@CWCB_DNR: September 2020 #Drought Update

Click here to read the update (Megan Holcomb/Tracy Kosloff):

As the end of the water year draws near, Colorado experienced the hottest August on record since record keeping began in 1895. As of September 15th, the entire state is covered in dry conditions with over 50% of our state in extreme or exceptional drought. Minor temporary soil moisture improvements were made with the September 9th snowfall. The early storm broke numerous records including a record low temperature, earliest freeze, and the shortest number of days between a 100 degree day and a measurable snowfall. This widespread precipitation event extended over the eastern plains and resulted in over 10 inches of snow in north central Colorado and the San Luis Valley ‐ with some areas logging up to 18 inches. While this event brought SNOTEL measures to near average precipitation for September, August and September are still extremely (or near record) dry months for the state. On September 21, 2020, Governor Polis expanded Drought Plan activation to all 64 Colorado counties.

Colorado Drought Monitor September 22, 2020.

The Sept. 24 U.S. Drought Monitor, logged 0.4% of the state in D4 (exceptional) drought conditions; D3 (extreme) drought in 50% of the state; D2 (severe) drought covering 38%; and D1 (moderate) drought covering 11% of the state.

The 90‐day Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) (June 22 to Sept 19) shows consistent dryness across the state with deeper shortfalls more prevalent throughout north central Colorado and front range. Below average precipitation is expected to continue over the next two weeks.

Tropical Sea Surface Temperatures indicate La Niña conditions, and the CPC issued a La Niña Advisory. There is now a 75% chance that weak La Niña conditions will continue throughout the fall/winter, increasing the likelihood of warm extremes for the state and less snow for the southern mountains and eastern plains.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center three month outlook maps indicate higher chances for above average temperatures over fall and winter with a slightly enhanced chance of below average precip.

Statewide reservoir storage is currently at 85% of average, down from 90% last month. Storage in the northern half of the state is near average while the southern half of the state ranges from 67% to 77% of average.

Municipal water providers continue to report increased demands and most municipalities are experiencing normal to slightly below normal storage. Water providers are monitoring conditions as they consider the need for future restrictions. Currently, the following municipalities have active watering restrictions, due to the compounding impacts of wildfire: Glenwood Springs (active Aug.15), Fort Collins (beginning Oct 1)

Boulder: City launching comprehensive #flood and #stormwater master plan update, seeking community working group members

Boulder. By Gtj82 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Patriot8790., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11297782

Here’s the release from the City of Boulder (Samantha Glavin):

The City of Boulder has kicked off its update to the Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater (CFS) Master Plan.

The master plan was last updated in 2004 and guides city policy for flood management; stormwater quality and drainage; emergency preparedness and resilience; regulations; project prioritization; and education and outreach.

To support the update to the plan, the city is seeking community members to join a Community Working Group (CWG). The CWG will provide feedback to city staff and the project consultant during the master planning process. It will be comprised of individuals who live in Boulder who bring a broad range of perspectives to flood and stormwater management (i.e., residents, property owners, community advocates, water professionals). The CWG will be asked to:

  • Identify and examine issues related to stormwater and flood management;
  • Review and comment on technical documents;
  • Provide feedback about plan completeness and alignment with community goals and values;
  • Assist with community outreach; and,
  • Participate at public events, including at advisory boards and City Council meetings.
  • Interested individuals can apply by submitting an application online by Oct. 14, 2020. Hard-copy applications can be requested by emailing cfsinfo@bouldercolorado.gov or calling Laurel Olsen at 720-456-8819. Chosen applicants will be informed of their selection by Nov. 30, 2020. Working group meetings will begin in early 2021.

    The CWG is the first step in the CFS master planning process, which will also include a larger public process to gather ideas and feedback from the community. Learn more about Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Master Plan and timeline at https://bouldercolorado.gov/flood/comprehensive-flood-and-stormwater-master-plan.

    #Monument trustees approve $22 million financing plan to fund water system improvements — The #ColoradoSprings Gazette

    Water infrastructure as sidewalk art

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Benn Farrell):

    At the board’s Sept. 21 meeting, they heard recommendations from town staff and special legal counsel regarding the potential for using the sale of revenue bonds to fund major improvements to its water system over the coming years.

    However, instead of revenue bonds, it was recommended Monument create an ordinance to enter a site lease agreement and lease purchase agreement to market Certificates of Participation (COPs) — an alternate form of financing…

    Presently, the town has a 2A water fund and an enterprise water fund for its improvements. Formal revenue bonds would have the town fund improvements from just one fund, Richey said. Using Certificates of Participation is a way many municipalities, counties and school districts fund projects without having to raise taxes and is a financial structure approved by the Colorado Supreme Court, Richey said. The collateral for the agreement would be town-owned property, infrastructure and improvements.

    With the agreement, Monument would lease its collateral property to BOK Financial in Denver, which would act as the financial trustee in exchange for an anticipated $22 million. BOK Financial then leases back the property to the town, and Monument pays “base rents” to pay off the $22 million over time, Richey said.

    Richey said Certificates of Participation also carry added protection for the town since they involve leases over a particular term and not transfer of title. Monument would not lose title to any of its assets, he said.

    While town staff plans on raising $22 million through marketing these COPs, other terms like interest rates and repayment amount will depend on market conditions when the certificates go to market. The agreement guarantees the interest rate would not exceed 4.5%, but with present rates it is expected to be just under 3%, Town Manager Mike Foreman said…

    Terms for repayment would not exceed 30 years, but Richey said town staff is negotiating for lower terms. Richey also said as base rents are paid, subleased property in the agreement could be removed, which is the goal, or substituted with other property of equal or lesser value.

    The board approved the ordinance 6-0 with no opposition from trustees, staff or the public…

    Foreman noted the anticipated $22 million from the COPs would leave an additional $5 million in the 2A fund.

    Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project completed — KOAA.com

    From KOAA.com (Colette Bordelon):

    The Waldo Canyon Fire changed the way our community looks at natural disasters. A project designed in response to side effects of the blaze is now completed, and aims to be proactive, rather than reactive.

    Near Garden of the Gods lies the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project. It’s a 17-acre floodwater detention and sediment collection facility…

    After the Waldo Canyon Fire, the burned vegetation was not able to absorb moisture in the way it normally would. Consequently, the area saw flooding, with sediment rolling down the hillsides as well.

    So, the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project was designed, with the help of federal, state, and local agencies. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for $8.9 million bankrolled the project, as well as $844,000 from the city.

    Representatives from FEMA and the state visited the completed project on Monday. “If we could do more mitigation across the country, we’d be a much safer country, we’d be a much more resilient country,” said Peter Gaynor, the FEMA Administrator…

    In addition, approximately 100 people no longer live in the floodplain. “We’re really not moving people out of the floodplain, we’re moving the floodplain right? And so, we’re changing the shape and the footprint of the floodplain,” said Klein.

    The 169 acre-foot storage reservoir is estimated to hold around 360,000 gallons of water, according to the Stormwater Enterprise Manager for the City of Colorado Springs, Richard Mulledy.

    Mulledy said the project has made around 100 residents who previously lived within the floodplain safer. He also said they now do not have to pay for floodplain insurance, which can be expensive.

    Plus, it will create better evacuation routes during floods if necessary.

    Camp Creek channel via City of Colorado Springs