Water Lines: Learn about Colorado and Gunnison rivers May 15 at Grand Junction City Hall #ColoradoWater

On Thursday, May 15, the Colorado River District and the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University will co-sponsor the annual “State of the Rivers — Mesa County” meeting in the Grand Junction City Hall Auditorium at 250 N. Fifth St. There’s no charge to attend the meeting, and it will run from 6-8 p.m.

This year’s meeting will provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss the present, past and future state of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers in Mesa County. Light refreshments will be provided.

WHAT’S THE OUTLOOK FOR WATER USERS THIS YEAR?

The meeting will open with a presentation by Erik Knight of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on what this year’s snowpack will mean for reservoir operations and flows in the rivers. This winter, the headwaters of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers enjoyed above-average snowfall for the first time since 2011.

Following Erik Knight’s presentation, Grand Valley Water Users Association Manager Mark Harris will present a slide show of historical photographs depicting the building of the Grand Valley Project, including the roller dam in DeBeque Canyon and the Government Highline Canal. This project, which began supplying irrigation water in 1915, greatly increased the amount of land under cultivation in the Grand Valley.

The meeting will conclude with an update on water planning efforts in the Colorado and Gunnison River Basins, which meet in Grand Junction. Mark Hermundstad — a water attorney with Williams, Turner & Holmes, PC and a member of the Colorado Basin Roundtable — and Frank Kugel — manager of the Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District and a member of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable — will provide the updates and take comments from the public.

These basin plans will feed into a statewide plan that Governor Hickenlooper has ordered to be drafted by the end of this year. The plan is intended to show the way towards filling a projected gap between water needs and developed supplies as the state’s population grows.

For more information, visit http://www.coloradomesa.edu/watercenter.

More Gunnison River Basin coverage here. More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

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