Watch: Mountain biker jumps over Tour de France peloton —


It’s happened again—another daredevil mountain biker has leapt across the Tour de France peloton and produced a breathtaking video of the action.

Last week our editor Fred Dreier wrote about his affinity for this annual rite of July, and the growing tradition behind it. The long list of riders to jump the Tour de France includes Dave Satson, Alexis Bosson, Romain Marandet, among others.

Now, we can add Valentin Anouilh to the list. The 19-year-old jumped over the peloton during Monday’s 10th stage of the race. Behold, the video below.

Don’t try this at home, kids.

@DenverWater: Draft Lead Reduction Program Plan comment period open

Here’s the release from Denver Water:

On July 1, Denver Water announced the launch of a summer education and outreach program to inform the public about a proposed Lead Reduction Program Plan.

The executive summary of the draft plan is available for review and public comment until Aug. 7, 2019. Interested customers and stakeholders can access the executive summary and comment form here.

The water delivered to homes and businesses in Denver is lead-free, but lead can get into water as it moves through lead-containing internal plumbing and service lines that are owned by the customer and are not part of Denver Water’s system. By March 2020, Denver Water is required by the state health department to add orthophosphate to the drinking water it delivers to customers to help reduce the corrosivity of the water and reduce the risk of lead getting into the household water from these sources.

The draft Lead Reduction Program Plan is a proposed alternative to adding orthophosphate to the water system. The comment period is intended to gather input from the community about the components of the proposed program, which include:

  • Increasing the pH level, which further reduces the corrosivity of the water.
  • Providing at-home water filters for all customers in Denver Water’s service area with a suspected lead service line, free of charge.
  • Replacing the estimated 50,000 to 90,000 lead service lines with copper lines in Denver Water’s service area at no charge to the customer over the next 15 years.
  • To implement the multipart program instead of the orthophosphate additive, Denver Water is required to submit a variance request to the EPA in mid-August, which will incorporate public input. Following that submittal, the EPA will initiate its own public comment period before it decides which approach will be implemented.

    Community members are encouraged to learn more and speak directly to Denver Water team members at a variety of events this summer. The project website has an updated calendar of activities.

    Denver Water also has a map of estimated customer-owned lead service lines as a starting point to help customers identify the likelihood of their home having a lead service line. Customers are encouraged to verify the accuracy of the information represented by this map for their residence by requesting a free water quality test from Denver Water.

    Graphic via Denver Water

    The latest “Gunnison River Basin News” is hot off the presses from the Gunnison Basin Roundtable

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

    Snow Melt Promises to Fill Reservoirs

    While it is mid-July, when you look to the mountain peaks, you will likely see snowcaps – another reminder of the extraordinary winter Colorado experienced. We saw huge storms well into spring and cooler than average weather which kept snow on the ground longer than usual. In particular, cold temperatures in April and May helped boost snowpack levels to record highs. The snow and the resulting runoff is filling the reservoirs across Colorado.

    As reported on The Denver, “The snowmelt boost couldn’t have come at a better time, according to Greg Smith, a hydrologist with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. There’s a big sense of relief this year that we’ve kind of rebounded.” The forecast center’s conditions map indicates above average water supply forecasts for reservoirs.

    Lawn. Be. Gone. — @H2ORadio

    Here’s an in-depth look at turf in western cities from H2ORadio. Click through to listen to the podcast or read the transcript. Here’s an excerpt:

    It’s hard to avoid getting swept up in Wendy Inouye’s enthusiasm when she talks about her garden.

    “I love it!” she gushes. “I have so much joy from my garden. Every time I come out I always pause and look at it. You know that saying, take time to smell the roses? I literally do that every single day I come and go from my home.”

    Inouye’s front yard at her home in Thornton, Colorado, just north of Denver, is full of “xeric” plants—shrubs and groundcovers adapted to survive in dry climates.

    Inouye took out her lawn last summer and replaced it with a Colorado-friendly landscape, including red rock penstemon, hopflower oregano, and a plant called red-birds-in-a-tree. She didn’t want to waste any more water and said the grass in her front yard had no function. It was in full sun and its water needs were astronomical. By taking out 750 square feet of turf and replacing it with a variety of water-saving plants surrounded by rocks and mulch, she and her husband have reduced their water usage from 413 gallons a day to 200.

    Pointing to a larger area Inouye said, “This was just one big flat piece of grass that was full of weeds.” She was tired of fighting nature, using pesticides and herbicides. Now she says, she has fun with all her beautiful flowering plants.

    Ditching the “Green Carpet”

    It was a lot of work for Inouye to transform her landscape even though she hired contractors to assist with turf removal and changes to her irrigation system. But she got support for her decision from the City of Thornton through a turf removal rebate program that paid her $1.00 for every square foot of turf she took out.

    Water conservation and efficiency are important to every utility across the country, and especially in the West where “aridification” is occurring. That’s the term being used in the Colorado River Basin to describe the region’s transition to a water scarce environment due to climate change—a condition that will result in a shrinking supplies.

    Water utilities have various strategies to get customers to lower usage. Many offer rebates for installing low-flow toilets and efficient showerheads in older homes to reduce indoor use. With outdoor use, water providers can use “cash-for-grass” incentives as Thornton did for Wendy Inouye. They can also offer free mulch, rebates for efficient irrigation systems, and audits of outside water use.

    Recently the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), a non-profit dedicated to efficient and sustainable use of water, produced an assessment concluding that utility-sponsored programs to promote sustainable landscapes save water. Tom Chestnutt, the lead author of AWE’s study, said that turf removal programs have been very successful, and they hit that tipping point causing customers to do something different with their front yards.

    The idea of a “green carpet”—lots of grass in front of homes, buildings, and sometimes, even medians—has been described as an aesthetic (inappropriately, many say) imported from the East. In the West, where lawns require irrigation, some water providers see them as out of sync with a western lifestyle…

    Lawns As a “Dispersed Version of a Reservoir”


    [Jeff] Tejral says that Denver Water did an analysis of a cash-for-grass rebate in 2016 and it did not make sense to start one. Tejral’s group calculated the water savings and the cost of the rebates to be $75,000 dollars per acre foot of water conserved, which the agency concluded was not a wise use of its ratepayers’ funds. He said that it would make sense to spend that amount, if they were in dire straits, and a turf rebate were the last option available.

    However, there may be another reason that Denver Water doesn’t have a turf removal program—lawns might be a safety net where use could be restricted in extreme drought conditions. At those times of severe need, Denver Water could drastically cut back outdoor usage which would be tolerated more easily than restricting use inside homes. Cutting back lawn watering is much easier to get customers to accept than limiting their shower times or their clothes washings.

    This idea was expressed by Colorado University historian Patricia Nelson Limerick in the book she wrote about Denver Water, Ditch in Time: The City, the West and Water. As Limerick writes, Denver water managers see lawns offering a service that is far from evident to most observers. Lawns are devices that receive water that would otherwise bypass Denver unused. She adds that lawns offer a cushion if severe drought should arise, and without that cushion demand would be hardened. “Take out the lawns and water would be directed only to needs that would not be susceptible to restriction.” Limerick writes that to the late Chips Barry, former manager of the Denver Water Department, lawns looked a lot like a dispersed version of a reservoir, holding water that could, in urgent circumstances, be shifted to respond to genuine need.

    In response, Tejral said that they are shifting away from viewing turf the way Barry did. He insists there are other benefits to having lawns and landscapes in general, and it’s important to manage landscapes for what is best in the long term for a lot of different purposes, which could include aesthetic. He said that Chips Barry was reflecting on where Denver was, but as it matures as a city and integrates with others, people are going to have to learn the true function of landscapes, which is complicated.

    Graphic credit: H2ORadio

    John Wesley Powell expedition reached confluence 150 years ago [July 16, 1869]

    A stopover during Powell’s second expedition down the Colorado River. Note Powell’s chair at top center boat. Image: USGS

    From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Bob Silbernagel):

    George Young Bradley was ecstatic on July 16, 1869. “Hurra! Hurra! Hurra!” he wrote in his journal that day. “Grand River came upon us, or rather we came upon that suddenly.”

    Bradley was one of 10 members of the John Wesley Powell expedition that had left Green River, Wyoming, on May 24, 1869. The first 53 days of their expedition took them down the Green River, to its confluence with the Colorado, then known as the Grand River…

    By the time they reached the confluence with the Grand River, they’d already lost one boat and many of their provisions in a wreck at what they called Disaster Falls. They’d survived the Gates of Lodore and a variety of smaller rapids.

    They’d had their last contact with the outside world two weeks earlier, when they stopped at the mouth of the Uintah River. Powell and two others had hiked to the nearby Uintah Indian Reservation, mailed letters for crew members and replenished some of their lost provisions. One of the team members, Frank Goodman, left the expedition there.

    By July 16, they were more than halfway through their 98-day journey, although they had no way of knowing it then. Nor did they know what lay ahead — the great rapids in Cataract Canyon,…Glen Canyon and in the Grand Canyon itself.

    But they did know that the confluence of the Green and Grand rivers was a key point on the journey. Bradley was surprised that the junction of the two rivers didn’t produce the sort of tumult that occurred when lesser streams flowed into the Green…

    “At last without warning … in broke the Grand with a calm strong tide very different from what it has been represented,” Bradley wrote. “We were led to expect that it was a rushing, roaring mountain torrent.”


    Powell, the one-armed scientist and surveyor, was more pragmatic in his description of the confluence:

    “The lower end of the canyon through which the Grand comes down is also regular, but much more direct,” he wrote. “Down the Colorado the canyon walls are much more broken.”

    Powell said the team could see the snow-clad peaks of the La Sal Mountains when they looked up the Grand River.

    The expedition spent four days at the confluence of the two great rivers, resting, taking scientific observations and repairing boats and other gear…

    they relaunched their boats on July 21, and soon found themselves in the rough water of Cataract Canyon.

    That afternoon, Powell’s boat, the Emma Dean, was swamped. Powell, Sumner and William Dunn were tossed into the river.

    “We cling to the boat, and in the first quiet water below she is righted and bailed out; but three oars are lost in this mishap,” Powell wrote…

    But they also rode through many rapids. On Aug. 21, just below Bright Angel Creek, Powell stood up on the Emma Dean, hanging by a leather strap with his one good hand.

    “The boat glides rapidly where the water is smooth, then, striking a wave, she leaps and bounds like a thing of life and we have a wild, exhilarating ride for ten miles, which we make in less than an hour.”


    By then, their rations were nearly gone, and they were uncertain how much farther they had to go to reach the Virgin River, where they knew Mormon settlements were nearby. There was also near mutiny among some of the crew members.

    The combination of these factors led three members — O.G. Howland, his brother Seneca Howland and William Dunn to leave the expedition on Aug. 28, hike to the top of the canyon and attempt to march westward to civilization.

    How to be smarter with your water — The Highland Ranch Herald

    From The Highlands Ranch Herald (Alex DeWind):

    Centennial Water has been serving Highlands Ranch for more than three decades, with 90% of water coming from renewable river supplies, according to its website.

    The local water district advocates for water efficiency throughout the year, but specifically collaborates with the Irrigation Association during July, Colorado’s warmest month.

    Leading by example

    Centennial Water follows a number of practices to ensure the community’s water supply is used wisely.

    Those practices include utilizing high-efficiency rotary nozzles, which use 20% to 30% less water than traditional nozzles by slowly delivering multiple rotating streams instead of a fixed stream.

    The water district also promotes a process called cycle and soak, which applies water in three, shorter cycles, allowing the water to seep into the soil, “promoting healthier plants and landscape and eliminating water runoff.”

    Soil in Highlands Ranch has high clay content, meaning its water capacity is reached very quickly, sometimes as fast as five minutes, according to Thomas Riggle, Centennial Water’s water conservation and efficiency coordinator.

    “Once soil reaches its water capacity, it can no longer hold water, which results in runoff,” Riggle said in the release. “Therefore watering for multiple, shorter periods of time is more effective and promotes healthier plants and soil.”

    Centennial Water strives to educate community members on the history of water in Highlands Ranch and how to implement best water conservation practices. Schools, businesses and organizations can request a visit from a water ambassador or Centennial Water staff member at The water expert will go over local water challenges and solutions.


    Centennial Water offers a number of incentive programs that reward residents for their water conservation efforts.

    Piloted in 2018, the turf replacement program offers a rebate of $1 per square foot —with a $1,000 maximum — to residents who replace water-intensive plants, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, with xeric or drought-tolerant vegetation, such as bee balm, aster, coneflower, sunflower and marigold. Replacement with artificial turf or hardscape may be accepted but require further approval, according to Centennial Water.

    Another program piloted in 2018 is the high-efficiency nozzle retrofit program. Residents may receive $1 for each traditional, fixed spray nozzle they replace with a rotary nozzle, which fits on most popup sprinkler heads.

    To apply for an incentive program, visit Staff members evaluate the programs to ensure cost effectiveness for all parties involved.

    Pueblo Health Dept. installs water stations throughout city —

    From (Tyler Dumas):

    With high 90’s and triple digits expected to hit the area, water stations have been installed throughout the city, including City Park, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, and the El Centro Del Quinto Sol Rec Center.

    The most important message the department has…. stay hydrated.

    “With the heat and everything, just trying to keep people hydrated and making the healthy choice the easier choice so they can see those water filling stations and right away go fill and get some fresh water,” said ….

    If your business wants a water station, call the Pueblo Health Department.

    Thornton Water Project update

    From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

    Judge Juan Villasenor issued an order in 8th Judicial District Court on Sunday, granting the request of both No Pipe Dream and Save the Poudre to “intervene” in the lawsuit, essentially allowing both groups to back Larimer County’s decision to deny a permit for a section of water pipeline.

    The ruling states that both groups have an interest in the decision of whether the pipeline can be built to carry water from the Poudre River to Thornton, but that “neither organization nor their members’ interests are entirely or adequately represented by the existing parties.”


    The judge agreed in his ruling that those residents could be adversely affected by the pipeline and rejected Thornton’s argument that they should not have a say in the suit. He ruled that the group does have a legitimate interest in the case and is seeking the same result as the Larimer County — a court decision upholding the commissioners’ permit denial.

    “Thornton contends — facetiously in the Court’s view — that the interests that the No Pipe seeks to protect aren’t germane to its purpose,” the ruling states, stressing that the residents’ interests could be harmed if the pipeline were built along either route.

    “The outcome of this litigation could result in a loss of property through loss of the property itself, use, access or quiet enjoyment,” the ruling states, adding “Thus, No Pipe has an interest in the outcome of the litigation.”


    The judge also allowed a second group, Save the Poudre, to join the lawsuit because, like No Pipe Dream, the nonprofit was involved in the process all along and is seeking the same result as Larimer County.

    See Article 7.