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

Upper Colorado River Basin October 2017 precipitation as a percent of normal via the Colorado Climate Center.

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

Drink beer, save rivers — @GoodRiverBeerCO

From 5280 (Tyra Sutak):

…while most new breweries on the scene were hoarding their earnings to curb debt, Good River Beer made a commitment to donate two percent of its gross profits to river conservation efforts. Last month, the brewery officially launched its own non-profit, called “2% to Rivers,” to do just that.

“I believe that every for-profit should be involved in some sort of conservation effort—some sort of movement that they really believe in,” says Odoski, who was inspired to create Good River Beer after meeting Hartman on a nine-day river trip in Utah. A passion for whitewater kayaking, craft beer, and do-goodery is at the core of the trios’ business.

While committing a portion of its profits to benefit organizations like American Whitewater and the Colorado Water Trust comes with challenges, the team at Good River Beer vows to stay the course.“The meaning behind what we’re doing far outweighs the challenges,” Odoski notes. While GRB currently relies on contract breweries like Denver’s Sleeping Giant to brew its bold Class V Colorado Style IPA and Gunny German Black Lager, Odoski and his team have plans to open a tasting room in the near future.

Supporting Good River Beer’s conservation efforts is easy. Coloradans can pick up 12-ounce six-pack cans of the brewery’s American Authentic Pilsner and Class V Colorado IPA and 750 ml bottles of Fu Fighter—a 8.9 percent ABV Belgian Golden Ale—at nearly 400 accounts throughout the Denver metro area.

Bonus: To boost fundraising efforts, the brewery also throws a handful of events each month, including educational opportunities, pint nights, and beer dinners. Check out Good River Beer’s Facebook page for info on upcoming happenings.

#Stormwater fee passes in #ColoradoSprings

Heavy rains inundate Sand Creek. Photo via the City of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Independent.

From KKTV (Jessica Leicht):

Colorado Springs voters passed Ballot Issue 2A, a dedicated stormwater fee. The city says it will generate $17 to $20 million annually for stormwater infrastructure and maintenance.

The fee stems from a lawsuit filed by the EPA, State of Colorado and Pueblo County against the City of Colorado Springs. It alleged the city failed to “adequately fund its stormwater management program,” causing problems for cities to the south. In an agreement with Pueblo, the City of Colorado Springs committed to providing at least $17 million in funding every year for stormwater infrastructure improvements to prevent issues downstream.

Mayor John Suthers says the money the city was using under that agreement, came out of the city’s general fund. Now, he says the general fund money can be reallocated to hire more police officers and firefighters.

“What this means is we’ll be able to take this dedicated revenue stream, deal with our legal problems surrounding stormwater and we’re also going to be able to deal with our public safety staffing issues,” Mayor Suthers said.

The approved measure means a monthly fee, of $5.00 per residential property, and $30.00 per acre for non-residential properties. The fee will show up on utility bills starting in July 2018.

The city says, properties bigger than five acres with significant areas of previous surface will be assessed by the Water Resources Engineering department.

Opinion: Two Ways Congress Can Create More Incentives for Water Savings — Water Deeply

Low flow toilet cutout via The Ultimate Handyman

From Water Deeply (Kerry Stackpole):

Western legislators can be leaders on two critical issues: water-saving tax reforms and funding the EPA’s WaterSense conservation program, says Kerry Stackpole of Plumbing Manufacturers International.

CONGRESS HAS A marvelous opportunity as members negotiate the various elements of tax reform and the federal budget. Our senators and representatives have the chance to revise tax rules to reward consumers who save water and to authorize the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s WaterSense program, which has saved 2.1 trillion gallons of water over a little more than a decade. Authorization, or codification, would provide the WaterSense program with greater permanence by giving it a direct annual congressional appropriation rather than leaving its annual budget up to the EPA’s discretion.

Members of Congress from California and other Western states can lead this advocacy, which can benefit the whole country. Federal tax reform related to water efficiency rebates and WaterSense authorization can create more incentives for water savings across the entire nation, saving the necessity for a state-by-state approach to this challenge.

Making rebates received for water conservation improvements exempt from federal income tax is “win-win” thinking. Right now, if you receive a $100 rebate for installing a water-efficient toilet you must pay federal taxes on it. That should change.

The bipartisan Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act (H.R. 448/S. 1464) amends federal tax law to exclude homeowners from paying income tax on rebates from water utilities for water conservation improvements, including the purchase of manufactured products certified by the EPA’s WaterSense program. This legislation is sponsored by Jared Huffman (D-California) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) in the House and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) in the Senate.

WaterSense is a voluntary public-private sponsorship program that encourages the use of water-efficient toilets, showerheads, faucets and other plumbing products – most of which are manufactured by U.S. companies. More than 21,000 product models bear the WaterSense label. While saving 2.1 trillion gallons of water since 2006, WaterSense has enabled consumers to keep more than $46.3 billion in water and energy bill savings in their pockets. As a result, the program enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, as well as from plumbing manufacturers, retailers, water utilities, state and local governments and nongovernmental organizations.

The savings achieved by WaterSense, while impressive, would be even greater if more American homeowners and businesses installed water-efficient plumbing products. A 2017 research study released by Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency showed that water-efficient toilets could save up to 170 billion potable gallons of water per year across just five states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas – all facing water scarcity due to drought, regional population growth and other factors.

Three bills have been introduced that include language providing WaterSense authorization: the Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 1700), the Clean, Safe, Reliable Water Infrastructure Act (S. 1137) and the Water Advanced Technologies for Efficient Resource Use Act of 2017 (H.R. 3248).

WaterSense is a federal program that has achieved quantifiable water and energy savings, a rave review from the EPA inspector general and bipartisan support. Let’s reward this strong track record with authorization and consumer relief on rebate taxes – and set an example of how to encourage all Americans to save water.