Loveland water and sewer rates to increase

Lake Loveland

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Saja Hindi):

As the city of Loveland prepares its 2018 budget for final approval, at least one thing is certain: Water and wastewater rates will go up.

Two years ago, the Loveland City Council approved a 10-year plan for increases in rates for water, wastewater and power. The reasons included supporting aging infrastructure maintenance and new capital projects.

In 2017, the rates went up 9 percent for water and 11 percent for wastewater and are expected to go up by the same percent increase in 2018.

Despite these recent increases, the city of Loveland’s rates aren’t the highest in the region.

A presentation to the Fort Collins City Council ranked Loveland lowest in water rates and second lowest in wastewater rates in 2017, among the major Northern Colorado cities. Among a larger pool, Loveland’s rates were ranked in the middle…

Commercial customers don’t have a tiered rate structure but instead an allotment, depending on the size of their connections to the city’s system, as well as excess water use charges if applicable.

Wastewater has a minimum charge and is based on usage.

#CAWaterFix plan and the #ColoradoRiver @HighCountryNews #COriver

The infrastructure for the California Water Fix stretches about 38 miles from the intakes on the Sacramento River to Clifton Court. There are three intakes on the Sacramento River, each at 3,000 cfs. The water from those intakes is collected into the north tunnels and then flows to the intermediate forebay where the water is commingled together. The hydraulic grade for the twin tunnels is set and the water flows then through the main tunnels down to the Clifton Court pumping plant where the water is lifted into Clifton court and then can be distributed to either the Jones Pumping Plant or the Banks pumping plant, which are south of Clifton Court. The three north tunnels are approximately 9 miles. The tunnels are fairly large because they are part of a gravity fed system. Those tunnels range from 28 feet to 40 feet in diameter. They convey the water from the intakes to the intermediate forebay; at that point, the water is split into the 40-foot diameter twin tunnels, which then carry the water 30 miles to the south to the Clifton Court pumping facilities. There is a total of 69 miles of tunnel. The main tunnels will be designed with a 100-year lifespan; primarily this means that the tunnel segment design will be very robust. The gasket liner will be the primary liner for the system; there will be no steel liner inside. Graphic credit Special Committee on Bay Delta via Maven’s Notebook.

Here’s a report from Emily Benson writing in The High Country News. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

If the Delta tunnels deal sinks, it could mean increased pressure on the already-strapped Colorado.

California’s water supply relies in part on a system of canals — the State Water Project and the federally-managed Central Valley Project — fed by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the estuary upstream of San Francisco Bay. The canals irrigate 3 million acres of farmland and supply drinking water for 25 million people south of the Delta. Two pump stations drive the system, but they’re so powerful that they can reverse the current of the rivers and trap fish, imperiling endangered species like Delta smelt. Environmental regulations stipulate that the pumps power down at certain times, allowing water to flow to the bay instead of the farms and cities at the other end of the canals.

The Delta tunnels project, also called California WaterFix, would consist of two huge tunnels 30 miles long and 40 feet in diameter — more than twice as tall as a semi-truck. By altering how water moves through the Delta, state officials say the tunnels would make California’s water supply more reliable while helping to keep threatened fish species away from the pumps. Opponents say continuing to divert critical freshwater flows would further destroy the delicate ecosystem of the Delta. Better options include conservation measures like drip irrigation and regional self-sufficiency, especially as water supplies dwindle under a changing climate, says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, the executive director of environmental group Restore the Delta. “The water supply reliability that they’re promising is not going to be there with climate change,” she says.

A reliable supply of water from the Delta is crucial for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves 19 million people in Los Angeles and other southern California cities. On average, Metropolitan gets more than half its water from the State Water Project; the rest comes from the Colorado River, says Bill Hasencamp, the water district’s manager of Colorado River resources.

If the Delta tunnels aren’t built — and government officials don’t find another way to shore up water supplies to Metropolitan and other water districts — that could leave Southern California more reliant on the Colorado, says Jeff Kightlinger, the general manager of Metropolitan. The issues in the Bay Delta are one of the major obstacles that California faces in agreeing to the “drought contingency plan,” an agreement among California, Arizona and Nevada on how to pull less water from the Colorado River during droughts. “We need to understand with some certainty where we stand on the Delta to make commitments on the Colorado River,” Kightlinger says.

Water agencies plan to finish the drought contingency plan next year, and Kightlinger says he’s still hopeful that they can stick to that timeline. Though last winter’s wet weather gave water managers a slight reprieve in urgency, climate change is shrinking the water supply in the Colorado Basin over the long term. “We know we’re going to need (the drought contingency plan) eventually,” Kightlinger says. “The more progress we can make now, ahead of a crisis, the better off we’re going to be.”

From (Joe Little):

A $16 billion-dollar plan to upgrade California’s water system would increase a ratepayer’s water bill upwards of $3 a month. However, the Metropolitan Water District and Department of Water Resources said the upgrade is necessary to update a 50-year-old system, improve water reliability, and protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta environment.

“It’s absolutely essential that we take care of this,” said Department of Water Resources Director Grant Davis. “This resource is akin to the heart and lungs of the state of California.”

San Diego County gets roughly 30% of its water from the delta. MWD officials said it’s still cheaper than desalination or purified recycled water.

If approved by several state water agencies and organizations, California WaterFix would take years to complete. The Metropolitan Water District, which sells the Delta water to the San Diego County Water Authority, will vote on WaterFix October 10th. The Westlands Water District voted against the project Tuesday. However, water officials were unclear what impact that would have on the overall project.

COGCC 7-point plan to modify rules in aftermath of Firestone explosion public hearings in December 2017

Photo credit Croft Production Systems.

From The Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Filling abandoned pipelines with yellow-colored cement, ensuring small flow lines connected to wells are secure, and clarifying which agency has jurisdiction over oil and gas pipelines are the goals of new rules the state is considering in the wake of the deadly Firestone home explosion on April 17.

The new rules— slated for public hearings in December — is part of the seven-point plan rolled out by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Aug. 22…

[Matt] Lepore said the effort has several goals — updating existing regulations as well as adding new requirements. Several of the goals focus on the circumstances that surrounded the explosion that killed two men and seriously injured a woman…

Part of the rulemaking is to ensure there’s no confusion about active and abandoned pipelines in the future…

Lepore said the proposed rules will ensure all pipelines are tested to find leaks — including the smallest lines that previously had been exempted from routine, annual testing.

The pipeline at the center of the investigation into the explosion was a 1-inch flow line.

Lepore said the state also will look at how pipelines are abandoned, with the initial thought that it’s OK to leave them in the ground, as long as they’re severed from the well, the ends cut off below the ground, and the pipeline filled with a “cement slurry type material.”

Lepore said the rule is likely to call for that cement to be yellow colored, the same color the 811-Call Before You Dig program uses to mark oil and gas lines…

Lepore said he hopes to ensure oil and gas companies are not only part of the state’s 811-Call Before You Dig program, but that they’re Tier 1 members. Tier 1 members work more closely with the 811 organization than Tier 2 members…

One area of concern is the industry’s use of pipelines to transport oil from wells in the field to processing facilities.

Local governments and neighborhoods have clamored for energy companies to invest in pipelines to transport the oil or water pumped from the well to a larger processing facility. It’s a way to reduce dust and traffic from tanker trucks that traditionally have pulled the mix from storage tanks at the well site.

But there’s a question over who has jurisdiction over those pipelines — the COGCC, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission or the federal government, Lepore said.

Similar questions surround the pipelines used to carry produced water from the well site — water that flows up through the well and often is mixed with oil and natural gas, he said.

The COGCC also is asking other states how they handle the issue, he said.