New Leader Takes Over as the Upper #ColoradoRiver Commission Grapples With Less Water and a Drier #Climate #COriver #aridification

Amy Haas, executive director, Upper Colorado River Commission (Source: Bureau of Reclamation via the Water Education Foundation)

From the Water Education Foundation (Gary Pitzer). Click through to read the whole interview, here’s an excerpt from the article:

Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.

As executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, Haas is likely to play a major role in helping to address changing hydrologic conditions along the Colorado, drought planning and ongoing water conservation efforts, as well as tribal water rights among Native Americans and their impact in the Colorado River Basin.

The commission, created by the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact of 1948, is comprised of representatives from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, all of whom rely extensively on the Colorado River and its tributaries to support important agricultural economies and the demands of a growing urban sector. Among the commission’s duties is a key one: Ensuring the flow of the Colorado River at Lee Ferry, the dividing point between Upper and Lower Basins, does not drop below 75 million acre-feet for any 10 consecutive years as required by the 1922 Colorado River Compact.

That task is challenging because the two basins have many differences, not the least of which is geography. In the Lower Basin, Lake Mead sits above the big cities and farms and is the bank where conserved water is stored. Not so in the Upper Basin where Lake Powell sits below the majority of water users. Conserved water stored in Powell cannot be returned to users in the Upper Basin.

Haas talked with Western Water in July, shortly after she was named to her new position, about the Upper Basin’s challenges, including drought planning, climate change and tribal water rights. The transcript has been edited for space and clarity.

Seventh annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival will be held August 30 – September 2 , 2018

Sandhill Cranes

Click here for all the inside skinny:

The seventh annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival will be held August 30 – September 2 in beautiful Steamboat Springs and Hayden, Colorado. It will include four days of mostly free events thanks to donations from people like you and our wonderful sponsors, partners, and volunteers.

The Bud Werner Memorial Library at 1289 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO will once again serve as headquarters for the festival. Click here to view the locations of all festival venues.

The latest #GunnisonRiver Basin newsletter is hot off the presses

Gunnison River Basin via the Colorado Geological Survey

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Ouray, Montrose, and Delta counties are all under fire restrictions. Up to date information for each county and details on the restrictions for each ‘stage’ of fire restrictions can be found here.

General Gunnison River Basin water level reports can be found through this late July article by the Montrose Daily Press. As always, the most up-to-date data and river levels can be found on our Gunnison River Basin website.

Read some of our curated water news archives:

Voluntary water efforts don’t always prompt users to save water as desired, but Paonia brought about water conservation with measured success.

Manhattan #Kansas: Republican River Compact Administration to Meet August 21, 2018

From the Republican River Compact Administration via The High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal:

The Republican River Compact Administration will hold its 58th annual meeting at 10 a.m. CDT on Aug. 21. The meeting will be hosted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture at 1320 Research Park Drive in Manhattan, Kansas.

The RRCA meeting will focus on water-related issues and activities, including compact compliance, within the Republican River basin in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In addition, RRCA will hold a work session to prepare for the annual meeting at 8 a.m. CDT Aug. 21, also at the KDA Manhattan office. Both the work session and the annual meeting are open to the public.

Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska entered into the Republican River Compact in 1943 to provide for the equitable division of the basin’s waters, remove causes of potential controversy, and promote interstate cooperation and joint action by the states and the United States in the efficient use of water and the control of destructive floods. The RRCA is composed of three commissioners representing Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska: Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources Chief Engineer David Barfield; Colorado State Engineer Kevin Rein; and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Director Jeff Fassett.

Individuals who have questions regarding the meeting should contact KDA water management services program manager Chris Beightel at or 785-564-6659 for more information.

For additional information about the Republican River compact and this year’s annual meeting, please

#Drought news: Glenwood Springs moves to Level 2 of their #drought plan

Glenwood Springs via Wikipedia

From 4 CBS Denver (Matt Kroschel):

Glenwood Springs initiated Level 2 of its Drought Management Plan earlier this week rolling out the call for residents to lower their water usage drastically.

According to officials, stream flows in Grizzly Creek and No Name Creek, the city’s primary raw water sources, are at historically low levels.

Water personnel are concerned whether adequate water supply can be diverted to treatment facilities to maintain current demands if stream flows continue to drop.

Low stream flow conditions will likely persist until heavy and continuous rainfall occurs.

City officials are asking all water users to keep water usage at a minimum until water levels improve.

Specifically, the city is strongly encouraging all water users to avoid outdoor water irrigation from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. when temperatures and direct sunlight are high…

Additional water conservation information and drought management plans are available on the City’s website:

Burlington: Republican River Compact Use Rules meeting, Monday, August 13, 2018

Downtown Burlington (2014) via Wikipedia.

From The Yuma Pioneer:

A public meeting will be held in Burlington on Monday to go over the state engineer’s Republican River Compact Use Rules.

The meeting will be 10 a.m. at the Burlington Community and Education Center, 340 S. 14th St. State Engineer Kevin Rein and staff will provide updates involving the rule making.

An advisory committee of volunteers met with the State Engineer’s Office monthly for a while to provide input. The committee has not met in quite some time as the state worked on various issues.

Republican River Water Conservation District General Manager Deb Daniel explained the formulation of these “basin rules” came about as the Republican River Domain is larger than the RRWCD boundaries.

The RRWCD was created through legislation in the Colorado Legislature early last decade, to assist the State of Colorado in coming up with ways to help bring the state into compliance with the 1942 Republican River Compact.

Well owners within the RRWCD pay an assessment fee annually to help fund augmentation efforts, such as the creation of the compact compliance pipeline located at far east edge of Yuma County right by the state line with Nebraska. Many wells also have been retired through the CREP program, and surface water rights purchased — all in an effort to get the State of Colorado in compact compliance.

Most of the wells located within the domain but outside the RRWCD are located south of Burlington and down into Cheyenne County.

The wells owners have not been subjected to the assessment fee, but Daniel explained the wells still are factored into compact compliance. Those wells do not have an augmentation plan.

Eventually, when these new rules are put into place with the Water Court, there possibly could be forced curtailment unless an augmentation plan is put in place. The wells could be brought into the RRWCD, and pay the annual assessment fee.

Daniel said efforts to have a bill carried in the Colorado Legislature to change the RRWCD boundaries to match the Republican River Domain have not come to fruition.

Any interested parties are invited to attend Monday’s public meeting.