Here’s the release from the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Chris Woodka):
District Supports Sports Betting for Water Projects
The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Board of Directors [September 17, 2019] voted to support a measure that would allow sports betting in Colorado as a revenue source for water projects.
Proposition DD would provide money for water projects by collecting a tax of 10 percent on net proceeds from sports betting operations at casinos in Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek. Proponents say this could amount to $10 million to $16 million annually. The money would be part of the funding package for Colorado’s Water Plan.
“It ties into the water plan, but would be just one of the methods to generate revenues,” said Alan Hamel, a member of the Southeastern board.
The board voted 10-3 to support Proposition DD.
The water plan calls for $3 billion in new revenue for water projects over a 30-year period beginning in 2020.
Proposition DD was placed on the Nov. 5 ballot as a referendum by the Colorado General Assembly under HB1327.
The Southeastern District is the sponsor for one of the state’s largest pending water projects, the Arkansas Valley Conduit, a pipeline project that will provide clean drinking water to 50,000 people in 40 communities east of Pueblo. The Bureau of Reclamation estimates the AVC will cost $600 million, of which 35 percent will be paid by sources within Colorado.
Sometimes I’m asked whether I hold out any hope concerning the fate of humanity and climate change. I have a hard time answering. I have no doubt that things are going to get hotter before they get better; Denver, for example, just broke its heat record for September, hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Do I doubt that humans will somehow figure out a way to survive? Not really, at least for a few hundred years — maybe a few thousand, even. What ought to worry us about climate change is not the fate of humanity, or even of the Earth; after all, this planet has another 800 million to 1.2 billion years for life on it to re-evolve, wherever it leads. Rather, a climate in flux is a major challenge to our happiness right now. We have barely started to grapple with the despair of the modern age, and an unstable climate brings the prospect of increasingly conflict-driven lives.
Take the cover story for this issue, in which editorial fellow Nick Bowlin reports from Colorado’s San Luis Valley, a high-altitude community of ranchers and farmers that is finding it hard to conserve water. The state has warned the locals that if their current experiment in self-governance fails, it will step in to manage their water for them. That means they will lose some of their freedom. Yet it’s not always easy to do the right thing. Last year, severe drought squeezed the community pretty hard. When this year brought heavy snow and plenty of runoff, farmers felt driven to make up for their losses — pumping water to grow hay and crops instead of recharging the groundwater. In a less volatile climate, people would have a better chance of succeeding and sharing water. But faced with extremes, humans falter. Conservation yields to self-preservation.
The ticking clock of climate change, in other words, makes it harder to do the right thing. Our health and happiness are threatened across the globe. The leading thinkers who gathered in Stockholm last month for World Water Week warned of increased global conflict over water, citing erratic rainfall and food shortages in South Sudan and Syria as examples.
From the San Luis Valley to South Sudan, climate change is challenging our values, forcing us to advance our ethics faster than the temperatures rise. And because the American West is more sensitive to this kind of change than much of the country, we who live here face the pointy end of this ethical challenge. But that’s where my hope lies. My hope is that people who care about the West, who read this magazine, will help guide the world through the challenges ahead. That means starting now and working steadily — thinking big, showing up and doing good.
The 37th Annual Water Seminar will be kicked off by SWCD’s new executive director, Frank Kugel. He has a strong track record of building partnerships and leveraging local resources for collaborative water solutions. Frank will speak to some of the challenges SWCD sees facing water management in southwestern Colorado, and opportunities for our communities to proactively address them.
Anxious for winter storms? First, we’ll hear about the forecast from KKTV meteorologist Brian Bledsoe, and cutting-edge methods for snowpack measurement from Jeff Deems of the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
No water seminar in 2019 would be complete without a discussion of the state’s current feasibility investigation of a demand management program. Mark Harris, Grand Valley Water Users Association, will moderate a panel of heavy hitters on the topic: Colorado Water Conservation Board Director Becky Mitchell, The Nature Conservancy Water Projects Director Aaron Derwingson, and Colorado River District General Manager Andy Mueller.
Further expanding on the subject, we’ll hear a proposal from local economist Steve Ruddell and consultant Dave Stiller which challenges the notion that a successful *and* voluntary, temporary, compensated demand management program would be impossible. State Senator Don Coram and State Representative Marc Catlin will react to this proposal and provide their thoughts more generally on funding water management in Colorado.
And if you haven’t heard the latest results of the West Slope Risk Assessment, John Currier, Colorado River District, will be summarizing the report for southwestern Colorado and taking questions. Jayla Poppleton, Water Education Colorado, will also preview several exciting programs and content making waves across the state. Watch your inbox for the final program, coming soon!
Reserve your seat now. Registration includes catered breakfast and lunch. Click here to register or call 970-247-1302.
Colorado Master Irrigator is an intensive, 4-day, 32-hour educational course for Republican River Basin irrigators.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program is focused on offering advanced training in conservation-oriented, irrigation management practices for farmers and farm managers. Area producers from the Republican River Basin have led the curriculum development of this program.
Topic experts including University Extension specialists will serve as instructors for this course. The in-depth and interactive class format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among participants and instructors.
The goal of Colorado Master Irrigator is for producers to graduate from program equipped with examples and insights on how they might potentially increase or maintain profitability by implementing different tools and strategies on their operations to improve:
– water use efficiency
– energy-use efficiency
– water conservation
– soil health
From Colorado Master Irrigator (Brandi Baquera) via The Julesberg Advocate:
How to improve agricultural water management to increase water and energy use efficiency, water conservation, and overall farm profitability is the focus of a new, annual four-day educational program called “Colorado Master Irrigator” that will be available to Republican River Basin irrigators next year.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program curriculum will be taught by topic experts from Colorado and from other Ogallala states. The program’s interactive course format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among farmers, including with some farmer instructors who will share insights they’ve gained through taking steps to increase water and energy-use efficiency and conservation on their operations. The main goal of the Colorado Master Irrigator program is to serve today’s farmers while benefitting the Ogallala aquifer resource that is so important for irrigators and the region’s communities.
A ~35-member advisory committee has met monthly throughout 2019 to design and prepare the program for launch in early 2020. The advisory committee is made up of producers from across the Republican River Basin along with agricultural consultants, local landowners, Colorado State University Extension, state and federal agency staff, and others.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program will cover practical and economic aspects related to the adoption of a wide range of agricultural water management tools, technologies, and strategies. “Colorado Master Irrigator is about helping us farmers figure out how we can get the perfect amount of water on our crops,” said Brian Lengel, a Burlington-area producer who serves on the program’s advisory committee.
On September 18, 2019, Colorado Master Irrigator was awarded a Water Reserve Supply Fund (WSRF) grant that will help support the program’s continued development over the next three years. Several local grants, along with funds awarded by CSU’s Water Center, served as matching funds required in applying for this state-level funding.
“Significant amounts of time and creativity, contributed by area farmers in particular, has been crucial in terms of developing the Colorado Master Irrigator program and attracting the support necessary to successfully establish this program,” said Brandi Baquera, Colorado Master Irrigator’s program coordinator.
The four-day course, which will cost $100, will take place in Wray over four consecutive weeks: February 12, February 17, February 26, and March 4, 2020. To graduate, participants must complete all 32 course hours, engage with classmates and instructors, and consider committing to using certain agricultural water management strategies and tools covered by the program.