The Luka: Hit pause on your shower

Click here to go to the website. Here’s an excerpt:

The Luka is a pause button for your shower for those who want to save water, shower pets indoors, shave legs, brush your teeth in the shower or elderly with limited mobility.

It is designed to suspend the flow of water without changing the temperature of your shower or reducing water pressure, because as we all know, it is either really hot or really cold! The Luka is as easy to use as a retractable pen, the Luka pauses your shower just a push of a button. There is no need to replace the showerhead that you already own because the Luka attaches right behind your existing unit. Simply install the Luka behind your showerhead and enjoy!

More conservation coverage here.

#ColoradoRiver District board meeting recap: ‘We should…table the issue of a big transmountain diversion’ — Eric Kuhn

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

At the October meeting of the Colorado River District Board of Directors, General Manger Eric Kuhn, an IBCC member as a governor’s appointee, reported that “in the last several years, new supply as a concept has evolved into a New Supply project from the Colorado River Basin and in the view of some on the Front Range, a large new transmountain diversion from the Colorado River system.”

The IBCC employs the metaphor of a four‐legged stool to describe the tools to meet the water‐supply gap. New Supply is one leg. The others are moving water from agricultural use to urban use; completion of water supply projects already on the drawing board; and municipal conservation and reuse.

According to Kuhn, going to the Colorado River for a big project will likely result in the reallocation of water now being used on the West Slope in agriculture to the Front Range urban corridor. “The bigger the project, the bigger the trouble and the bigger the reallocation if we get into trouble,” Kuhn said.
Trouble would result from Colorado exceeding its legal ability to deplete the Colorado River under the Colorado River Compact of 1922 and the Upper Colorado River Compact of 1948.
In Kuhn’s report to the Board, he said:

“For the last couple of years, we’ve had an ongoing debate within the IBCC and the IBCC’s New Supply Committee over the approach to take. I’ve suggested an incremental approach where we would move forward on projects on the drawing board or in permitting small, cooperative projects but put off any debate about big new projects until down the road sometime when we’ll have a better understanding of water availability and the negotiations among the seven basin states may lead to different ways of managing future Colorado River shortages.

“We should move forward with projects that we can agree on today and table the issue of a big transmountain diversion but not in a way that makes it more difficult or promotes it. In fact we should leave that issue neutral while we develop more information and develop supply from Identified Projects and Proc‐ esses (IPPs),” Kuhn said during Board discussion. IPPs are projects on the drawing board in the vernacular of the water plan.

Kuhn said that water planners on the Front Range are split with some wanting a big transmountain diversion as soon as possible and others who recognize problems, which include Front Range water users who would be affected by a compact curtailment. Kuhn noted that the water supply gap on the Front Range is not well defined as to where the needs exactly are.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

Say hello to reconstruction Colorado River at Lees Ferry reconstruction Colorado River at Lees Ferry

Click here for the streamflow reconstruction from tree rings for Lees Ferry. Click here for the home page.

US Representative Scott Tipton Testifies on Hermosa Creek Legislation in Senate

Hermosa Park
Hermosa Park

Here’s the release from Representative Tipton’s office:

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), today, testified in support of the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act of 2013 in the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee. Tipton and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) have introduced companion bills in the House (H.R. 1839) and Senate (S.841) to protect the Hermosa Creek Watershed–an area in the San Juan National Forest north of Durango–as well as protect multiple use of the land.

In his testimony, Tipton spoke on the community effort behind the legislation that is endorsed by a broad coalition of stakeholders including: the City of Durango, the La Plata County Commission, the Southwestern Water Conservation District, the San Juan County Commission, Region 9, the Colorado Snowmobilers Association, Jo Grant Mining Company, Inc., in addition to numerous business and sportsmen groups, among others.

More Hermosa Creek watershed coverage here and here.

Proposed oil and gas methane rules: Gov. Hickenlooper makes some headway with the environmental community

Governor Hickenlooper announcing new methane rules -- Associated Press via the Washington Post
Governor Hickenlooper announcing new methane rules — Associated Press via the Washington Post

From The Colorado Statesman (Peter Marcus):

…the governor — who has experienced an increasingly tense relationship with environmentalists, a core base of his Democratic Party — still has a lot of work ahead of him if he’s to win the trust of the environmental world.

Much of the controversy rests with Hickenlooper’s support of hydraulic fracturing. The governor, a former geologist, has unequivocally stated his support for so-called “fracking,” despite five local communities having banned or imposed moratoriums on the drilling process. First, Longmont voters banned fracking last year. Then this year, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Boulder joined with five-year moratoriums. Lafayette passed a ban on new oil and gas activities. The bans passed despite big spending by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Proponents of the bans, a largely grassroots uprising, spent about $27,500 in the four municipal elections, as of the last filings before the election. COGA, however, spent about $883,000 to fight the proposed bans…

Hickenlooper says he is listening. At a news conference on Monday, he said the issue is about striking a balance between the energy needs of the state and the concerns expressed by citizens and communities.

“What we’ve done is work with the environmental community and oil and gas community to try and find compromises and use common sense to say, ‘How can we make sure we get to the cleanest possible outcomes in terms of air quality?’ Yet at the same time recognize that we have businesses here that employ our citizens and are helping solve the energy challenges that we face as a country,” Hickenlooper said, as he proposed new pollution rules for the Air Quality Control Commission to adopt.

The commission met on Thursday when it set a public hearing for February 2014. The tentative date is for a three-day hearing from Feb. 19-21. The commission heard about two hours of public comments from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including industry leaders and environmentalists, as well as concerned citizens, such as mothers worried about the health of their children.

The thrust of the public comments was on whether the commission should set the proposal for a public hearing. Most of the witnesses agreed that even if the draft isn’t perfect, it should move forward so that the process can evolve.

When the commission conducts its public hearings in February, the comments will focus more on the rules themselves after stakeholders have had a chance to thoroughly review the recently released proposal.

Several elected officials testified in support of setting a hearing for the rules, including Democratic Reps. Su Ryden of Aurora, Mike Foote of Lafayette, and Max Tyler of Lakewood, among others…

Former Sen. Dan Grossman, regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund, represented the environmental side of the debate.

“What you see today here is a remarkable coalition of earnest individuals who came together and decided to try and make something work and address air pollution from the oil and gas sector in a meaningful and reasonable way,” explained Grossman.

Conservation Colorado is also “encouraged” by the proposed rules specifically that it includes methane.

“The proposed rule is a strong step forward to capture emissions from oil and gas facilities of harmful air pollutants that hurt all Coloradans,” said Pete Maysmith, executive director of Conservation Colorado.

“Oil and gas development is booming in Colorado and the state must move aggressively to protect our climate, public health and communities,” he added. “Given the devastating impact on Coloradans from climate change and increased ozone pollution, there is no margin for error.”[…]

But not everyone in the environmental and oil and gas worlds is currently on board with the proposals. Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association, pointed out that his organization was not included in the stakeholder meetings and did not see the rules until Monday.

“We’ve expressed our disappointment that it wasn’t a larger, broader stakeholder process,” said Dempsey, who added that his organization is currently speaking with members to decide how to proceed…

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

FEMA asks Weld County to help find locations for temporary mobile homes #COflood

Evans Colorado September 2013 via
Evans Colorado September 2013 via

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

FEMA is calling on the Weld County community to help find places to put temporary mobile homes for flood victims, citing a lack of response so far from local mobile home parks willing to allow the units. The agency is searching for about 24 spaces that could accommodate single-wide mobile units for flood victims for up to 18 months, said John Mills, media relations manager for FEMA. Mills said that number could fluctuate up or down but is based on the number of people currently taking advantage of FEMA’s temporary housing program, which puts up displaced families in hotels or motels. The housing units, which are manufactured and brought in wherever disaster strikes, are a last resort for those who completely lost their homes and can’t find a place to stay even with the help of FEMA, Mills said.

Greeley just hit a record-low apartment vacancy rate, at just 1.3 percent, and Mills said the agency has had a difficult time finding available mobile home pads in Weld County.

Becky Safarik, Greeley’s assistant city manager, said the city already identified 50 open spaces in two mobile home parks where FEMA could place the modular units. She said the open pads in Greeley are at Stoneybrook and Friendly Village mobile home parks, both off of 35th Avenue. Of the spaces identified, she said 12 spots have been permitted for the FEMA trailers.

Mills said FEMA has been “unable to secure those pads at this time.” He said he did not have enough information to say why.

Phone calls and messages to the owners of Stoneybrook and Friendly Village were not returned to The Tribune on Wednesday. But Safarik said one issue for the parks or possible tenants could be that the mobile units run on electric heating instead of natural gas, which is much more costly in Colorado.

In Platteville, Valley Village mobile home park, at 731 Grand Ave., will take in 15 temporary FEMA units, said manager Jillian Weaver. While accommodating the extra units wasn’t a problem for Valley Village, Weaver said she could imagine most other parks in Weld County are already full.

Such was the case for Circle Drive Mobile Home Park, at 101 and 133 N. 21st Ave. in Greeley, said manager Oscar Hernandez. Hernandez said putting up temporary units at this point could also be damaging to business, because the park is after permanent residents who purchase their mobile homes. He said the park’s growth would be sacrificed to accommodate the temporary units. Hernandez said he didn’t get a chance to discuss with FEMA the possibility of purchasing the temporary units after flood victims use them. He said his discussion with the agency was abrupt and he felt pressured to give an immediate answer, so he answered no. Four families displaced by the flood have purchased homes at Circle Drive, Hernandez said.

Roy Rudisill, emergency operations manager for Weld County, said he supplied FEMA with a list of 86 mobile home parks in the county, although some of those were the ones destroyed in the flood.

Ed Zamarripa, owner of Alta Vista Mobile Home Park, 2040 4th Ave. in Evans, said he has not been approached by FEMA, but sent a request to the city of Greeley to see if he could permit some additional slots in his park because he has received so many calls from others wanting to park their mobile homes on his lot. Zamarripa, who is also a real estate broker, said he’s already seen five houses sold to those affected by the floods. He said he would also be interested in establishing a new mobile home park for flood victims that could later be turned into residential housing.

Keith Cowan, owner of Eastwood Village Mobile Home Park, which was destroyed by the flood, and three other parks in Greeley and Evans, said he placed six families in the few vacancies he had among his parks, but he now has just three spaces available.

“I had Eastwood 100 percent full, and everybody in there owned their own home,” Cowan said. “It was a really, really hard thing for people in there to try and find a home.”