#Runoff news: Flood advisory for the Cache la Poudre

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Miles Blumhardt):

Our hottest weather of the season toady through the weekend will increase snowmelt and prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood advisory for the Poudre River.

The advisory runs today through 4 p.m. Monday from the mouth of the Poudre Canyon through Fort Collins. The hot weather in the mountains is expected to accelerate melting of an abundant snowpack, resulting in minor flooding of bike paths and trails in low-lying areas around Fort Collins…

Flood stage is 7.5 feet on the river. At 4:45 a.m. Friday, the river was at 6.2 feet. The forecast is for the river to rise to near 6.3 feet Saturday morning. At 6 feet, water spills into low-lying areas.

The Poudre was running at 2,310 cubic feet per second Friday morning through Fort Collins, which is strong enough to carry people downstream.

#Runoff news: Twin Lakes should fill next week — more water for the Roaring Fork River

Twin Lakes collection system

From Aspen Public Radio (Elizabeth Stewart-Severy):

Water levels on the Roaring Fork River are expected to rise next week as Twin Lakes Reservoir reaches capacity.

Officials at the Twin Lakes Canal Company expect the reservoir to fill between Tuesday and Thursday next week. That means that the 625 cubic feet per second of water that is typically diverted to the Front Range through a tunnel on Independence Pass will instead flow down the Roaring Fork River.

That, in addition to peaking snowmelt, means flows on the river could nearly triple next week. It is expected that the North Star Nature Preserve will flood. This is healthy for the wetlands.

Officials at the Bureau of Reclamation said releases from Ruedi Reservoir into the Fryingpan River will decrease over the weekend. This reduces the risk of flooding at the confluence of the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork in Basalt. Ruedi Reservoir is about 80 percent full.

From TheDenverChannel.com (Oscar Contreras):

Medano Creek is now approaching what’s called “surge flow,” a phenomenon where creek water flows in waves across the sand.

The combination of a sufficiently steep channel, a sandy creek bottom and plenty of flowing water only exists in a few places on Earth, according to the spokesperson, “and Medano Creek is considered the best place in the world to experience surge flow!”

Because of the unusually cold and wet conditions in May, peak flow is occurring a little later than average this year, the spokesperson said.

You can follow detailed creek conditions and forecast flow on the National Park Service website.

The video below, courtesy of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, shows you exactly what happens during surge flow:

#Snowpack news: Mid-May storm benefits South Platte Basin

Statewide snowpack Basin High/Low graph June 7, 2017 via the NRCS.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

In water circles, May 2015 came to be known as Miracle May due to the huge boost in snowpack storms that month provided in Colorado. This May’s snow also left the state in decent condition as the snowpack season winds down…

A mid-May storm particularly benefited the South Platte basin, while delivering precipitation to much of the state, the NRCS says.

After what’s been an up-and-down year for snowfall accumulations in the state, the NRCS said that May precipitation “provided a boost to water supplies, reassuring water managers that this year’s snowpack could provide ample water supplies entering the summer months.”

Reservoir storage statewide was at 109 percent as of the start of June, the agency reports. That’s also where things stand for storage in the Colorado River basin, while storage in the Gunnison basin is at 103 percent.

From The Boulder Daily Camera (Charlie Brennan):

The South Platte River basin, which encompasses Boulder County, was the largest benefactor of a mid-May storm that dumped snow at most elevations, and provided a significant boost to water supplies, according to the June snowpack and reservoir storage report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

May totaled 135 percent of normal precipitation statewide, after a less productive March and April. May also brought more precipitation than May of last year, or May 2014. Some Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) sites reported 200 percent or more of monthly precipitation, according to a news release.

The Boulder County area was pummeled on May 18 and 19 with as many as 42 inches of snow in some mountain locations near Allenspark and Ward.

With help from that storm, water year-to-date precipitation across Colorado trended upward from 108 percent of average last month to 111 percent of average this month. Those numbers provide reassurance to water managers that this year’s snowpack could provide ample water supplies entering the summer months.

South Platte River Basin High/Low graph June 7, 2017.

2017 #COleg: Gov. Hickenlooper signs HB17-1306 (Test Lead In Public Schools’ Drinking Water)

Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From the Colorado General Assembly website:

Concerning the financing of testing for lead in public schools’ drinking water, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

The bill directs the department of public health and environment (department) to establish a grant program to test for lead in public schools’ drinking water. The department will give the highest priority to the oldest public elementary schools, then the oldest public schools that are not elementary schools, and then all other public schools. The department may also consider ability to pay in administering the program. The department is directed to use its best efforts to complete all testing and analysis by June 30, 2020. The public school must provide at least 10% local matching funds and give the test results to its local public health agency, its supplier of water, its school board, and the department. The department may use up to $300,000 per year for 3 years for grants beginning on or after July 1, 2017, from the water quality improvement fund if there is money available after fully funding existing programs. The department shall provide 4 annual reports to the general assembly regarding implementation of the grant program, including any legislative proposals that may be warranted.

The bill appropriates $431,803 and 1.3 FTE to the department of public health and environment for the implementation of the act.

From The Denver Post (Monte Whaley):

House Bill 1306 received bipartisan backing and plenty of support from school and health officials. Lead in drinking water can lead to long-term health problems in children.

The measure 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 contribute 10 percent in local matching funds and give the test results to the local public health agency, water supplier, school board and CDPHE.

Just seven of Colorado’s 178 school districts have tested their water for lead, and in those districts 100 schools were found to have some lead in their water, health officials said.