The Colorado Water Congress’ latest newsletter is hot off the presses

David Robbins and  J.C. Ulrich (Greg Hobbs) at the 2013 Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention
David Robbins and J.C. Ulrich (Greg Hobbs) at the 2013 Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Join us for the 2014 Annual Convention, Jan. 29-31 at the Hyatt Regency DTC in Denver, Colorado. The annual convention is the premier water industry event in the state, attracting 500+ attendees that convene for networking and collaboration on the important water issues in Colorado.

Early registration is now open and offers members a discounted rate for registering before Dec. 31. There are many sponsorship opportunities available and many exhibit spaces to choose from.

As an added bonus to this year’s Convention, CSU will host its annual Water Tables event the evening of January 30.

‘Simon Rifkind’s great mistake and the shortfall on the #ColoradoRiver’ — John Fleck

Colorado River Aqueduct via Wikipedia
Colorado River Aqueduct via Wikipedia

Here’s an in-depth look at Special Master Simon Rifkind’s decision about Colorado River streamflow back in the early 1960s from John Fleck posted on instain. Click through and read the whole post for all the gory detail. Here’s an excerpt:

In 1960, U.S. Supreme Court Special Master Simon Rifkind made a fundamental mistake in calculating how much water was then available in the Colorado River Basin, and how much might be available in the future. The court, in its ruling in the case of Arizona v. California, accepted Rifkind’s math. The consequence is a shortage on the Colorado River relative to the expectations of the nine states (seven in the U.S., two in Mexico) that share it.

But it also was a fundamental mistake for the water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin to not recognize the flaw in Rifkind’s math and act accordingly. That second mistake, more than Rifkind’s, is the cause of our current troubles…

So right off the bat, according to [Lawrence MacDonnell’s] analysis, you’ve got what a “losing reach” between Lee Ferry and the users of Nevada, Arizona and California. That whole 7.5 million acre feet will not be available for the downstream users. But it gets worse. You’ve also got to add in water needed to meet the 1.5 million acre foot U.S. obligation to Mexico. Once all the puts and takes are added in (I encourage you to read MacDonnell’s paper (pdf), pp 395-396 for the full details).

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Pueblo Board of Water Works: 3% water rate hike likely, budget public hearing Tuesday

Pueblo photo via
Pueblo photo via

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Pueblo Board of Water Works will have a public hearing on its 2014 budget at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Alan C. Hamel Administration Building, 319 W. Fourth St. The board is expected to approve a $34 million budget that will mean a 3 percent rate increase for Pueblo water users. The average monthly residential bill will increase about $1 per month, or $3 per month during summer months if yard watering is factored.

The budget includes $100,000 for the CARES program, administered by Catholic Charities, that provides emergency funding for families. Last year, the program helped about 900 families.

About $23 million in revenue, or 70 percent, comes from metered accounts, while water leases contribute $8.22 million, or 25 percent.

Personnel services account for 41 percent of expenditures, while operation and maintenance costs make up 30 percent. Capital expenses amount to 17 percent, and fund transfers 12 percent.

Among the largest expenditures are $4.8 million for debt service, largely for the 2009 purchase of Bessemer Ditch shares, and $3.37 million for utilities, mainly electricity purchases from Black Hills Energy.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.

Gov. Hickenlooper to announce proposed first-of-its-kind air regulation rules for oil and gas drilling today

Directional drilling from one well site via the National Forest Service
Directional drilling from one well site via the National Forest Service

From email from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

Gov. John Hickenlooper will be joined Monday by environmental groups and energy companies to announce proposed rules that would make Colorado the first state to directly regulate detection and reduction of methane emissions associated with oil and gas drilling. The rules would also further Colorado’s efforts as a national leader in environmental-friendly energy production.

WHEN: 1 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
WHERE: West Foyer, state Capitol, Denver

The comprehensive set of rules were crafted after an extensive process in which the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sought input from diverse stakeholders across Colorado.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

‘The house was fine, but everything around it was washed away’ — Kevin Grady #COflood

St. Vrain River floodplain November 2013 via the Longmont Times-Call
St. Vrain River floodplain November 2013 via the Longmont Times-Call

From the Boulder Daily Camera (Amy Bounds) via the Longmont Times-Call:

“The house was fine, but everything around it was washed away,” [Kevin Grady] said as he looked over a creek bed that once was Geer Canyon Road — the road used to access the trailhead. “It was insane.”

Geer Creek, he added, is typically “dry as a bone” by this time in November, but it’s still running thanks to the over saturated ground. One of the road’s two culverts also now is in the middle of the creek, while the other was washed far downstream. Multiple areas were either scoured out by the raging water or filled up with rocks swept downstream.

Grady spoke to open space advisory board members and area residents who took a tour today of some of the county properties damaged by September’s floods that haven’t been reopened to the public. The tour, led by county Parks and Open Space Department director Ron Stewart, included Heil Valley Ranch, county open space areas east of Lyons along the St. Vrain River and Pella Crossing…

Stewart said the flooding caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage to Boulder County open space trails, restrooms, kiosks and parking lot. But, he said, the overall estimate to repair damage on Boulder County open space land is $50 million, with the most extensive damage at lakes and ponds — particularly reservoirs along or near the St. Vrain River corridor. On county open space along the St. Vrain River, one side of the river near the Cemex plant is largely untouched with a thicket of bushes and trees that form a riparian area. The other side looks like a beach, with a layer of sand and only a single bush and some stumps left. A dry bed of rocks shows the river’s former path, with a new path nearby that’s about six feet lower and going in a new direction. The roof and upper section of a house, an upended RV, a grill, a ladder and a vacuum cleaner are scattered through the area. The flooding also caused breeches in lakes and ponds in more than dozen areas on county open space, creating big lakes out of individual ponds and wreaking havoc with irrigation ditches…

Stewart said decisions are expected soon on a timeline for repairs and reopening areas to the public. One issue, he said, is funding. The county doesn’t have the money to start all the projects while waiting for federal and state reimbursements for flood-recovery work. Another is the finding the manpower to make repairs, given the extent of the damage.