How Water #Reuse Can Help Meet the West’s Water Needs — Water for #Colorado

Water reuse via

From Water for Colorado (Laura Belanger):

The West faces a water supply gap, and the reasons are simple. Our quickly growing cities and towns are adding demands on our already stretched water supplies. Water reuse can help us fill the gap.

So what is water reuse and why is it important? First, it’s important to understand the difference between the two primary types of reuse: potable and non-potable reuse. Many states in the West currently allow for non-potable – or purple pipe – reuse for things like landscape irrigation, industrial purposes, commercial laundries, and fire protection, among other things. But a majority of purple pipe reuse is for outdoor landscape irrigation which really only benefits us during irrigation months (less than half of the year). But with potable reuse – where water is treated to very high quality standards to ensure it’s safe and often blended with other supplies – that water can be used anytime, anywhere and for anything. Potable reuse helps stretch supplies and meet more demand with the same volume of water. And it doesn’t require an entirely separate set of pipes (purple) to deliver it.

Western Resource Advocates is working with water utilities, local and state agencies, and other organizations to help increase water reuse around the West to address this growing problem. In Colorado specifically, WRA is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop regulations for direct potable reuse and advance legislation to increase reuse to help the state’s water supplies. Recycled water has been used for decades in Colorado and states across the nation and has long been proven to be a safe, cost-effective tool for additional water supply. In fact, the State of the Rockies Poll found that 78% of westerners “support using our current water supply more wisely by encouraging more conservation and increasing water recycling.“

Currently, WRA and our partners are working to advance four bills in the Colorado legislature that would allow recycled water to be used for:

  • toilet flushing
  • marijuana cultivation
  • edible crop and community garden irrigation
  • growth of industrial hemp
  • Other states, like Florida, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, currently allow for recycled water to be used for toilet flushing and edible crop irrigation, and have successfully supplemented their water supplies this way. Colorado’s Water Plan also specifically calls for state agencies to identify how the state can foster increased reuse to help address growing demands, and these initiatives are a great step in that direction. By embracing water reuse for these applications and others we can help bolster our stretched water supplies, and work to help, shrink the gap between those supplies and the demands of our growing cities and towns. Water reuse, in concert with other water-smart tools and strategies, can help us provide for our communities while also protecting our beloved rivers and lakes, keeping them healthy and preserving the quality of life that they afford for all of us.

    @OWOW_MSUDenver: Watershed Summit 2018, June 28, 2018 #shed2018

    Click here for the announcement and to register:

    This year’s “Shed ’18” Watershed Summit is going to be better than ever! With over 200 water utility executives, business leaders, conservation experts, and other professionals coming together and sharing tested solutions, you will surely come away with new insights and ideas to help position your organization for success.

    This year’s event will highlight…
    Resiliency: Preparing and Recovering from Fire, Flood, & Drought
    Colorado Water Plan Funding
    Activating Communities for Change
    Responsible Growth in Agriculture and Urban Water
    Technology Innovation
    And much more!

    The “Shed ’18” Watershed Summit is produced through a collaborative partnership between the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Denver Water, the City of Boulder, the One World One Water Center, Resource Central, and the Denver Botanic Gardens. Building on the success of the last 3 years, this one-day summit helps you connect with industry leaders from across Colorado.

    $40.00 Early Bird registration ends May 31st!

    Scholarships Available!

    The “Shed ‘18” Watershed Summit Scholarship covers registration fees and conference meals. The application information and questions must be submitted by June 1st !

    Click Here to View Application

    NISP: Fort Collins continues to try to influence final project

    Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) map July 27, 2016 via Northern Water.

    From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):

    With a key final report looming for two proposed Poudre River-fueled reservoirs, Fort Collins City Council will weigh whether staff will try to negotiate over the city’s remaining concerns.

    Past city comments helped steer the Northern Integrated Supply Project in a more agreeable direction, according to a staff report for Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. But concerns still remain. Staff members hope a negotiation might quell, or at least mitigate, some of them…

    According to city staff, the prime concerns are:

  • a reduction of peak flows in the river, and related loss of river health and increased flood risk;
  • the unknown effect the project may have on water quality;
  • an unclear and “inadequately funded” adaptive management plan;
  • concerns that there’s not enough money gong to mitigation or river enhancement.
  • Officially, the city does not support NISP, but it has engaged in conversations with project organizer Northern Water on the project that has been talked about for more than a decade.

    City staff is pushing for more formal negotiations — the City Council stripped that specific language in a similar resolution in February 2017 — because the permitting process is nearing its end. The Army Corps of Engineers is poised to release its final environmental impact statement at the end of June, according to the city.

    The city isn’t a direct participant in the Northern Integrated Supply Project, though it is considered a stakeholder. The Corps doesn’t usually accept public comment on final environmental impact statements but is poised to do so this time, according to city staff. However, it will also likely be late enough in the process that public comment alone won’t be able to make change much.

    Any negotiations would likely include a give-and-take with Northern Water, such as the city’s help in expediting remaining permits, though staff didn’t speculate about what else it may be.

    “As with any such discussions regarding complex matters and potential agreements, there are no guarantees of success,” according to the staff report [ed. Click through to the Coloradoan to read the report]. “Furthermore, the approach will depend on Northern Water’s willingness to participate.”

    #Drought news: Wildlife winners and losers

    Southwest Drought Monitor May 22, 2018.

    From The Cortez Journal (Ryan Simonovich):

    Birds and fish struggle with less water, but bears benefit from warmer weather

    Some animals, such as birds, do not need to drink much water because they metabolize water from the food they eat, said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski.

    But drought conditions decrease the moisture in vegetation, which is detrimental to animals’ hydration. This can be problematic for lactating females, for instance, because they need extra water to produce milk.

    For this reason, Parks and Wildlife hopes monsoons this summer will bring moisture to the vegetation, creating a larger inventory of food for animals.

    The warm spring, which has so far stayed clear of a major freeze, has been beneficial for bears, Lewandowski said.

    Last year, there was a late freeze that affected bears’ natural food supply. Bears then came into town to forage in humans’ trash. This year, food such as plants and berries are growing and available for the bears to eat.

    Dry years also affect fish habitats. Low river and creek water levels mean fewer places for fish to go. Fish eat bugs, and the more water there is, the more bugs there are. When water is warmer, there is less oxygen available in the water.

    At the Durango fish hatchery, Parks and Wildlife is releasing fish into the wild earlier than normal because there is less water available for the hatchery to use.

    Species have adapted to different climates for thousands of years, so there is no threat of a mass extinction, Lewandowski said. However, biologists are worried that long-term drought will have harmful effects on wildlife.

    New school landscape helps students grow – News on TAP

    Sensory garden designed with Colorado native plants provides unique learning environment.

    Source: New school landscape helps students grow – News on TAP