2nd Annual Headwaters Hoedown!

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
1:00pm to 6:00pm
Gilmore Ranch, Alamosa (Directions)

For tickets, sign up to support RiGHT as an annual Conservation Partner – click here. Your donation includes a ticket to this year’s Headwaters Hoedown!
Kids 12 & under free with adults

Join RiGHT for the biggest conservation celebration of the year! Come enjoy delicious local food, fine wine & beer, ranch tours, a fabulous silent auction, and dance to live music by local favorites Don Richmond & The Rifters and Sweet Radish.

We will also gather to honor the landowners who protected their land with RiGHT last year and recognize Paul Robertson of The Nature Conservancy for his outstanding contributions to conservation in the San Luis Valley.

More Rio Grande River Basin coverage here and here.

Drought news: ‘The 90 by 20 campaign believes it is time to focus on affordable solutions’ — Drew Beckwith

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From the Summit Daily News (Paige Blankenbuehler):

The 90 by 20 campaign, which launched in early August, is asking communities in Colorado to commit to achieving residential water usage rates of 90 gallons per capita per day by 2020. Focused on limiting residential use of water by asking utility customers to work with their residential customers, campaign organizers are striving over the next eight years to achieve average usage rates of 90 gallons per person per day. The usage includes the water to wash, cook and clean and irrigating landscapes. If utility companies across Colorado meet the benchmark, the region would save over 1 million acre-feet of water per year — enough to supply Denver for three years…

“The 90 by 20 campaign believes it is time to focus on affordable solutions that everyone can achieve,” said Drew Beckwith of Water Resource Advocates. “If we’re going to restore balance in the region’s water resources, everyone needs to work together and reach for a common goal.”

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project 50th anniversary: Ruedi Reservoir created for compensatory water storage for the Western Slope

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Here’s an in-depth look at the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project from Scott Condon writing for The Aspen Times. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

The Fry-Ark water diversion plan was hatched shortly after World War II ended, when the cities and counties of Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley started looking for water to fuel growth aspirations. The initial plan was to divert 357,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Gunnison River and other tributaries of the Colorado River to the Arkansas Valley, according to the website of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

The proposal sparked a political battle in the 1950s between Western Slope residents who didn’t want “their” water taken and Arkansas Valley resident who saw the water as the key to their future. [Mark Fuller, executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority] said residents of the West Slope of Colorado had an ingrained “mistrust” of the Front Range, which had more people, more money and more power…

The Roaring Fork River basin’s loss is the Arkansas Valley’s gain. Reclamation bureau spokeswoman Kara Lamb said Fry-Ark water irrigates 265,000 acres of some of the most productive farm land in Colorado. “This is Rocky Ford cantaloupes and the onions that the Arkansas Valley is so famous for,” she said.

In addition, 720,000 residents of the southeastern part of the state receive supplementary water from the project. They live from Salida in the west to Lamar in the east, and from Colorado Springs down to Pueblo…

The Fry-Ark system diverts an annual average of 54,000 acre feet. To put that amount in perspective, it’s a little more than half the total held by Ruedi Reservoir when full. Last year, when the snow kept piling up late into the spring, the system diverted its second highest amount of water ever at about 98,000 acre feet. This year, during the drought, it diverted only 14,000 acre feet…

Ruedi Reservoir — which now dominates the Fryingpan Valley’s identity — wasn’t in the initial plans for the diversion system. “It was a political solution,” Lamb said. The reservoir was created for compensatory water storage for the Western Slope. To a layman, the legal purpose of Ruedi is essentially a way for water attorneys to make the books balance. In a practical sense, the reservoir has created one of the biggest recreational draws in the Aspen area…

Aspen residents get a direct benefit from the Ruedi dam. The hydro-electric plant owned and operated by the city of Aspen produces 20 to 25 million kilowatt hours of power per year. That is the equivalent of 35 to 40 percent of Aspen’s annual demand, according to Fuller.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here and here.

Chatfield Reallocation Project: Reservoir expansion = Smart bottom-up, community-wide public policy?

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Here’s a guest column in support of the Chatfield Reallocation Project written by Randy Knutson and Rick McLoud running in The Denver Post. Here’s an excerpt:

Chatfield is a common-sense solution that will help bring locally grown produce to Colorado citizens, provide greater sustainability for domestic water supplies, and stabilize South Platte stream flows through the metro area.

Expanding the reservoir is an example of smart bottom-up, community-wide public policy. It is indeed rare that the suburbs, agricultural interests and the environmental community agree on anything, let alone a water project. Chatfield is that model. For over six years, stakeholders from all of these groups and more have been talking with the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a transparent and open process. Supporters and opponents have been involved in these meetings since the beginning. And in June 2012, the corps conducted three packed public hearings, from Gilcrest to the Dakota Hogback, where citizens shared their views of the project.

That’s why groups as diverse as Trout Unlimited, The Sierra Club, The Greenway Foundation and Western Resource Advocates have joined the members of our bipartisan Colorado congressional delegation to back this project in support of farmers, families and the environment.

Click here to view a letter of support from the Gunnison Basin Roundtable.

The Greeley Tribune editorial board has come out in favor of the project as well. They write:

Water storage projects are never easy. Public support can be splintered; permitting can take years; environmental concerns frequently surface; they are expensive. You’ll never hear anyone say that a water storage proposal is a slam dunk. But from where we sit, the proposed expansion of Chatfield Reservoir southwest of Littleton is at least an uncontested lay-up, and we’re hoping the project wins quick approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More Chatfield Reservoir coverage here and here.