The Brighton City Council green lights new Metro Wastewater treatment plant


From the Brighton Standard Blade (Crystal Nelson):

City Council voted unanimously Nov. 13 during a special meeting to approve on first reading a final plat and development agreement, as well as a condition of use agreement for the property. The final plat will create one large platted lot from the six existing non-platted parcels for the purpose of building the regional treatment facility on the 83-acre piece of property, located at the corner of US-85 and Weld County Road 2, according to Senior Planner Jason Bradford. He said it also includes additional right-of-way dedication for Baseline Road, a 22-foot-wide trail easement along the western and southern edges of the property, an easement for a city drainage channel in the southwest corner of the property and other easements for water meters, storm water and public infrastructure on the property…

A wastewater treatment plant is needed to support communities in the northern metropolitan region because existing facilities will soon reach capacity, according to the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District website. The Northern Treatment Plant will provide wastewater treatment for all or portions of the cities of Aurora, Brighton, Thornton, Denver and the South Adams County Water and Sanitation District.

“Construction will begin in December of this year. You probably won’t see too much activity this year,” said Northern Treatment Plant Project Delivery Manager Bill Brennan, adding the board will award a contract for construction in a week and that the plant is expected to become operational in 2016. According to Brennan, earthwork will take place from January through June, a berm will be constructed around Highway 85 in the spring, the administration building/visitors center will be constructed between July of 2013 and August of 2014, sidewalk and landscaping will be installed during 2015 and the facility is expected to open around June of 2016.

More wastewater coverage here.

‘The Poudre Runs Through It’ report is hot off the press


From email from the Colorado Water Institute (Reagan Waskom/Mary Lou Smith):

Thanks again for participating last year in our successful look at the Poudre River and Northern Colorado’s water future. At the end of the series we promised to send you the final report from the public deliberation sessions that closed out the series. Well, here it is!

[Click here] to read the report, written by Martin Carcasson and Leah Sprain, CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation, who facilitated the public deliberation sessions.

More than 350 of you participated in The Poudre Runs Through It: Northern Colorado’s Water Future. Some attended all the sessions, including the educational programs and the public deliberation events.

At the close of the series we asked those in attendance to evaluate the series. Overwhelmingly, you rated it “very helpful” and said it provided unbiased coverage of the issues. Though last year’s participants have different opinions about topics such as water storage, conservation, agricultural water use, and growth, virtually all expressed interest in the health of the Poudre River.

Almost everyone said the series was a good start but that the community needs more information about our water challenges. We heard you, and we are today launching a central website as one way to meet this need—bringing together the myriad resources and activities related to the Poudre River.

Click this link to access the website: Take a look, and then let us know what you would like for us to add to it. With your help we can keep it a dynamic resource for years to come.

And that’s not all. We have followed up the 2011 series with a Poudre Runs Through It Study/Action Work Group that will be meeting monthly through May, 2013. This work group is made up of 25 community leaders in agricultural, municipal, environmental, industrial, business, development, and recreational sectors. We are learning together about all aspects of the river and strategizing ways we can work together to “make the Poudre River the world’s best example of a ‘working river’—one that provides economic and social benefits by respecting private property rights—that’s also a healthy river.”

We envision convening a public session on the banks of the Poudre early in June where we will relate what the Study/Action Work Group accomplished and discuss their recommendations for moving forward. This will be the community’s opportunity to learn more about the Poudre and how we promote cooperation and leverage resources to respect and improve our crown jewel.

Stay tuned to the website for progress of the Study/Action Work Group and to find out about the June “roll out” on the banks of the Poudre! And share this email and the website link with others, please.

More Cache la Poudre Watershed coverage here.

Eagle: The town board is moving on adding more water treatment capacity


From the Vail Daily (Pam Boyd):

As Eagle stands poised to grow with the new Eagle River Station and Haymeadow developments, the community now needs additional water-treatment capacity to meet potential demand. Tuesday night, the Eagle Town Board began to answer that demand by approving a special-use permit for a new lower basin water-treatment plant. The new plant will be built immediately east — or upstream — from the town’s wastewater-treatment plant located near the confluence of Brush Creek and the Eagle River. Preliminary estimates indicate it will cost around $16 million. The new plant will have an initial capacity of 2.5 million gallons per day and is designed for expansion of up to 5 million gallons per day. It will include two buildings — one covering 32,300 square feet and one covering 1,452 square feet…

During discussion of the plant proposal, Town Board member Joe Knabel asked about scheduling — specifically, the length of the planning period to get the facility up and operational. Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosoirowski said in all likelihood, the plant is on at least a 30-month schedule to address permitting, financing and 20 months of construction.

Eagle Public Works Director Dusty Walls said that at present, during the summer, Eagle hits the 80 percent capacity mark for its water system, and that’s the point when the state wants towns to begin work on new treatment facilities. Mayor Yuri Kostick said that during the summer, town residents can use as much as 2.3 million gallons of water per day, but during the winter, the number is closer to 500,000.

More Eagle River Watershed coverage here and here.

Snowpack news: Jackson Gulch Reservoir at lowest level since 1996 #CODrought


From The Dolores Star:

Many are saying that this year is close to what happened in 2002, just 10 years ago. The amount of water that is received in this area is wholly dependent on the weather, said Mancos Water Conservancy District superintendent Gay Kennedy. Kennedy said this year’s dry conditions are due to the mild winter last year and little amount of moisture this last spring. This has caused the rivers, lakes and reservoirs in the area to be at a low level, the likes of which have not been seen for a while. Jackson Gulch reservoir hasn’t been this low since 1996 said Kennedy.

From The Fairplay Flume (Mike Potter):

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a warmer- and drier-than-average winter for 2012-2013 after the El Niño weather pattern didn’t develop as predicted. When El Niño is present, warm water in the Pacific Ocean causes a shift in tropical weather patterns, which in turn affects the jet stream over the United States. El Niño occurs when an area of warm water develops in the Pacific Ocean roughly every five years west of northern South America. Because it didn’t develop like it was expected to, NOAA’s National Weather Service modified its original weather judgment…

Bernie Meier, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Boulder, said the recent weather activity has many people only guessing on what the winter will bring in precipitation. He said the national models show the chance that temperatures are going to be higher than normal, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. He said some recent models show an average winter in Colorado. “It’s not trending really dry or really wet,” he said. “My best guess would be middle of the road.”

From the Summit Daily News (Paige Blankenbuehler) via The Denver Post:

Local ski areas are beginning to see the implications of a drought year as Arapahoe Basin focuses on conservation in snowmaking efforts…The ski area diverts small amounts of water from the reservoir around the clock for snowmaking operations. Snowmaking crews blow snow 10 hours per day. Snowmaking operations are permitted by water rights, but the ski area is required to maintain a minimum bypass flow to ensure stream health.

Pagosa Springs: Fishery improvement project to take place over the next few weeks


From the Pagosa Springs Sun:

The Town of Pagosa Springs would like to make residents and businesses at the east end of town aware of increased, construction-related traffic in the vicinity of the River Center.

Over the next several weeks, construction and hauling crews will be working behind the River Center performing various tasks associated with the town’s “Fishing is Fun” fish habitat and angler access project along the San Juan River corridor.

Work will include hauling dredged silt from the fishing ponds via dump truck to the sanitation lagoons on South 5th Street. Work will also include hauling river habitat enhancements (root wads, boulders, etc.) to the River Center

Construction activities will begin this week and continue intermittently until approximately mid-December. Work will be performed during the daytime work hours of 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Weekend work may be performed periodically, when necessary.

More San Juan River Basin coverage here.

Tuesday: U.S. and Mexico to sign agreement to allow storage of some of Mexico’s water, pilot program for Delta restoration #CORiver


From the Associated Press (Kevin Ritter) via The Durango Herald:

Government officials from the United States and Mexico have set a Tuesday date in San Diego to sign a landmark agreement to share Colorado River water during times of drought and surplus. A time and place for the announcement weren’t immediately made public. But International Boundary and Water Commission official Gustavo Ramirez on Friday confirmed the day and place. The commission’s U.S. section secretary, Sally Spener, said this week from El Paso, Texas, that there were still a number of reviews and approvals needed north and south of the border before the addendum to a 1944 U.S.-Mexico water treaty is signed.

On Thursday, the Southern Nevada Water Authority and Colorado River Commission of Nevada unanimously approved the pact, authority spokesman Scott Huntley said. The two entities, along with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Central Arizona Project, are among the largest of the 15 agencies and state officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming whose approvals are needed, along with representatives of Mexico and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission unanimously approved the agreement Wednesday…

The agreement calls for letting Mexico store water in Lake Mead, and for a pilot program of water releases from the U.S. to replenish wetlands in the Colorado River delta south of the border. The water agencies in California, Arizona and Nevada would each buy water from Mexico over three years, and the agreement also clears the way for U.S. entities to invest in infrastructure improvements in Mexico in return for a share of the water such projects would save.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.