#cwcac2016: 2016 Aspinall Water Leader of the Year

This year’s Aspinall Water Leader of the Year Award goes to: Harold Miskel. He had a long career with Colorado Springs Utilities. He currently is on the board of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District but plans to retire from the board soon.

Greg Hobbs sent me his invocation from today’s Aspinall Award Luncheon via email:

May we please bow our heads as we pray for our dear friend,
Diane Hoppe, Aspinall Award winner who is in the hospital today,

As we gather today in each other’s good company
to share the abundance of all gifts we receive,
this food we eat, this water we drink, this conversation
we generate through the labor and fruit
of the commitment of others.

May the story of our lives continue to invigorate the Colorado
we inherit, love, and bequeath. In the open space of
opportunity, may we learn to practice grace and respect,
with self-correcting wit and humility in our slips and falls

Righting the wrongs we do unto others and celebrating
another chance to engage in what we may and what we will.

Lord, we thank you.

R.I.P. Paul Kantner (Can you tell me please, who won the war?)

Paul Kantner, of Jefferson Airplane/Starship poses for a portrait at Cafe Trieste -- via The San Francisco Chronicle
Paul Kantner, of Jefferson Airplane/Starship poses for a portrait at Cafe Trieste — via The San Francisco Chronicle

From the Associated Press (Hillel Italie) via The Denver Post:

Paul Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal San Francisco band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship, has died at age 74.

Kantner, who drew upon his passion for politics and science fiction to help write such rock classics as “Wooden Ships” and “Volunteers,” died on Thursday of organ failure and septic shock. He had been admitted to a San Francisco hospital after falling ill earlier in the week, his former girlfriend and publicist Cynthia Bowman, the mother of one of his three children, told The Associated Press.

The guitarist and songwriter had survived close brushes with death as a younger man, including a motorcycle accident during the early 1960s and a 1980 cerebral hemorrhage, and he recovered from a heart attack last year.

Few bands were so identified with San Francisco or so well-embodied the idealism and hedonism of the late ’60s as Jefferson Airplane, its message boldly stated on buttons and bumper stickers that read “THE JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU.”

The Airplane advocated sex, psychedelic drugs, rebellion and a communal lifestyle, operating out of an eccentric, Colonial Revival house near Haight-Ashbury. Its members supported various political and social causes, tossed out LSD at concerts and played at both the Monterey and Woodstock festivals.

#cwcac2016: Colorado Water Congress 2016 Annual Convention (Day 2)

Delph Carpenter’s 1922 Colorado River Basin map with Lake Mead and Lake Powell via Greg Hobbs

Well the first day of general sessions at the convention was a hoot. One of the highlights was the Patty Limerick led panel “Historians to the rescue” that explored the role of history in telling #Colorado’s water story. Conclusion? Historians tell a good story and historical context is important.

Follow along on Twitter, hash tag #cwcac2016 (@CoyoteGulch).

Note: I fat-fingered the hash tag on a few Tweets late in the day Thursday. I used #cwcac2015 in error. Sorry.

Crystal River via Aspen Journalism
Crystal River via Aspen Journalism

#Drought news: No change in drought depiction for #Colorado this past week

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


The big story last week and this is Winter Storm Jonas as the resultant recovery continues across a good portion of the Atlantic Seaboard. Another round of good precipitation fell across the west coast as well, keeping the El Niño moisture train rolling from northern California up to Washington. Resultant improvements are noted along both coasts on this week’s map. Once again, conditions continue to worsen across most of Hawaii this week, noted by the expansion of both D0 and D1 on several islands…

Great Plains and South

Short-term dryness has led to some minor growth of D0 in west Texas (western Big Bend area) and in extreme southern Texas north of Brownsville in the McAllen area. The rest of the region remains unchanged this week with very little in the way of dryness or drought being shown over most of the country’s interior…


Slow and steady recovery continues for parts of the West this week after another beneficial round of precipitation brought with it liquid equivalent totals running from 5 to 8 inches or more in some spots in the northern Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, D0-D1 has been reduced this week with improvement noted by an eastward push of the dryness and drought.

There are finally some signs that some modest dents in the armor of the multi-year drought in California are appearing. Now that Water-Year-to-date precipitation has eliminated most of California’s short-term (“S”) drought (now contained to just the west-central coast), continued recovery in soil moisture, long-term average streamflow, well above normal snow water content (150-180% of normal) and a trend up in reservoir levels has led to some slight improvement in the water supply situation and to the long-term (“L”) drought in northern California as well. There has been improvement and a push of D0-D3 eastward off the coast from San Francisco up to Eureka. In addition, an area in the northern Sierra Nevada range has moved from D4 to D3 given above-normal snowpack and snow water content on the Water Year.

In what must seem like a broken record (or perhaps a repeat track on Spotify if you fancy the digital realm) we must stress that this doesn’t mean the region is out of drought, as many of the larger reservoirs in northern California and southern Oregon are still below half of capacity. That is the reason for the long-term hydrological “L” label remaining well entrenched over the region at this time. Relative to last year, though, the trend is going in the right direction for now with a good chunk of the snow season still left to play out over the next two months. In fact, California’s Department of Water Resources just announced this week that state water project delivery allocations are being upped from 10 percent of requests to 15 percent for the calendar year. The full release can be found here: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2016/012616allocation.pdf

After a mixed bag of changes last week, status quo is noted this week in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon…

Looking Ahead

Over the next 5-7 days (valid through February 2), temperatures are expected to run well above normal (6-12 degrees or more) for virtually all locales east of the Rocky Mountains. Parts of the Pacific NW and Great Basin can expect slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures over the same period. As for precipitation, the recent favorable pattern remains as chances for good precipitation are expected across a good portion of the West, particularly the west coast along the coastal ranges, Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. Central Florida is also looking likely to have good rains over this period. The country’s mid-section looks to be dry, all in all.

The 6-10 day outlooks (February 2-6, 2016) are calling for better chances of below-normal temperatures across the middle two-thirds of the country with above-normal readings likely along both coasts and in Alaska. Precipitation prospects look best in the Pacific NW, central Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, Florida and the Northeast. Below-normal precipitation is more likely in southern California, the Desert Southwest, most of Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley and Delta. The interior of Alaska also looks to remain dry over this time frame while the southwestern and southern coasts will likely see above-normal precipitation.