@ColoradoClimate: Weekly Climate, Water and #Drought Assessment of the Intermountain West

Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through May 22, 2017/

Click here to read the current assessment. Click here to go to the NIDIS website hosted by the Colorado Climate Center.

Rising Global Temperatures and CO2

From Climate Central:

In 1895, Svante Arrhenius first calculated the impact that increasing carbon dioxide could have on Earth’s temperature. Since then, scientists have further refined their understanding of the greenhouse effect and the role our rising carbon emissions are having on it. From the first Earth Day in 1970, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen 24 percent. And because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries, the impacts of our emissions today will linger long into the future.

Chief among the impacts is the rise in the global temperature. That’s why countries around the world have agreed to limitthat warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

@USBR: President Proposed $1.1 Billion Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for Bureau of Reclamation

Crystal Dam, part of the Colorado River Storage Project, Aspinall Unit. Credit Reclamation.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Dan DuBray):

President Donald Trump proposed a $1.097 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The budget supports the Administration’s and Interior’s goals of ensuring the efficient generation of American energy, provision of secure water supplies, varied use of resources, celebration of America’s recreation opportunities and fulfilling commitments to tribal nations.

“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that’s exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I’ve seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President’s budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines.”

As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power, Reclamation’s projects and programs are an important driver of economic growth in the western States. Its mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. Reclamation manages water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, and provides flood risk reduction and recreation for millions of people.

“President Trump’s budget for Reclamation shows his strong commitment to our mission of managing water and producing hydropower in the West,” Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen said. “Reclamation’s infrastructure needs are also high in priority to keep dams safe for the public they serve.”

Reclamation’s expenditures are offset by current receipts in the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund of $41 million, resulting in net discretionary budget authority of $1.056 billion. The budget proposal for permanent appropriations in FY18 totals $97.5 million.

The proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account of $960.0 million provides for five major program activities: Water and Energy Management and Development ($313.7 million), Land Management and Development ($44.2 million), Fish and Wildlife Management and Development ($153.0 million), Facility Operations ($296.0 million), and Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation ($153.2 million). The funding proposed in Reclamation’s FY18 budget supports key programs important to the 17 Western States.

It emphasizes Reclamation’s core mission of reliable water delivery and hydropower generation to address the water demands of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and to assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner — ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities.

The budget also supports water rights settlements to ensure sufficient resources to address the requirements of legislation passed by Congress to settle litigation. The request includes amounts for specific Indian water rights settlements that support tribal nations, including the newly enacted Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement.

The FY18 budget will continue to support and emphasize activities designed to prevent and combat the infestation of quagga and zebra mussels across Reclamation states. These invasive species are rapidly reproducing and have infested multiple operational areas of Reclamation facilities, impacting pumping capabilities for power and water operations, blocking water intake structures and affecting the ecosystems by feeding off existing algae resulting in a shift in native species and a disruption of the ecological balance. Research is continuing to find ways to impede the quagga and zebra mussels’ populations. Increased funding in FY18 will support Reclamation mussels’ activities framework established in the Quagga–Zebra Mussel Action Plan (QZAP) for Western U.S. Waters. This work is being pursued in close cooperation with the Western Governors Association, and includes a focus on working with states and tribes to keep invasive mussels from infecting the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest.

Reclamation’s dams, water conveyances and power generating facilities are critical components of the Nation’s infrastructure. Effectively managing these structures is among the many significant challenges facing Reclamation over the next several years and beyond. Reclamation’s FY18 budget reflects a very deliberate approach to addressing mission priorities.

Tribal Nations – Within Water and Related Resources in FY18, Reclamation is requesting a total of $151.3 million to support tribal nations’ efforts and initiatives. To meet Interior’s trust and treaty obligations, Reclamation’s budget request sets Indian water rights settlements among the highest priorities. In FY18, $98.6 million is requested for the Indian water rights settlements authorized under several legislative statutes, including the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and the newly enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016. This includes funding of $67.8 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, $12.8 million for the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement, $8.0 million for the Aamodt Litigation Settlement, and $10.0 million for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement. The funding for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement represents Reclamation’s first contribution towards meeting its required contribution of $246.5 million by January 2025. In addition to requesting funding consistent with current activity, these settlements will draw on available mandatory funding to continue project activities. In FY18, the discretionary funds are requested within Water and Related Resources, as opposed to a separate appropriations account as requested in prior years.

Funding to support tribal nations is also included within a number of projects, including the Mni Wiconi Project for the required tribal operation and maintenance ($13.5 million), the Nez Perce Settlement within Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project ($7.1 million), the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act ($1.6 million) and the Ak Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act ($16.2 million).

Other aspects of the FY18 budget proposal include:

Central Valley Project Restoration Fund – This fund was established by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Title XXXIV of P.L. 102-575, Oct. 30, 1992. The budget of $41.4 million is expected to be offset by discretionary receipts totaling $41.4 million, which is the maximum amount that can be collected from project beneficiaries under provisions of Section 3407(d) of the Act. The discretionary receipts are adjusted on an annual basis to maintain payments totaling $30 million (October 1992 price levels) on a three-year rolling average basis. The budget of $41.4 million for the CVPRF was developed after considering the effects of the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (P.L. 111-11, March 30, 2009) which redirects certain fees, estimated at $2 million in FY 2018, collected from the Friant Division water users to the San Joaquin Restoration Fund.

Dam Safety Program – The safety and reliability of Reclamation dams is one of Reclamation’s highest priorities. The Dam Safety Program is critical to effectively manage risks to the downstream public, property, project, and natural resources. The budget of $88.1 million for the Safety of Dams Evaluation and Modification Program provides for risk management activities at Reclamation’s high and significant hazard dams where loss of life or significant economic damage would likely occur if the dam were to fail. The budget also includes preconstruction and construction activities for several ongoing and planned Dam Safety modifications. In addition, funding is included in the budget for Interior’s Dam Safety Program, which Reclamation oversees.

Desalination and Water Purification Research Program – This program supports desalination research, development and demonstrations for the purpose of converting unusable waters into useable water supplies. The FY18 request of $2.9 million supports new and continued projects in the three funding areas: laboratory scale research studies, pilot-scale testing projects and full-scale testing projects. Funding also supports the operation and maintenance of Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, which supports testing of pilot-scale and full-scale testing projects, as well as potentially supporting work from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements that are in development, including one focused on produced waters from oil and gas extraction activities.

Science and Technology Program – The FY18 request at $11.1 million supports continued science and technology projects, water and power technology prize competitions, technology transfer, and dissemination/outreach activities addressing critical water and power management technical obstacles in water management, hydropower generation, infrastructure management and environmental compliance. The S&T Program also continues to develop improved methods for monitoring, detection and control of invasive mussels that continue to spread in the West, infesting Reclamation dams, power plants, and facilities of other water providers.

The Site Security program – The budget will continue Reclamation’s ongoing site-security program at $26.2 million, which includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.

WaterSMART Program – The President’s proposed budget for Reclamation calls for $59.1 million for the WaterSMART Program — Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow — to assist communities in optimizing the use of water supplies by improving water management. The WaterSMART Program components include: WaterSMART Grants funded at $23.4 million; Basin Studies Program, $5.2 million; Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, $21.5 million; Water Conservation Field Service program, $4.0 million; Cooperative Watershed Management program, $1.75 million; and the Drought Response program, $3.25 million.

The Bureau of Reclamation, throughout the 17 western states, is committed to helping meet the many water and power challenges of the West. Reclamation’s water and hydropower projects and activities throughout the western United States are a foundation for essential and safe water supplies, providing renewable hydropower energy and sustaining ecosystems supporting fish and wildlife, recreation and rural economies.

To view Reclamation’s budget request, see http://www.usbr.gov/budget.

Loveland hopes to mitigate algae blooms in water supply

Green Ridge Glade Reservoir

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Craig Young):

Employees of the city department that fielded 600 complaint calls last fall about the smell and taste of Loveland’s tap water told the City Council on Tuesday what they have done to avoid a repeat this year.

The unpleasant “earthy, musty flavor,” which was caused by a bloom of a particular algae in Green Ridge Glade Reservoir, was particularly bad in 2015 and 2016, city water quality analyst Tim Bohling told the council during its study session.

Hot weather at the end of the summer helps the anabaena microorganism grow profusely, he said, and Loveland Water and Power wasn’t able to use the copper sulfate algaecide it formerly used because of new water-quality standards from the state health department.

The hydrogen peroxide-based powdered algaecide the department threw at the anabaena in the place of the copper sulfate seemed to work at first, Bohling said, but it eventually turned out to be ineffective.

“As we know and experienced, anabaena is a very, very extreme odor and taste producer,” he said.

Bohling said the city hired a consultant to look at the problem from a number of angles.

The potential fixes included using sound waves to kill the algae and send it to the bottom of the reservoir and adding oxygen to the water, but the staff settled on buying simple solar-powered devices that mix up the water to disrupt the growth of the algae.

The anabaena is unusual in that it can adjust its depth in a lake to a level that is ideal for its growth, he said, and using the Medora SolarBee mixers defeats that ability.

For $202,000, the department bought four of the mixers, which should just handle the 160 surface acres of the reservoir when it’s full, Bohling said.

Among its other strategies to fight the problem, Loveland Water and Power will look at adjusting the level from which it pulls water from the reservoir to find the sweetest-tasting spot, he said.

The department also will conduct a $30,000 study in August, when algae start to bloom, on the best way to use powdered activated carbon in the water treatment plant to fight the smell and taste problems on that end, he said.

Several council members thanked the Water and Power staffers for their presentation and for their approach to dealing with a problem that has caused so much public concern.

#Runoff news: Big expectations for the Arkansas River this season

From KRDO.com (Katie Spencer):

“We’re definitely looking at high water this year,” said Dennis Wied, the owner of Raft Masters.

Wied said he has high expectations for this season.

“This is going to be one of those epic kind of years where the real high water enthusiasts will be out in numbers,” Wied said.

Water flows are about 1,200 cubic feet per second in the Arkansas River right now, but rafting officials say they’re expecting that to grow three times as the snow continues to melt.

Arkansas River Basin High/Low graph May 22, 2017 via the NRCS.

@DenverWater is running water in the @COHighlineCanal after headgate replacement

Highline Canal Denver

From TheDenverChannel.com (Connor Wist):

Water is flowing through parts of the 71-mile High Line Canal for the first time since May 2015. Denver Water is sending water down the canal from the South Platte River after replacing a 130-year-old diversion dam in Waterton Canyon.

In 2015, Colorado experienced a high spring runoff that destroyed the dam sitting 1.5 miles up the canyon. The wooden structure built between 1880 and 1883 washed away in the runoff. Denver Water successfully replaced the High Line Canal diversion structure in 2016.

Denver Water typically only runs water to the canal, with an 1879 water right, periodically from April to October. The water runs depend on the availability of South Platte River water and demand from irrigation customers. With the new dam complete, Denver Water is able to send water to the canal once again with the current conditions…

The High Line Canal starts in Douglas County at Waterton Canyon and runs to Green Valley Ranch in northeast Denver. The path of the canal falls within one mile of hundreds of thousands of residents.