#Drought news: D0 (Abnormally Dry) conditions improve in NE #Colorado

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:


This past week was marked by heavy rain across the mid-South and lower Midwest. The excessive rain broke daily precipitation records, caused flooding in many locations, and led to significant improvements to drought. The upper Midwest received significant snowfall as colder than normal temperatures dominated the area. Precipitation also fell in other parts of the country including the northern Plains, Northeast, and much of the West. Dry weather was confined to southern California, the Desert Southwest, and lower Southeast. A stark temperature contrast existed between the western and eastern halves of the country. While the West saw record-breaking cold, the East saw record-breaking warmth. Temperatures in the West were typically between 8 and 12 degrees below normal, though the northern Rockies and High Plains saw departures of more than 20 degrees below normal. In the eastern half of the country, departures ranged from 2 to more than 20 degrees above normal…


An upper-level trough persisted in the West this week, bringing cool temperatures to all areas and moderate to heavy precipitation to parts of Idaho, western Oregon and Washington, the San Juan and Snowy Ranges in Colorado and Wyoming, and the Sierra Nevada. Abnormal dryness developed in northeastern lower Idaho as seasonal precipitation deficits intensified. Severe drought was introduced southeast Utah as water year precipitation and snow water equivalent are ranked in the lowest percentiles. Urban areas of southern California already in severe drought have continued to experience largely dry conditions; conditions remain at status quo because of the recent rain and lack of widespread water supply issues…

High Plains

Some light to moderate precipitation fell in central and eastern Nebraska and the eastern Dakotas, while heavier precipitation fell in southeast Kansas during the series of major rain/snow events in the central and southern United States. Abnormally dry conditions improved in parts of eastern Nebraska, north-central Nebraska, southeast South Dakota, northeast Colorado, and southwest Nebraska. A small part of the moderate drought in central South Dakota improved to abnormal dryness. Despite ample snowfall amounts in South Dakota in the last week, water content was low and did not provide much relief in the moderate to severe drought conditions. The area of severe drought in the western Dakotas was changed to long-term drought (indicated by the change from “SL” to “L” on the map) as the impacts are limited to lingering groundwater and long-term precipitation deficits…

Looking Ahead

Over the next week, a few more storm systems are forecast to affect the central, southern, or eastern parts of the continental United States. A low pressure system and associated cold front are expected to trigger additional rainfall from east Texas into the mid-South from Wednesday into Thursday. The active pattern is forecast to continue into next week as a stronger low pressure system will likely emerge into the Great Plains. With this system may come additional rain and snow in the central third of the continental United States, though the exact storm track and associated precipitation remain uncertain at this time. Conditions in the West will likely stay generally cooler than normal, while temperature swings are more likely east of the Rocky Mountains as the next few storm systems and associated fronts move across the country.

FERC extends Gross Reservoir hydroelectric license comment period to April 9, 2018

From The Boulder Daily Camera (Charlie Brennan):

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is weighing a Denver Water request to raise the Gross Reservoir Dam, expand the reservoir and amend its hydroelectric license for the utility, issued a supplemental environmental assessment of the plans Feb. 6. At that time, the commission set a 30-day window for public comment on the document, set to expire March 8.

Save the Colorado and The Environmental Group of Coal Creek Canyon, through Boulder attorney Mike Chiropolos, and, separately, WildEarth Guardians, filed requests to extend that comment period by 60 days.

“Upon consideration, we find that a 30-day extension is warranted,” the commission’s secretary notified parties in a letter on Tuesday. Comments on that supplemental environmental assessment are now due to FERC by April 9…

Tim Guenthner and his wife, Beverly Kurtz, who live in the Lakeshore Park neighborhood on the north side of the reservoir, have studied issues around the proposed project for years.

Guenthner, with his background in engineering, has concerns about environmental, quality of life and safety considerations relating to Denver Water’s plans for development of an on-site quarry at Osprey Point, as well as the use of roller-compacted concrete to enlarge the dam. That’s a technique that he says has never been applied to a dam project at so great a scale. Previously, a dam raise of 117 feet at San Vicente Reservoir in San Diego County was the highest using this technique — not only in the United States, but the world…

The couple, who are part of The Environmental Group of Coal Creek Canyon, urge those interested in learning more about the $380 million Denver Water project to attend a meeting at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Coal Creek Canyon Improvement Association Community Center located at 31528 Coal Creek Canyon Road. The session will be used to plan social media campaigns and educate the public about the project’s current status and implications.

@UCLA: 100% local water possible for Los Angeles by 2050 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Map of the Los Angeles River watershed via Wikimedia.

Here’s the abstract for the recently released study:

This report assesses the potential to improve water quality standards while integrating complementary One Water Management practices that can increase potential local water supplies for the City of Los Angeles (the City). This final report summarizes the current practices and future opportunities at the City-owned Water Reclamation Plants and underlying groundwater basins and highlights the importance of considering all aspects of integrated water management even when dealing with water quality or supply-focused projects.

Implementing watershed-scale best management practice programs to meet stormwater permit requirements will significantly improve water quality in all watersheds. However, additional mechanisms such as increasing Low Impact Development implementation and comprehensive source tracking and source control mechanisms will be required to potentially eliminate water quality exceedances. There are multiple efforts occurring in the City and the region to increase the recharge of recycled water into the ground and the volumes of remediated groundwater extracted.

This research further assessed the impacts of potential water supply portfolios, with greater volumes of locally-supplied water, on GHG emissions and energy needs of supplying LA’s water. Conservation will be another powerful tool to decrease our dependence on imported water. This research demonstrates the complex interrelationships between all aspects of urban water management, including, for example, stormwater management and local water supply.

Sterling wastewater plant discharge fix will require bonding measure on fall ballot

Wastewater Treatment Process

From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Sara Waite):

…Public Works Director George Good and two wastewater employees met with officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding the wastewater treatment plant project and non-compliance issues with Sterling’s existing discharge permit. According to Saling, the city will be required to put a bond issue or a question approving city debt before voters for the treatment plant improvements; failure to do so would result in a $10,000 per day fine imposed dating back to last November…

The high-end estimate for the project is $36 million, but Saling said they are constantly looking at ways to save on costs. Wednesday, Saling said he expects that a presentation on the rate study for water and sewer rates will be given to the council in the next month.

Saling said the council will be asked in a coming meeting for permission to retain the services of a law firm to craft the ballot question language. He wants to put it on the November ballot to avoid the cost of having a special election. He is working on a voter education campaign, starting with inserts in city water bills to explain why the project is needed and what the plans are…

Council member Bob McCarty suggested the campaign should stress the age of the current system; the existing wastewater treatment plant began operations in 1978, Good told the council. Saling noted that the city has 82 miles of sewer lines, the oldest of which was placed in 1898. According to Saling, the life expectancy for the physical structures of a wastewater treatment facility is about 20 to 25 years.