Amid Drying Conditions, #ColoradoRiver Basin States Kick Off Negotiations On Future Policies — KUNC

Glen Canyon Dam aerial. Photo credit: USBR

From KUNC (Luke Runyon):

Officials from all seven states in the watershed sent a letter State letter to USBR re: Colorado River 2026 guidelines.[/caption] this week to Interior Department secretary David Bernhardt, letting the federal government know they’re ready to start hammering out details of operating guidelines for the biggest reservoirs in the country.

Dry conditions made worse from climate change have hit Lakes Mead and Powell hard during the last two decades, leaving them well below capacity.

But as those talks begin, long-standing tensions remain.

“The states noted in that correspondence the importance of engaging with water users, tribes, NGOs and Mexico as those discussions progress,” said John Entsminger, president of the Colorado River Water Users Association and general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Tribes, environmentalists and recreation advocates have routinely been kept out of past negotiations, and say they’ll be pushing for more transparency in crafting the new rules…

“Greater inclusion earlier in the processes, will likely lead to more creative solutions, with more buy-in from the affected parties,” said Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Brenda Burman. The agency oversees water infrastructure in the West…

Current guidelines put in place in 2007 expire in 2026.

Graphic credit: Western Water Assessment

#Silverthorne’s new #stormwater fee to appear on April water bills — The Summit Daily

From The Summit Daily (Taylor Sienkiewicz):

esidential properties will be charged $10 per quarter and commercial properties will be charged $50 per quarter. The fee was passed by Silverthorne Town Council as part of the stormwater management plan to help maintain stormwater drainage facilities and the quality of local rivers, ponds and drinking water.

Town Manager Ryan Hyland noted in a news release from the town that the fee will allow Silverthorne to conduct projects outlined in the 2020 Drainage Master Plan, which include preventative measures against property damage from floodwaters and negative impacts to water.

The release also stated that the fee will help pay for new curb, gutter and sidewalk infrastructure to improve pedestrian corridors.

Silverthorne seen from Ptarmigan Peak. In the background Buffalo Mountain is on the left, while Red Mountain and Mount Silverthorne are located adjacent to each other to the right. By Av9 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15733158

Navajo Generating Station Demolished

From The Arizona Republic (Ryan Randazzo). Click through for the photo gallery:

The demolition of the largest coal burner in the West is a milestone for environmentalists who fought, and continue to fight, to shift the country to renewable energy. But it was a somber moment for the hundreds of people who worked at the plant, some following multiple generations of family members before them, who benefited from the good-paying jobs.

When the plant was running at full capacity, the 775-foot-tall stacks were the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, but the coal-burning days for the station ended last year as utilities decided to purchase cheaper power from natural-gas plants and renewables like solar.

Now the stacks will no longer linger in the background of tourists’ photos at the famous Antelope Canyon slot canyons and Lake Powell.

The coal plant, and mine 80 miles away that fed it, employed about 750 people before operations began to wind down two years ago, and nearly all of the workers were Navajo and Hopi.

Hundreds of people lined the highways and cliff sides outside Page on Friday to watch the demolition, which sent a huge plume of dust creeping across the landscape…

…environmentalists have urged the plant’s closure for years, noting its contribution to climate-warming greenhouse gasses, the impact from the coal mine on the land and water, and the other pollutants that came out of the emissions stacks creating haze over the region.

Upper Thompson Sanitation District Plans For The Future — EPNews.com

From the Upper Thompson Sanitation District via The Estes Park News:

Upper Thompson Sanitation District (UTSD) was established almost 50 years ago. Since then, they have been silently supporting and growing to meet the increasing water treatment needs of Estes Park. From humble beginnings, the UTSD service operation has expanded to over 4,300 households and 96 miles of collection system infrastructure in the Estes Valley. When the plant was built in 1976, it employed some of the most innovative technologies available and provided the highest level of treatment for sensitive waterways. This technology, coupled with unwavering commitment, has enabled UTSD to continue service even through moments of crisis, from fire to flood.

Although excellent care has been taken of the decades-old wastewater treatment facility (WWTF), the effects of age, changing building codes, and outdated equipment mean it is nearing capacity to treat wastewater to the high standards that Estes Valley’s sensitive environment requires. In addition, upcoming stringent regulatory treatment requirements related to nutrients, metals and temperature will be impossible to meet with the current facility. District Manager, Chris Bieker states, “The cost of maintaining our current infrastructure is not worth the investment because it will be obsolete nearly as quickly as it’s repaired. We also have the additional challenge of meeting treatment demand during the large fluctuations of peak visitation season in the summer. We are nearing the limits of processing ability now and need to prepare for tomorrow.” To face these challenges, UTSD has been laying the groundwork to relocate and expand the WWTF to a site near the current plant. This new facility will be able to handle community and visitor growth as well as the more stringent regulatory requirements now and well into the future.

With the large-scale improvements necessary to continue safe and efficient water treatment, additional funding is needed to finance the project. The UTSD sewer rate increase has been assessed at 11% each year over the next three years; 2021-2023, and diminishing increases for subsequent years. In 2021 this translates into an extra $5.33/month for most customers in the District. This fee will vary from customer to customer assessed as a flat rate fee or calculated on metered water use.

“As residents ourselves, we share this cost and are committed to use the resources we have available as responsibly and efficiently as possible” Bieker said. When completed, the new WWTF will meet upcoming strict water quality standards. The new WWTF will also serve future customer and community demands while continuing to preserve the clean water that preserves wildlife and the natural habitat. “It means we will be able to continue to be good stewards of our environment, continue to protect the headwaters, and ensure our quality of life,” states Bieker.

“Most people don’t think about the work we do at UTSD, but it is critical to maintaining our most precious resource, our water” says Bieker. “This is our home and we want to treat it right.”

If you have questions about the upcoming changes please visit UTSD’s website at utsd.colorado.gov.

Aerial view of Lake Estes and Olympus Dam looking west. Photo credit Northern Water.