What a successful event Friday. Katie Melander and her colleagues managed to engage speakers that covered a wide range of topics, educated, and entertained.
One of the highlights was Greg Hobbs’ journey through the history of Colorado Water Law. His presentation included maps from the first surveys and expeditions to the West, along with the additions to the inventory of federal lands through purchase and war.
Confederate Texas’ forces and their intent to capture Colorado’s gold fields led to Colorado’s borders surrounding the headwaters, he told the attendees during his lunch hour keynote. The lines around the gold fields coincided with the headwaters of the Colorado, Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande.
I always enjoy the presentations by the AWRA Colorado Section scholarship recipients.
Adrianne Kroepsch’s talk, “Oil & gas Development in the South Platte River Basin: An Evolving Energy-Water Nexus,” highlighted the different ways that information sources “frame” the discussion. For example, while industry and the Colorado Division of Water Resources emphasize the small amount of water consumed by Oil and Gas exploration and production, environmentalists point out that the water is lost forever to the water cycle.
Cynthia Kanno’s presentation, “Quantifying the Impacts of Spills At Unconventional Oil and Gas Production Sites on Groundwater Quality,” explained her approach, using a groundwater model, to determine what types of spills could be expected to reach groundwater. This could possibly inform the first responders and industry about the type and level of responses.
By attending the Symposium you can help support the AWRA Colorado Section scholarship effort.
The information firehose didn’t stop with Hobbs’ luncheon presentation. Colorado State Climatologist, Nolan Doesken’s presentation, “Stepping Through Time: Colorado’s Climate, Water Resources, and Technology,” demanded your attention. Nolan went through some Colorado climate history, the origins of his position, and the data collection systems used over time. He also issued several predictions for Colorado climate: Summers will continue to be warmer than winters; Precipitation in Colorado will still vary greatly from place to place with changing seasons; We will still get some precipitation as snow; There will be future drought; and, “I guarantee that whatever comes next will be interesting.”
Doesken also made a pitch for the very successful citizen science effort CoCoRAHS.
Esther Vincent (Northern Water) talked about the loss of clarity in Grand Lake since the completion of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. In sum, the shallowness of Shadow Mountain Reservoir encourages weeds, sediment mobilizaiton, and algae growth which is then transported to Grand Lake in order to send transmountain water through the Adams Tunnel to the Front Range. She and the Clarity Working Group were recently successful in getting a sliding-scale clarity standard from the State of Colorado.
Other presentations included: Aurora and Colorado Springs’ planning and adaptive strategy facing climate change and increasing population; A method that utilizes GIS to integrate aerial photography and SNOTEL data for improved estimates of snowpack; How conservation is included in the Colorado Water Plan; The Arkansas Basin Roundtable Watershed Health Toolkit and it’s genesis (Need determined during the West Fork Fire); An introduction to the One World One Water Center at Metropolitan State University in Denver (My alma mater!); and, finally, a panel discussion, “Changes in Water Administration — A Conversation with the Boots that Run the Water,” with DWR water commissioners and the lead from the Division 1 accounting group.
All of my notes (Tweets) from the event can be accessed here. If you don’t have a Twitter account you can still view them. Enter http://twitter.com into your browser or click on the link above, click on the Live button at the top of the page, scroll down to the bottom and read backward since Tweets are in reverse chronological order.
I also want to plug the venue, the Mount Vernon Country Club. Near and dear to Coyote Gulch, fast Wi-Fi and a great luncheon buffet.