Windsor is looking at buying into the Windy Gap Firming Project

Windsor Lake/Mummy Range

From The Greeley Tribune (Sara Knuth):

But as the [town board] looks at other plans to add water, it could introduce higher rate increases, higher fees for developers — or a combination of both. It just depends on the projects Windsor participates in.

As the town grows, it’s looking at ways to prepare for an increase in water use. Among the recommendations Windsor Water Resource Manager John Thornhill presented to the board is to look at joining Windy Gap Firming Project and maintain participation the Northern Integrated Supply Project — both massive water supply projects managed by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

Windsor is one of 15 northern Colorado communities already planning participating in NISP, which is also managed by Northern Water.

The project, which would also impact Evans, would provide 40,000 acre-feet of raw water to all of the participants — enough for 80,000 families. Of that, Windsor would get 3,300 acre-feet of water, 8.25 percent of the total project.

Still, town officials project that Windsor will need to supply 15,803 acre-feet of water in the future. That leaves the town with an 8,731 acre-foot gap in the total amount of water the town is currently has plans for — including NISP — and what officials know they will need in the future.

In addition to participating in the Northern Water projects, Thornhill recommended budgeting money for water conservation, as well as acquiring new water from other providers in the region, such as the North Weld County Water District.

As it stands now, Windsor’s treatable water supply comes from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, a Northern Water project that delivers more than 200,000 acre feet of water each year to 960,000 people in the eight counties it serves.

Managing water in the arid West — The Moab Sun News #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Prior to 1921 this section of the Colorado River at Dead Horse Point near Moab, Utah was known as the Grand River. Mike Nielsen – Dead Horse Point State Park

From The Moab Sun News (Sarah Stock):

The world of Colorado River management is in flux…

What have the 2007 DCPs meant for reservoir levels? Basically, rather than Lake Mead dropping below the point where it can generate power and pump water to Las Vegas, the water level has been boosted with releases from Lake Powell. In effect, both reservoirs diminish together more slowly. This was meant as a temporary fix to get us through the tough times, but with the new reality that comes with climate change, this temporary fix won’t work for much longer…

The Lower Basin plan should address some of the “structural deficit,” but at a cost to some current water users in all three states.

The Upper Basin Drought Contingency Plan does three things: establishes a method for “banking” conserved water each year; cloud seeding (not a conspiracy theory); and last but not least, joint operations of the Colorado River Storage Project reservoirs (CRSP).

The water-banking scenario works with what water wonks call “demand management,” and there is a big debate about how that will play out. In the dream-world scenario, farmers fallow fields, temporarily — with compensation — and the water will flow down to Lake Powell without being used by anyone else and will be saved for a year when there is a shortage of water. The catch is that it will take years to develop a system of shepherding, accounting and paying for the saved water.

The joint operations of the CRSP reservoirs is what will carry the bulk of importance in the next few years. The new DCP outlines a system where Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Navajo Reservoir and the Aspinall Unit in Colorado can all be used to prop up Lake Powell water levels, which in turn prop up Lake Mead water levels.

Once again, this is not a permanent fix. We might have a few years operating under this scenario, but that’s all the Upper Colorado River Commission is banking on. These drought agreements will lapse in 2026 (if they make it that far). Then new ones will have to be established.

Raindrop formation in turbulent clouds is observed at long last — Physics World

Greg Hobbs In the Upper South Platte Watershed looking towards Windy Peak and the Kenoshas 9/12/2017

Click here to read the paper. Here’s the abstract:

An aeroplane-mounted 3D imaging system has been used to show that turbulence causes water droplets in clouds to cluster together. The long-predicted effect has been confirmed by scientists in the US and Germany who found that droplets group together in clouds in ways that would not be expected if they were randomly distributed. The clustering may have an impact on rainfall, particularly in highly turbulent clouds, but the researchers say more data is needed to confirm this.

Click here to read the paper, “Fine-Scale Droplet Clustering in Atmospheric Clouds: 3D Radial Distribution Function from Airborne Digital Holography.”

Western Slope Water Summit recap

Gunnison River Basin via the Colorado Geological Survey

From The Montrose Daily Press (Andrew Kiser):

Farmers have a taxing job growing crops due to water rights and, now, a multi-year drought, said Montrose County Commissioner Sue Hansen.

Those concerns were brought to the forefront during the Western Slope Water Summit — held Tuesday morning at the Montrose County Event Center. The group mostly discussed the water shortage and the drought crisis on the Western Slope.

Hansen said the county wanted farmers and producers to know about those challenges and about other potential obstacles under the new drought contingency plan…

As far as the effects of the drought, residents need look no further than the Gunnison River.

According to the Colorado River District, the river is snared between climate change-driven drought and overuse by the Lower Basin states to which a sure quantity of water must be transported each year, under the 1922 Colorado River Compact…

Andy Mueller, Colorado River District general manager, added the state’s farmers “are battling urban areas for their livelihood.”

“I think we, as an Upper Basin, need to put the hammer down and need to call them out in terms of what they’re doing,” he said.