Northern Integrated Supply Project survey shows 72% support for the project

Northern Integrated Supply Project via The Denver Post
Northern Integrated Supply Project via The Denver Post

Update: Here’s the release from Northern Water about the Ciruli poll showing strong support for NISP in Weld, Larimer and Morgan counties. Here’s an excerpt:

After five years of extended Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) studies, public support for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) remains steady. A survey conducted in July 2013 with 900 voters in Larimer, Weld and Morgan counties shows voter support for the project at 72 percent. The 2013 survey follows a survey conducted in August 2008 with 800 Larimer and Weld county voters that showed NISP had combined county support of 70 percent.

From Northern Water via The Greeley Tribune:

Public support for the Northern Integrated Supply Project remains steady after five years of extended Environmental Impact Statement studies, according to a recent survey. The survey was conducted in July 2013 with 900 voters in Larimer, Weld and Morgan counties, and shows voter support for the project at 72 percent. The 2013 survey follows a survey conducted in August 2008 with 800 Larimer and Weld county voters that showed NISP had combined county support of 70 percent.

The NISP project would build two new reservoirs, along with necessary pump stations and pipelines in Larimer and Weld counties. The project would store runoff from the Poudre River.

A draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is due in 2014.

Ciruli Associates conducted both surveys for the consortium of water providers proposing the Northern Integrated Supply Project.

The latest telephone survey, conducted in July 2013 with 900 registered voters in Larimer (400), Weld (300) and Morgan (200) counties, has a statistical range of accuracy of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for the entire sample.

More coverage from Ryan Maye Handy writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Here’s an excerpt:

The recently completed survey is the second the company has commissioned since 2008. The first survey was released when the first Environmental Impact Statement — a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers examination of the project’s potential environmental damage — was finished. Although 70 percent of Larimer and Weld county participants in the first survey said they were in favor of the NISP project, outcry at the environmental study’s results convinced the Corps of Engineers to do a supplement study, to be completed in 2014.

The second survey, completed in July, showed participants slightly more in favor of NISP — 72 percent said they support the project, according to Denver-based polling and consulting company Ciruli Associates.

Cirulli, which also did the 2008 survey, called 900 registered voters in Larimer, Weld and Morgan counties and asked them two questions. One asked if residents were basically in favor of the project, while the second asked if the decade spent studying the environmental impacts of the project is sufficient time…

The project still has several hurdles to clear before it can become a reality. Once the new EIS is released, Northern Water must settle legal disputes.

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District is proposing a 2.135 mill property tax increase

Water infrastructure as sidewalk art
Water infrastructure as sidewalk art

From The Aspen Times (Jill Beathard):

Pitkin County residents should receive their mail-in ballots for the Nov. 5 election starting this week. In addition to some statewide measures, Snowmass Village residents will be asked to approve a mill levy of 2.135 mills that would fund the replacement of aging water and sewer infrastructure, much of which is 30 to 50 years old, according to the district.

Emergency repairs are becoming more commonplace and taking away funding from proactive replacement projects. They also cost more than scheduled repairs, said Kit Hamby, director of the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District…

Dave Spence, former president of the water board, said no one wants to see property taxes go up. However, most residents would probably “rather do it and be sure that the pipes are still working” than not have a replacement program, he said. Spence joined the board after pipes running to his building broke during the holiday season many years ago…

The only naysayers of district projects in the past were members of the Snowmass Capitol Creek Caucus, Spence said. Most of those individuals are supportive of measure 5A because it will conserve more of the precious water that the district diverts from Snowmass Creek.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Fountain Creek: CH2M’s stormwater assessment ready

Colorado Springs circa 1910 via
Colorado Springs circa 1910 via

From the Colorado Springs Business Journal (Rebecca Tonn):

Earlier this year, the Regional Storm Water Task Force presented details of the area’s stormwater mitigation needs.

On Oct. 9, engineering firm CH2M Hill released its comprehensive City of Colorado Springs Stormwater Needs Assessment to Mayor Steve Bach and City Council. CH2M Hill was contracted by the city to give a third-party overview on the scope and depth of the task force’s stormwater assessment. The city released the report Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The full report can be viewed online at the city’s website.

More stormwater coverage here.

WRA report — Conservation Synergy: The Case for Integrating Water and Energy Efficiency Programs


Click here to download the report. Click here for the executive summary. Here’s an excerpt:

The nexus between water and energy has been understood for several years, yet only a handful of utilities have fully capitalized on this knowledge by combining their efficiency programs.

There are many inter-connections between water, electricity, and natural gas: Significant amounts of water are used for cooling during electricity gen- eration, and significant amounts of electricity and natural gas are used to pump, treat, and heat water for use in homes and businesses. Thus, when one resource is conserved, so is another.

Utilities that have collaborated — a few of which are profiled here — have overwhelmingly found such programs to be a good business decision. The benefits are manifold: higher participation rates, increased customer satisfaction, coordinated and complementary program design, and an improved reputation from working smarter — not harder.

More energy policy coverage here.

EPA: Some plastics contain BPA: chemicals that may affect children’s health. Choose safer plastics.

Can the Weld County commissioners advocate for the 51st State Initiative?

51st State Initiative Map via The Burlington Record
51st State Initiative Map via The Burlington Record

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

A legal concern over Weld County commissioners’ involvement in the 51st state movement was whittled down on Monday to whether passage of the ballot proposal would give commissioners authority they don’t have.

The Weld County Council heard arguments for and against the idea at their regular meeting on Monday, per the request of three Greeley attorneys who originally said they would like council members to review whether commissioners could legally spend time exploring the idea and writing editorials on it. Nearly 100 people attended the meeting at the Weld County administration building in Greeley, and some clapped and groaned during public comment.

The three Greeley men — Robert Ruyle, Stow Witwer and Chuck Dickson — said wording in the ballot proposal means commissioners would be given the unauthorized power to advocate for the 51st state movement and to allocate taxpayer money to explore the creation of a new state.

Weld County Attorney Bruce Barker said a more proper time to debate whether commissioners have that power is to wait to see if the 51st state question passes. Even so, he said, commissioners could legally pass a resolution in support of the 51st state movement and show it to the General Assembly, or they could individually contact state legislators to advocate for the movement.

Ruyle disagreed, saying court precedent requires commissioners to act as a board in those matters, and the board can’t legally pursue the 51st state by advocating for it through state legislators.

The ballot proposal asks Weld voters whether they would like commissioners, “in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, (to) pursue those counties becoming the 51st state of the United States of America.”

Ruyle and Witwer said “pursuing” secession is outside of commissioners’ authority, but it was also outside of their authority to place something on the ballot that would give them that power.

Barker said commissioners wouldn’t have authority to pass a resolution that initiates secession, because the movement must go through the proper channels, including the state Legislature and a statewide ballot measure. But he said the ballot proposal does not initiate secession — it asks voters whether they would like commissioners to spend time and money exploring the 51st state movement. He cited several state court cases to support his argument that commissioners can budget money to investigate the effects of secession, saying they have wide discretion over the county budget.

Weld County Council Chairman Don Mueller said council members would not decide on anything on Monday, but were there to listen to each side’s arguments and “digest” the information. Still, some council members voiced their opinions on the matter.

Jeffrey Hare, a council member who is also a member of the 51st state movement and updates its Facebook page, told Ruyle and Witwer he felt they were “jumping the gun a little bit.”

“That’s your interpretation of what the referendum intends to do,” he said of the attorneys’ arguments.

Originally, Ruyle, Witwer and Dickson said the state Constitution explicitly says only Colorado citizens have the authority to alter or dissolve their government, but the power of commissioners is limited to what is listed in state statute.

Barker said commissioners have so far acted legally because the Colorado statutes cited by the three Greeley attorneys pertain only to official actions, such as resolutions or ordinances. The only official 51st state action commissioners have taken is a resolution referring the 51st state question to the ballot. He said Weld County’s Home Rule Charter gives commissioners a process for putting an initiative or referendum on the ballot with no restrictions.

“The fact of the matter is, they haven’t done anything else,” Barker said.

More 51st State Initiative (North Colorado Secession) coverage here.

The Middle Colorado River Watershed Council scores $25,000 from Garfield County #ColoradoRiver

Colorado River Basin in Colorado via the Colorado Geological Survey
Colorado River Basin in Colorado via the Colorado Geological Survey

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud):

This week, the Garfield County commissioners agreed to grant $25,000 to the Middle Colorado Watershed Council, as long as the coalition meets its matching fund obligations. Commissioners awarded $13,000 immediately, in recognition of funds already obtained by the group. Another $12,000 will be released if the organization is successful in getting new matching funds by Jan. 31, 2014. Requests totaling $13,000 are still pending, Donna Gray, who chairs the group’s leadership committee, said at the Oct. 21 Garfield Board of County Commissioners meeting.

The Council has applied to become an official nonprofit organization. It is also working to line up additional funding support from local governments, the energy industry and others that can work together to protect the water resources in the middle Colorado drainage as it passes through Garfield County. The group was formed in 2009 with funding mainly from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Currently, the organization has just one paid part-time employee, Watershed Council Coordinator Laurie Rink of Carbondale.

Other financial partners to date include Garfield County, the cities of Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the Battlement Mesa Metro District and the Colorado River District.

“This is an area of the river that didn’t have a citizens conservation group established until now,” said Chris Treese, external affairs manager for the River District who works with the group…

The Middle Colorado Watershed Council’s 2014 planning efforts will involve a series of public meetings to identify issues, answer questions and come up with strategies for water quality preservation in the future.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.