Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation Reports available for public review

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Here’s the release from the US Army Corps of Engineers (Gynn Jarrett):

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prepared a Final Feasibility Study / Environmental Impact Statement for the Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation, Littleton, Colo.

The final report identifies and compares four main alternatives and outlines in detail the preferred alternative for reallocating storage space in the Chatfield Reservoir for joint flood control- conservation purposes, including storage for municipal and industrial water supply, agriculture, environmental restoration and recreation and fishery habitat protection and enhancement. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires the Corps to assess and report the socio-economic and environmental effects of reallocating storage for these purposes.

“Extensive coordination with Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the project sponsor, and water providers occurred throughout this project to complete the final report. Representatives from federal, state, local governments and nongovernmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Audubon Society as well as members of the public provided substantial input into the development of this project and provided comments on the draft report. This input was taken into consideration to prepare the final document,” said Gwyn Jarrett, project manager.

The public is encouraged to review the final report and environmental impact statement during the open comment period from Aug. 2, 2013 to Sep. 1, 2013.
BACKGROUND: Population growth within the Denver, Colo., metropolitan area continues to create a demand on water providers. Colorado’s population is projected to be between 8.6 and 10.3 million in 2050. The Statewide Water Supply Initiative, commissioned by the State Legislature, estimates that by 2050, Colorado will need between 600,000 and 1 million acre-feet/year of additional municipal and industrial water. There is also a strong need for additional water supplies for the agricultural community in the South Platte Basin as thousands of acres of previously irrigated land has not been farmed in recent years due to widespread irrigation well curtailments.

The purpose and need of the Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation Study is to increase availability of water, sustainable over the 50-year period of analysis, in the greater Denver area so that a larger proportion of existing and future (increasing) water needs can be met.

The final Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation Feasibility Study Report and Environmental Impact Statement is available for viewing at: http://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16021coll7/id/10 and in hardcopy at the following locations:

  • Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129, (303) 647-6642
  • Colorado Water Conservation Board, 1313 Sherman Street, Room 721, Denver, CO 80203, (303) 866-3441
  • Columbine Library, 7706 West Bowles Avenue, Littleton, CO 80123, (303) 235-5275
  • ‎Lincoln Park Library, 919 7th Street, Suite 100, Greeley, CO 80631, (970) 546-8460
  • Aurora Public Library, 14949 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO 80012, (303) 739-6600
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tri-Lakes Project Office, 9307 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80128
  • Written comments should be sent to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District; CENWO-PM-AA; ATTN: Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation FR/EIS; 1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments can also be emailed to: chatfieldstudy@usace.army.mil.

    Comments must be postmarked or received no later than Sep. 1, 2013.

    More Chatfield Reservoir coverage here and here.

    Colorado River Basin: Will the 2007 Shortage Sharing Agreement kick in next year? #ColoradoRiver

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    From MSN News (Bob Berwyn):

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will release a 24-month projection for Lake Powell storage levels in early August. Those numbers will help determine whether cutbacks kick in, but some water managers in the basin are already preparing for the worst…

    The last two years rank among the driest on record in the Colorado River Basin. Flows into Lake Powell, which is on the border of Arizona and Utah, have only been about one-third of average…

    Even with a return to average precipitation and river flows, water levels in Lake Powell could affect power generation over the next few years, leading to higher electricity prices, according to Eric Kuhn, director of the Colorado River Water Conservation District…

    The cuts are mandated by a 2007 agreement that anticipated water shortages in the Colorado River.

    “The bottom line is, the 2007 guidelines were major progress — people could agree on reservoir levels where things are out of the normal, and we’ve hit that,” Kuhn told MSN News. With the overall climate picture shading toward drier conditions, water managers need to be very cautious in planning for the next few years and beyond, he added.

    In a July 1 memo that outlines what the looming shortages could mean for the region, Kuhn wrote that several more dry years would lead to even greater cuts in water deliveries to the arid Southwest. He said there also would be huge impacts to hydropower generation at the Hoover Dam, on the border of Arizona and Nevada.

    More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

    Statewide water plan: ‘…no one is wise enough to say what we’ll need 40 years from now’ — Mike King

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    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Just as a river serves many uses, state water planners see an opportunity to meet many needs with a state water plan. “Everything is on the table,” said Mike King, Colorado Department of Natural Resources executive director. “There are no thumbs-up or thumbsdown, and no one is wise enough to say what we’ll need 40 years from now.”

    That means agricultural needs, projects to bring water into the state, environmental protection and quality of life issues will be given equal weight with the elephant in the room: municipal water supply.

    The governor’s order, signed in May, seeks to prevent sacrificing agriculture and the environment to fill the needs of growing cities. “We’re trying to develop a unified vision for Colorado,” King said. “Talking about water on a statewide basis has been a quagmire.”

    King, along with Alan Hamel, chairman of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and CWCB Director James Eklund met with The Pueblo Chieftain editorial board Thursday to discuss the upcoming water plan.

    King said a task force on the Flaming Gorge project failed to weigh in on the benefits or harm the project might cause because it lacked any clear direction from the governor or any other political leaders. While the current direction is calling for more conservation, sharing water resources and getting current projects built, the new plan will map how new storage can be built and how agriculture can be preserved, King said. There could even be guidelines to use in looking at bringing in more water from the Colorado River, he added. “I think the plan even will look at new supply and the need to preserve the ag economy,” Hamel added. “I’m excited about the opportunity we have today.”

    Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered the CWCB and other state agencies to develop the plan by late 2014. It would be Colorado’s first comprehensive blueprint developed by the people in the state. Eklund said it would build on the basin roundtable and Interbasin Compact Committee process started in 2005 to get grass-roots consensus about what is needed. The CWCB will take a more active role in developing water leasing pilot projects under HB1248, which was passed this year, Eklund added.

    There is a sense of urgency. “If we can’t do this now, we might as well quit talking about it and let water Darwinism take its course,” King said.

    More Statewide Water Plan coverage here.