Colorado River Basin: ‘We face tough, complicated issues’ — Jim Lochhead/David Nickum #ColoradoRiver


Here’s a guest commentary written by Jim Lochhead and David Nickum that ran in The Denver Post over the weekend. Here’s an excerpt:

Conservation groups and water utilities don’t always see eye-to-eye on every water resource issue.

A case in point: Trout Unlimited and Denver Water have yet to agree on what constitutes an adequate package of protections for the Fraser River, a Colorado River tributary and stellar trout fishery that is also an important source of water for metro Denver. We’re trying to find a package of protections that keeps the river healthy while ensuring that Denver Water’s need for system reliability are met through the Moffat Firming Project.

We face tough, complicated issues. What we agree on, though, is the need to preserve the long-term health of the Fraser and Colorado Rivers, and the value of working toward collaborative solutions…

Together, our goal is a more sustainable future for Colorado. The fact is, for Colorado to prosper, the Colorado River needs to serve multiple needs and interests, from Front Range businesses to Western Slope agriculture and recreation — and do it in a future challenged by growing demands on a limited water supply.

Another truth: The only way to meet our future needs is through smart water planning and cooperation…

As Coloradans, we all have a stake in the Colorado River’s future, and while we can’t control shortages of water, we can make sure that there is no shortage of people willing to work together, listen to each other, and take innovative action to protect the health of our state’s namesake river.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Gunnison River Basin: The June Watershed News from the Coal Creek Watershed Coalition is hot off the press


Click here to read the news.

More Gunnison River Basin coverage here and here.

Fort Collins’ May was 3rd snowiest on record #COdrought


From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Typical snowfall for May piles up to 0.7 inches. The total snowfall for this May was 12.9 inches — 12.2 inches more than normal, making May 2013 the third snowiest May in 125 years of recordkeeping here…The city received 2.83 inches of wet precipitation in May, including all the water in the rain and snow that fell here. That moisture was 117 percent of normal. That moisture is above normal, but it’s not extraordinary. Last month was the 48th wettest May on record.

Denver Water is rehabilitating Ashland Reservoir


Here’s the release from Denver Water:

Denver Water plans to improve the safety and reliability of its Ashland Reservoir site by building two new underground water storage tanks. The design for the site is being developed and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2013. Neighbors will notice more activity at the site as Denver Water staff members and contractors visit the site as part of the design process.

Western Summit has been hired by Denver Water as the construction manager for the project. As part of a phased project, Western Summit will demolish one of the two existing tanks and build a new tank in its place. Once that tank is in service, the second tank will be demolished and another tank built in its place. The two tanks cannot be demolished at the same time because the water stored at the site is needed for customers and for fire protection. The entire project is scheduled to run through 2017. The contractor for the project will be required to follow work hours, as set forth by the City of Wheat Ridge.

Large portions of the berms on the west and east sides of the site will be kept in place to reduce noise from demolition and construction. Part of the south berm will be removed initially for access to the site off of 29th Avenue. Additional sections of the south berm may be removed for use as a storage area for the project.

Soil removed from the Ashland site will be hauled to 20th and Quail Street for storage.

Once completed, the site will appear different from the existing site. The new tanks will be circular and smaller than they are now. The new tanks will have a smaller footprint, which will create a larger landscaped area on the south side of the property. The existing chain link fence will be removed and will be replaced by a black, 8-foot-high ornamental steel fence.

History of the site

The Ashland site date back to the 1890s. At that time, open air reservoirs with earthen bottoms were located at the site.

In the 1910s and early 1920s, concrete floors and wood roofs were added to the reservoirs.

In the mid 1960s and early 1970s, the wood roof was replaced with a precast concrete roofing system.

Despite routine maintenance and significant repairs, the existing tanks have experienced leaks, and some of the precast roof sections have cracked. The tanks at this site have reached beyond the end of their useful life and continued repair to the existing structure is impractical.

Additionally, as improvements have been made to Denver Water’s delivery system, it has been determined the existing 41 million gallons of storage at the site can be reduced to 20 million gallons.

When Ashland was constructed, it was one of a handful of storage sites for treated water. Denver Water now has many treated water storage tanks in its delivery system.

From The Denver Post (Emilie Rusch):

The Ashland Reservoir in Wheat Ridge is getting a $37 million upgrade over the next three years. Contractors for Denver Water began demolition earlier this month of the reservoir’s west underground storage tank. Once a new west tank is back in service, the east tank also will be torn out and replaced.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Conservation: Catch Cups – Water Smart Tips – 5 from the Douglas County Water Resource Authority

From email from the Douglas County Water Resource Authority:

Memorial Day usually announces the beginning of our summer season, and with all of this spring’s rain and snow, your lawn may be greening up nicely. This may be a good time to measure how much water your sprinkler system is actually putting on your grass. Use “catch cups” to find out how much water your sprinkler system is putting on your yard. If you’re not sure exactly how to do that, here’s the link to the two-minute “how-to” video: “It’s so easy, a kid can do it!”

For more Water Smart Tips on outdoor watering practices, please see

Douglas County Water Resource Authority – Serious Conservation, Serious Results

More conservation coverage here.