Denver Water facility is training ground for wildland fire helicopter units and technical dive squads.
Elite six-man team among first responders when fires, floods and other emergencies threaten the water supply.
Click here for all the inside skinny. From the website:
RiverBank is our annual fundraiser, and is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues, and to meet our team. We’re thrilled to have so many wonderful supporters, including you!
At RiverBank, we’ll be eating great food, drinking wonderful beverages from our open bar, shopping for one-of-a-kind items at our silent auction, and hanging out with the greatest river rats in Colorado.
We’re thrilled to announce that at RiverBank, this year’s David Getches Flowing Waters Award will be presented to Lurline Underbrink Curran! (Read more about Lurline’s accomplishments here.)
You’re invited and we can’t wait to see you there!
We are accepting auction item donations through June 5th and still have some sponsorship opportunities available! Please contact Missy Yoder at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Click here to view a photo gallery from last year’s event.
Click here to read the summary. Here’s an excerpt:
What are the State of the River Meetings?
Each spring, during snowmelt runoff, the River District organizes informational “State of the River” meetings across parts of the Western Slope of Colorado to help educate the public and water users. Meeting speakers offer up-to-date information on snowpack figures, water supply forecasts and anticipated stream flows and upcoming conditions.
Specifically, reservoir operators and climate profession will discuss the amount of water expected to flow into the local reservoirs due to melting snow and will forecast how conditions may affect the rise and fall of reservoir levels and the amounts and timing of water to be released to the rivers over the upcoming season.
From The Alamosa News (Ruth Heide):
Although there are currently no cloud seeding operations in the San Luis Valley, some folks believe this might be a good place for it.
Joe Busto, who oversees weather modification permits for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, gave the Rio Grande Roundtable group a crash course on cloud seeding during its Tuesday meeting. The Valley-wide water group funds many water related projects in the Rio Grande Basin from ditch repair to reservoir rehab. The group was not asked for funding at this time.
Busto said that another form of weather modification, hail cannons, previously operated in the San Luis Valley under a permit with Southern Colorado Farms, but the agricultural operation discontinued the practice.
Cloud seeding occurs all around the region from Texas to North Dakota, Busto stated.
Many of the cloud seeding operations in Colorado are associated with ski areas such as Vail, Crested Butte and Breckenridge, Busto explained. Others are connected to water districts. There are currently 110 machines in the state. He described the primary catalysts as either silver iodide, which is expensive but effective (and not harmful to the environment), or propane, which is cheaper.
Before setting up a machine, plume dispersion tests are conducted to determine how the winds are blowing and from what direction so the cloud seeding operation can be set up to provide the most good.
Operations are also the most effective when machines are set up at higher elevations, Busto explained.
Roundtable member Travis Smith asked, “Is the Rio Grande ready to start participating in a winter time cloud seeding program?”
Roundtable member Charlie Spielman said he saw this as a solution to the imbalance between water supply and demand.
“Cloud seeding is the best opportunity within our reach of making a real dent in that supply/demand gap,” he said.
He encouraged “getting a program going here … Let’s put something into this because I think this is our best chance.”
Busto said he believed a lean cloud seeding operation could be put in place for about $60,000 a year. He said he believed there could be many benefits to this area as well as downstream.
From The Englewood Herald (Kevin M. Smith):
[Phil] Goedert was among the volunteers who worked on the Westminster Historical Society’s latest exhibit: “The Driving Force: The story of Westminster water.”
Six panels explain the history of the water in words, photos and maps in addition to additional panels with a timeline and summary of the water laws. There are also a few artifacts, like a cast iron pipe laid in about 1911 next to a PVC pipe that is commonly used today.
Ron Hellbusch said the exhibit is appropriately named.
Hellbusch was in charge of figuring out the city’s water issue in the 1960s — one of the pivotal times that created a channel to the current day Westminster.
“To see it develop it where the city has grown … a lot of it, you can point to having sufficient water to control your destiny and to control your growth and keep local decisions,” Hellbusch said.
A drought in the 1960s along with the city’s water rights at the bottom of the barrel spurred residents to campaign for change. The water Westminster received had gone through other water treatment plants first before hitting household taps here…
Hellbusch was asked to spearhead a proposal for the city’s own system because he started working for the city’s utilities department part-time in 1953 when he was a sophomore in high school. He continued working summers through high school and college.
He wasn’t an engineer, but he had more field experience than anyone in the city.
In addition to being at the bottom of water rights, city leaders feared that Denver would dictate Westminster’s growth by restricting the number and types of new buildings to stem water usage.
In 1963, a ballot question put the fate in the city of Westminster’s hands instead of Denver’s and it won — by just 170 votes, a 4.4 percent margin.
“That’s when they started to acquire surface water rights,” Goedert said.
Instead of relying on ditch water and canals running through Golden where others had first rights and wells that dried up during droughts, the city made a deal to tap into Standley Lake. Standley Lake was built and owned by Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company (FRICO).
“Those guys are very protective of their water and they didn’t want any municipalities fussing around with what they could — until they started to have serious problems with the dam,” Goedert said.
The dam was cracking and FRICO didn’t have the money to repair it.
“So Westminster bought into it and said, `We’ll fix the dam and raise it if you give us half the water.’ And they said, `It’s a deal,’ ” Smith said.
And that holds true today.
Westminster added 12 acres of height to the dam. The city has rights to more than 50 percent of Standley Lake water with Northglenn, Thornton and FRICO getting the rest.
But the water issues started with the first population influx during the Gold Rush in the late 1850s.
“At the time, there were no water laws,” Goedert said. “Whoever was there first, that’s whose water it was.”
First, placer mines, which separated sand from gold, were made from ditches off Clear Creek.
“We started out with the ditches and the canals,” Smith said.
Those were dug with livestock on either side of the ditch dragging a bucket to scrape out earth.
The miners drew farmers and ranchers.
“So that started to expand the ditches,” Goedert said.
Eventually, FRICO built its reservoir in about 1907 to serve agricultural and livestock needs.
Westminster was incorporated in 1911 and included an $11,000 bond issue to drill the city’s first well.
More in the exhibit
The exhibit also covers water as recreation, like the bond issue in 1979 to build Water World and building city swimming pools.
Smith said he hopes to add to the exhibit throughout the next few months and eventually move it to city hall.
The Westminster History Center, 7200 Lowell Blvd., is open 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and by appointment. For more information, call 303-428-3993.
From The Denver Post (Monte Whaley):
The passage of House Bill 1306, which enjoyed bipartisan support, will help ensure that children aren’t exposed to dangerous levels of lead, said school and health officials.
“Clean water in our schools is an expectation everyone in Colorado can get behind,” said Brian Turner, president of the Colorado Public Health Association.
HB 1306 is aimed primarily at older elementary schools with the hope that all public schools will be tested and the results analyzed by June 30, 2020. The bill authorizes the state Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a grant program to test the drinking water in public schools that use a public water system.
As much as $300,000 in grants could be awarded each year for three years, and another $140,000 would be spent to implement the program. The measure also requires school districts that test for lead to chip in 10 percent in local matching funds and give the test results to the local public health agency, water supplier, school board and CDPHE.
Schools that discover lead in their drinking water have several routes for securing money to clean up the water, officials said.
Just seven of Colorado’s 178 school districts have tested their water for lead, and in those districts 100 schools were found to have lead in their water, according to Conservation Colorado.