Parker Water schedules 2016 election

Rhode Island Hotel 1908 Parker via Best of Parker
Rhode Island Hotel 1908 Parker via Best of Parker

From Parker Water via The Parker Chronicle:

The Parker Water & Sanitation District is putting out a call for candidates to fill three vacancies on its board of directors.

The May 3 mail-ballot election will enable district customers to vote on candidates to assume seats held by Kelly McCurry, Bill Wasserman and Dale Reiman, whose terms expire this year. Prospective candidates must file “affidavits of intent” to the Parker Water & Sanitation District by Feb. 29, according to a resolution passed by the current board on Jan. 14.

If there are “not more candidates than offices to be filled,” district manager Ron Redd, who is serving as the designated election official, will cancel the election and declare the candidates elected, the resolution said.

For more information, go to http://www.pwsd.org, email rredd@pwsd.org or call 303-841-4627.

Nature Conservancy: 50th Anniversary Message from Director Carlos Fernandez

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

OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I am humbled and amazed by what the Colorado chapter has accomplished since its inception. For example, we have conserved 27 land preserves and properties across the state, which host a variety of plant and wildlife habitat as well as educational opportunities with the community. We were instrumental in the establishment of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Great Outdoors Colorado. We brought our science to bear in the state’s first water plan. We manage our own fire crew—The Southern Rockies Wildland Fire Module—to advance forest restoration projects not only in Colorado, but across the country, and we have helped launch global conservation programs in 16 locations. These successes and our continued work conserving important lands, protecting water, and restoring forests in Colorado, have helped us protect one million acres and one thousand river miles across the state.

Great partnerships are key to any success and I am grateful for the partnerships we have made that have allowed this conservation work to flourish. Through our commitment to science, tangible results, collaboration and our non-partisan approach, we have been able to grow support for conservation and educate diverse audiences throughout Colorado about the need for nature in our lives.

LOOKING AHEAD
Our natural resources are at the heart of our quality of life in Colorado—from the fresh water we drink and the clean air we breathe to our economic prosperity and world-renowned recreational opportunities. But Colorado’s environment continues to face many challenges. Our population is expected to nearly double by 2050. Increased needs for food, water and energy will further strain Colorado’s natural systems.

These challenges require far-sighted solutions. Solutions that build on our track record of results and push us to incorporate new thinking, such as focusing on urban conservation, expanding our sustainable grazing work and leveraging natural solutions to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The Yampa River flows through the Carpenter Ranch. Photo courtesy of John Fielder from his new book, “Colorado’s Yampa River: Free Flowing & Wild from the Flat Tops to the Green.” -- via The Mountain Town News
The Yampa River flows through the Carpenter Ranch. Photo courtesy of John Fielder from his new book, “Colorado’s Yampa River: Free Flowing & Wild from the Flat Tops to the Green.” — via The Mountain Town News

Arctic: “It’s unraveling, every piece of it is unraveling, they’re all in lockstep together” — Rafe Pomerance

amaps

Here’s a report about the “truly extraordinary month” of January, 2016 from Chris Mooney writing for The Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt:

…it all fits a by-now familiar picture of an Arctic warming up considerably faster than the mid-latitudes, with consequences that could extend far outside of the polar region, says Rafe Pomerance, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who sits on the National Academy of Sciences’ Polar Research Board.

Impacts of Arctic warming are usually considered in isolation, and that’s a mistake, he says. “It’s unraveling, every piece of it is unraveling, they’re all in lockstep together,” Pomerance says. “What tends to happen is, everybody nationally reports on the latest piece of news, which is about one system. You hear about the sea ice absent the temperature trend. So you really have to think of it as a whole.”

Western Governors urge EPA to recognize state authority on water quality issues — WGA

Here’s the release from the Western Governors’ Association:

Western Governors have sent comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to its request for Information on Existing Programs That Protect Water Quality From Forest Road Discharges.

The outreach, sent on Feb. 12, 2016, highlighted states’ federally-recognized authority to manage and allocate water within their boundaries. Submitted comments included: “The Clean Water Act (CWA) does not require EPA to regulate forest road stormwater discharge,” and “EPA should leave the management of stormwater discharges from forest roads to the states, unless otherwise determined by a specific state.”

Western Governors also cited their policy resolution, Water Quality in the West, which states that stormwater runoff from forest roads has been managed as a nonpoint source of pollution under EPA regulation and state law since enactment of the CWA.

Read and download the full comments.

rifflesaspenjournalismbrentgardnersmith

Bureau of Reclamation Funding Opportunity for Water Reclamation Research Under Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program

Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.
Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation has made a new funding opportunity available for water entities in the Western United States to conduct water reclamation research under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program.

This cost-shared funding opportunity, available at http://www.grants.gov as opportunity number R16-FOA-DO-011, helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve water reuse facilities, or upgrade new facilities with state of the art technology.

It is expected that up to $2 million will be available for this funding opportunity. Research sponsors must provide 75 percent or more of the study costs.

Funding will be awarded in three categories. Funding group I will be for projects up to $75,000 per agreement for a research study up to 18 months; funding group II will be up to $150,000 per agreement for a research study up to 24 months; and funding group III will be up to $300,000 in federal funds for a research study that can be completed within 36 months.

State, regional, or local authorities; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; or other entities including water districts, wastewater districts, or rural water districts, will be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must be located within the 17 Western States or Hawaii. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on April 20, 2016.

Title XVI projects provide communities with a new source of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Title XVI supports the President’s “Climate Action Plan,” and the “Executive Order—Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.”

This funding opportunity is also an important part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program, which supports the White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation. For more information about Title XVI or Reclamation’s WaterSMART program, http://visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart.

CRRG: Prioritizing Management and Protection of the #ColoradoRiver Environmental Resouces

Click here to read the report from the Colorado River Research Group. Here’s an excerpt:

The Colorado River is one of North America’s greatest natural assets. Flowing from “the land of snow to the land of sun,” in the words of John Wesley Powell, the river provides water and hydroelectricity to 40 million people. Parts of the river network are also superlative for their natural wonder. Grand Canyon and other national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau comprise the densest concentration of protected lands in the lower 48 states, and the reservoirs of the watershed are recreational playgrounds. Many of the native fish in the mainstem occur nowhere else on Earth. And the delta of the Colorado River, characterized by Aldo Leopold in the 1920s as “The Green Lagoons,” was once among the most biologically diverse places on the continent.

For many of us who live in the Southwest, the Colorado River not only provides the water and electricity necessary to meet our needs, but also provides beauty and inspiration that sustains and enriches our lives. It is therefore critical that the natural assets of the Colorado River be given equal footing with other uses in decisions about river management. But they are not. In our single‐minded effort to maximize consumptive use of the basin’s waters, we have radically altered the natural environment, leaving many components of the basin ecology on life support. Too often, environmental efforts focus on palliative measures required by laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, doing little to restore and maintain the river’s necessary ecological functions.

There are a number of large environmental mitigation programs in place across the basin: namely, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program in the basin’s headwaters; the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program focused on the Grand Canyon segment of the river; the Lower Colorado Multi‐Species Conservation Program focused on the highly altered segment between Hoover Dam and Yuma; and the Minute 319 binational planning and monitoring effort concerned with the dewatered delta that is primarily in Mexico. All of these environmental programs provide value in protecting specific native species, protecting native ecosystems, creating novel ecosystem mixes of native and nonnative species, or rehabilitating valued river landscapes within each program’s specific geographic area. These programs are, nevertheless, an incomplete patchwork of largely uncoordinated efforts, existing in some cases to facilitate compliance with environmental laws that might otherwise constrain users from withdrawing additional water from the river system.1 Comprehensive restoration of the entire river network requires cultivation of a basin‐scale vision and strategy for environmental management integrated within emerging strategies concerning water allocation and hydropower production.

The Colorado River Basin is divided into upper and lower portions. It provides water to the Colorado River, a water source that serves 40 million people over seven states in the southwestern United States. Colorado River Commission of Nevada
The Colorado River Basin is divided into upper and lower portions. It provides water to the Colorado River, a water source that serves 40 million people over seven states in the southwestern United States. Colorado River Commission of Nevada

2016 #coleg: HB16-1005, “That certainly would help with water efficiency in landscaping” — Brad Mueller

Rain barrel schematic
Rain barrel schematic

From The Greeley Tribune (Catherine Sweeney):

Rain barrels are back on the agenda for Colorado.

Last year, a few state legislators attempted to pass rules to allow the banned precipitation catchers. They’re going at it again this session.

House Bill 1005 would allow residents who live in houses or small condo complexes to place two 55-gallon barrels on their properties to collect rain water. They would be allowed to use it only for outdoor uses, such as gardening.

Supporters believe the measure would encourage residents to conserve water, and that it would cut down on the demand for tap water. Because water from the hose is filtered at a city or water district’s treatment facility, it’s more expensive for residents and more labor-intensive for cities.

Opponents believe the rules would take water from the overall water system, in which river water is already assigned to water rights owners — farmers, businesses owners — downstream. Essentially, opponents say, it would cheat people out of their guaranteed water.

Water policy can be intimidating for residents who aren’t involved in the water business, said Becky Long, the advocacy director for Conservation Colorado, which supports the bill. It can discourage people from working on conservation. Rain barrel rules aren’t as difficult to figure out.

“It’s really common sense,” she said “It’s a great way to bring people in the door.”

She argued against the idea using rain barrels will steal from downstream users, saying the allowed 110-gallon capture wouldn’t make a difference for a few reasons.

First, a lot of that rain doesn’t make it to the river.

“The reality is we live in a dry climate, and most of that water as it rains is used up by the plants or evaporates quickly,” she said.

Rain that would fall into barrels now just falls through a house’s gutter, she said. Most of the time, that water is going to come out of the pipe, land on a patch of dirt and saturate it. All rain barrels do is allow residents to transfer water from that patch to their tomato plant.

“You’re not changing the fact that it was going to get used,” she said. “You’re changing the timing.”

Greeley doesn’t have an official position on the legislation, but some officials say the benefits would help the city.

“That certainly would help with water efficiency in landscaping,” said Community Development Director Brad Mueller.

In the fall, his department released the Landscape Policy Plan, a guidebook to establishing the programs and regulations needed to reduce outdoor water use.

The Greeley Water and Sewer Department opposed the bill last year, but this year, officials are trying to work with legislators to spruce up the language.

Last year, they had two main objections, said Donna Brosemer. She’s the department’s government and public relations specialist, and she works as a liaison to the Legislature.

Last year, the bill stated water falling on the state isn’t subject to Colorado water law.

“It just defies logic,” she said.

Colorado is one of only two states in the union with rivers flowing out of it but no rivers flowing in. The other is Hawaii. All of Colorado’s rivers are fed by snowpack in the mountains and rain water.

“We came out of 2013 with 17 inches of rain,” she said.

It would be a hard sell to convince someone we didn’t need rain in the river.

The bill is now saying that rain collected in barrels can get an exemption from its role in the Colorado water system. Brosemer called that a “satisfactory solution.”

The second objection still hasn’t been addressed. The bill doesn’t address injury to downstream users.

“It’s very difficult to know how many rain barrels would be in use,” she said.

If a handful of residents use them, it wouldn’t have a noticeable impact. If a whole city does, it would.

“All we’re trying to do right now is figure out language that would allow long-term evaluation,” she said.

Once the law is changed, it won’t be easy to change back. And even if it did change back, enforcing that would be difficult.

“Nobody’s going to go around and collect them,” she said.

Halligan Reservoir DEIS likely delayed until 2017

Halligan Reservoir
Halligan Reservoir

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

City officials say additional water-quality studies required by federal and state agencies are likely to delay release of a draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, for the proposed Halligan Reservoir expansion until 2017. The document was expected to be released this year.

The studies are expected to cost about $475,000 on top of the $8.2 million already spent as part of the environmental review process, said Adam Jokerst, water resources engineer with Fort Collins Utilities.

Halligan Reservoir is on the North Fork of the Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins. The expansion project would more than double the capacity of the reservoir.

The project is entering the 10th year of an EIS process that’s being overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The highly detailed water-quality studies will include monitoring water temperatures along the North Fork and main stem of the Poudre from below Halligan past Fort Collins, Jokerst said.

“It’s quite an effort,” he said.

Aquatic life is sensitive to water temperature, he said. Some types of fish cannot thrive if temperatures are too warm or too cold.

Methodology used in the studies will be consistent with that used to analyze the impact of other water storage projects proposed along the river, including the controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, which would build Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins.

The need for the more research was raised by various entities and the public through comments directed to the Corps regarding the draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for NISP, Jokerst said.

The Halligan EIS process is being directed by the Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state health department, Jokerst said.

“They desire, as do we, to have consistent methods between NISP and the Halligan project,” he said. “As the NISP methods were established, then we had to follow suit.”

Halligan Reservoir is about 100 years old. Its capacity is about 6,400 acre feet of water. The city has proposed enlarging by 8,125 acre feet by raising its dam about 25 feet…

Fort Collins has requested the expansion as a way to shore up its water supply and protect against drought…

The Halligan project “makes a lot of sense” for the city, Jokerst said. It makes use of an existing reservoir and could potentially improve flows along the North Fork of the Poudre.

“We still feel it’s a smart project,” he said. “The cost per acre-foot of water development … is very competitive.”

CWCB: The February 2016 #Drought Update is hot off the presses

Colorado Drought Monitor February 16, 2016.
Colorado Drought Monitor February 16, 2016.

Here’s the update from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Division of Water Resources (Taryn Finnessey and Tracy Kosloff). Here’s an excerpt:

Statewide precipitation, as of February 16, is at 106% of average. January brought beneficial storms to the state but so far in February, Colorado has only experienced 77% of average precipitation. This recent lull in precipitation is not unusual at this time of the year. The spring months will be the key to determine whether or not the state has a good water year. National forecasts predict a wet spring for Colorado but also suggest a warm next few months. The February 16 US Drought Monitor map for shows 92% of Colorado is drought free and the remaining 8% of the state is experiencing D0 or abnormally dry conditions.

  • January was the 42nd warmest on record in Colorado with the Eastern Plains being the one region that has been above average temperature statewide. The temperature to date in February remains average to slightly above average for the east side of the Continental Divide while most of the western half of the state is below average. There are wildfire concerns in the southeastern corner of the state.
  • Statewide SNOTEL water year-to-date precipitation is 106% of normal. Statewide, January precipitation was 98% of normal and half way through February, precipitation is 77% of normal. The Southwest basins have the highest snowpack percent of median at 113%. The lowest snowpack in the state is in the Yampa/White & North Platte basins which are slightly below normal at 99% & 97% respectively.
  • The state experienced at least six spring storms in 2015 which eliminated drought conditions across the state. The state will need three to four storms this spring, especially in the South Platte & Arkansas basins, to keep drought conditions from reappearing this summer and beyond.
  • Reservoir storage statewide remains above normal at 110% which is the same as January. The Arkansas basin has the highest storage levels in the state; the Upper Rio Grande has the lowest storage levels, just slightly below normal. However, the Rio Grande levels have risen slightly since the beginning of the water year in October 2015. Water providers in attendance reported their respective systems are in decent shape at this time.
  • The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) as of February 17 is near or above average across the majority of the state, with the southern half of the state faring better than the northern half. The lowest SWSI value, -1.41 in the South Platte Basin, is due to the emptying of Antero Reservoir. At this time of year the index reflects reservoir storage and streamflow forecasts.
  • Streamflow forecasts are normal to above normal in most basins. Forecasts in the Yampa/White ranged from a maximum of 102% on the North Platte River near Northgate & the Laramie River near Woods to a low of 80% on the Little Snake River near Dixon. The highest streamflow forecasts are in the Southwest basins ranging from 108%-122%.
  • Seasonal drought outlook through May 31, 2016 via the Climate Prediction Center.
    Seasonal drought outlook through May 31, 2016 via the Climate Prediction Center.

    Water Report: Who knew about chemicals in local wells? — KRDO

    Fountain Creek Watershed
    Fountain Creek Watershed

    From KRDO (Emily Allen):

    Three water districts said they are working on communication locally and federally after news reports highlighted the presence of Teflon in customers’ water.

    Security Water District has since shut down seven wells that are impacted by the man-made chemical. Those wells are on a shared system with Fountain and Widefield which is why Teflon was also discovered in the two other districts.

    EPA tests show high levels of Teflon. The chemical is used to coat non-stick pans and cooking utensils, as well as the inside of a popcorn bag. Teflon is not regulated by the EPA. Currently, the EPA is collecting data to determine if the chemical will be regulated in the future.

    As part of it’s data collection, the EPA examined samples from Security, Fountain and Widefield water districts. Information showing high levels of Teflon were posted online, but the water districts said they had no idea about the Teflon until they were confronted by a journalist…

    “It’s not the best position to be in,” said Security Water District General Manager Roy Heald.

    “It’s a cause of concern,” said Curtis Mitchell, Utilities Director for Fountain.

    While the findings were posted online by the EPA, the information was buried in millions of lines data.

    “It’s right out there on the internet but I don’t think anyone realized that it was their responsibility to look at that,” said Heald.

    Typically, the EPA relays the information onto Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment. Then, CDPHE gives the information to local water districts. However, since Teflon isn’t regulated, Mitchell said the EPA was in the early stages of data collection and hadn’t passed along the results of the findings.

    “This is part of the EPA’s routine process. They are analyzing data. I would say they are early on in the process and at this point they haven’t brought it to our attention directly,” said Mitchell.

    While the Teflon levels are low enough for the water to still be considered safe to drink, Security Water district has shut down seven of it’s wells until the problem can be fixed.

    “There are a lot of challenges in this business, drinking water and waste water and we just have to work through them as they come along,” said Heald.

    Now, the districts say it’s been a learning opportunity, highlighting the need for improved communication with Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment…

    Mitchell said the EPA will investigate to try to determine the source of the Teflon. After that, the agency will work with CDPHE and the local districts to craft a long-term plan for fixing the problem and eliminating Teflon’s presence in the local water supply.