Pueblo County pours more than $12 million into rural #water projects — The #Pueblo Chieftain

Arkansas Valley Conduit map via the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Chris Woodka) June 2021.

Click the link to read the article on the Pueblo Chieftain website (Tracy Harmon). Here’s an excerpt:

Rural Pueblo County residents are expected to see improvements to their drinking water in the next few years, thanks to $12.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act Funds being disbursed by Pueblo County Commissioners…Projects receiving funding include the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which is working to deliver drinking water to Avondale and Boone as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Arkansas Valley Conduit project, said Chris Woodka, issues management coordinator for the district. It will receive $1.2 million to build delivery lines out of the bureau’s trunk line in eastern Pueblo County. That will bring water to about 1,600 Avondale residents and 230 Boone residents. Avondale Water District also will receive $3.2 million and the town of Boone’s water project will get $1.5 million…

The communities’ water will come out of the Pueblo Reservoir. Once the water arrives in the eastern Pueblo communities, water managers will only have to re-chlorinate it before getting it to their customers, Woodka said…

Of the remainder of the $12 million water infrastructure funds, Beulah Water Works and Colorado City Metro will get more than $3 million. Last July, the Colorado City Metropolitan District dealt with a low water pressure crisis caused by an internet outage at the district’s water treatment plants.

The #climate spiral, showing changes in global temperature since 1880. 2022 edition, by @marksubbarao and NASA SVS

Report: From the Ground Up How Land Trusts and Conservancies Are Providing Solutions to #ClimateChange — The Lincoln Land Trust #ActOnClimate

Click the link to access the report on the Lincoln Land Trust website (James N. Levitt and Chandni Navalkha):

As communities worldwide make protecting the climate a priority, land trusts and conservancies of all sizes and capac­ities are seeking greater clarity in how to address climate change through land conservation and stewardship. Policy makers and decision makers are considering how to address climate-related impacts in communities, states, and regions. Funders and donors are seeking to invest in projects and initiatives which offer durable, lasting solutions for reducing carbon emissions and improving climate resilience.

This report—written by James Levitt, a global expert and educator in land conservation, and Chandni Navalkha, an international leader in sustainable management of land and water resources—offers numerous case examples of successful initiatives along with the following guidance for stakeholders in the private and public sectors looking to boost the potential of civic organizations to implement natural climate solutions:

  • Empower civic-sector initiatives that are creative and ambitious in scope and scale.
  • Invest in initiatives with clear strategies and measurable impact.
    Aim for broad collaborations.
  • Share advanced science, technologies, and financial engineering techniques.
  • Support initiatives that are built to last, able to adapt, and ready to replicate.
  • About the Authors

    James N. Levitt is the Director of the International Land Conservation Network and leads the Sustainably Managed Land and Water Resources goal area’s Cambridge-based team at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is also a Fellow at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds an ongoing Fellowship at Highstead, a non-profit organization advancing land conservation in New England. Levitt focuses on landmark innovations in the field of land and biodiversity conservation, both present-day and historic, that are characterized by five traits: novelty and creativity in conception; strategic significance; measurable effectiveness; international transferability; and the ability to endure. He has written and edited dozens of articles and four books on land and biodiversity conservation. He has also lectured widely on the topic in venues ranging from Santiago, Chile to Stockholm, Sweden. Among his current efforts, Levitt plays an instrumental role in the effort to advance the mission of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), which is to connect organizations around the world that are accelerating voluntary private and civic sector action to protect and steward land and water resources. Levitt is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Management (Yale SOM). He was named a Donaldson Fellow by Yale SOM for career achievements that “exemplify the mission of the School.”

    Chandni Navalkha is the Program Manager for Land Conservation Programs within the Department of Planning and Urban Form, where she works on projects to advance and accelerate the enduring protection of land and water resources worldwide. Prior to joining the Lincoln Institute, Chandni was a fellow with the Sri Lanka Program for Forest Conservation, conducting research on the impacts of conservation on local livelihoods near the Sinharaja World Heritage Site. Chandni has worked for organizations in North America, Latin America, and South Asia supporting urban, peri-urban, and rural communities involved in voluntary land and resource conservation, and earlier in her career worked in change management for private and public sector organizations as a consultant with Accenture.

    March 2022 #LaNiña update: three-bean salad — NOAA #ENSO

    Click the link to read the article on the NOAA website (Michelle L’Heureux):

    Three-bean salads are a blend of sweet-sour tastiness, implying all good things come in threes. Well, depending on your opinion of La Niña, maybe not all good things, as La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern—reasserted itself in the tropical Pacific this past month with some of the strongest atmosphere-ocean coupling of our double-dip La Niñas so far (winters of 2020-21 and 2021-22). La Niña is now favored to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2022, with nearly equal chances of ENSO-neutral or La Niña thereafter. Is a La Niña three-peat in the offing?


    Back up, La Niña strengthened in February? It did, despite the fact that sea surface temperatures in the key monitoring region of the tropical Pacific, the Niño-3.4 region, appear to have bottomed out in December, with a monthly value of -1.1°C (ERSSTv5 data set). Since then, the monthly values have warmed slightly, though February 2022 remained chilly at -0.9 °C. However, the February average smoothed out some notable variability: the weekly average Niño-3.4 index was -0.6 °C at the beginning of February and then decreased to -1.1 °C in the past week. Quite a dive!

    Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean from mid-January through February 2022 compared to the long-term average. East of the International Dateline (180˚), waters remained cooler than average, a sign of La Niña. Graphic by Climate.gov, based on data from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Lab. Description of historical baseline period here.

    Confused by all the numbers for presumably the same Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature index? Don’t be– averages for shorter time spans can fluctuate around a lot more than longer averaging periods. This is the difference between weather and climate. Day-to-day or week-to-week weather can change a lot relative to monthly and longer seasonal climate averages, which do not vary as much. Even as the weekly and monthly values have jumped around, the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), NOAA’s official measure of ENSO, has remained constant at -1.0°C for the third, overlapping season in a row.

    One of the major challenges in ENSO prediction is trying to untangle meaningful seasonal swings in the tropical climate from the shorter-term noise of tropical weather. In February, along with cooling off of sea surface temperatures, we saw a stronger Pacific Walker circulation: a strengthening of trade winds along the surface of the equator (blowing from east-to-west), stronger winds in the upper tropical atmosphere (that blow from west to east), significant drying over the Date Line, and increased rainfall anomalies over the Maritime Continent. All of these features are consistent with a healthy La Niña.

    La Niña feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere. Climate.gov schematic by Emily Eng and inspired by NOAA PMEL.

    In fact, by some of our atmospheric measures—the Equatorial Southern Oscillation Index and Central Pacific Outgoing Longwave Radiation index (a measure of equatorial rainfall)—we saw some of the largest monthly values dating back to the start of the first La Niña event in the autumn of 2020! The Pacific Walker circulation was clearly juiced up in the past month and is probably why we saw weekly Niño-3.4 sea surface temperatures take a tumble.

    With that said, one month doesn’t make an entire season, and it may have been a short-term swerve on the road to the dissipation of La Niña, as it typically does, through the spring and summer. It’s enough to have at least slowed down La Niña’s exit from the global climate stage, but does it portend more meaningful change going forward? We’ll get back to that later.

    Three-legged race

    What does the continuation of La Niña mean for impacts during the March-May season over the contiguous United States? As regular blog readers know, the two biggest drivers of seasonal climate outlooks are ENSO and climate trends. The images below show the average March-May temperature and precipitation patterns we’d expect based on the combination of historical La Niña patterns and recent (10-15 year) climate trends.

    March-May average temperature (top) and precipitation (bottom) compared to the long-term average for the combination of historical La Niña events and climate trends. Data is based on the CPC ENSO composites and modified by Climate.gov.

    As one might expect, NOAA CPC’s official seasonal outlooks for March-May 2022 resemble the patterns above with some exceptions. In general, above-average temperatures are favored over a large part of the contiguous U.S., with the exception of the northwestern U.S., where below-average temperatures are more likely. Above-median precipitation is expected over the northwestern U.S. and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. Below-median precipitation is favored over most of the southern U.S., extending northward into Utah, Colorado, and parts of the western Great Plains (footnote #1).

    In addition to these potential temperature and precipitation anomalies, it is also worth checking out a previous article by Mike Tippett and Chiara Lepore on ENSO and Tornadoes. During La Niña, springtime severe weather can be more active in parts of the southern/southeastern United States (though not a guarantee as John Allen explained to us after the 2020-21 La Niña).

    Three’s a crowd

    Despite a few forecast models suggesting otherwise, below-average sea surface temperature patterns are likely to weaken across the tropical Pacific as we go through the spring, but it’s still an open question how much they will weaken. Will they weaken enough to eventually return to ENSO-neutral (near average conditions across the tropical Pacific)? And when would that happen?

    This month the crystal ball became blurrier, with a 54% chance that La Niña persists into June-August 2022. And, after that, it’s pretty much a split between ENSO-neutral and La Niña through the fall, with neither outcome exceeding a 50% probability (and El Niño still has a 10-15% chance!). Thus, reading between the lines, odds for a La Niña three-peat have gone up (Emily first blogged about this possibility in November 2021), but nowhere near certainty. Keep in mind, the accuracy of ENSO forecasts made this time of year are, well…not so great.

    Also, La Niña three-peats (triple dips?) are very rare—only two exist in our more reliable historical record going back to 1950 and both occurred after major El Niño events, which our current event did not. The time evolution of the Niño-3.4 index for the two La Niña three-peats is featured in the darker blue lines in the image below. It is also interesting that out of the eight double-dip La Niñas in our historical record, three ended up evolving into an El Niño for the third winter (red lines) and the remaining three ended up on the cooler side, close to La Niña thresholds, but were ultimately classified as ENSO-neutral winters.

    Three-year history of sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for 8 previous double-dip La Niña events. The color of the line indicates the state of ENSO for the third winter (red: El Niño, darker blue: La Niña, lighter blue: neutral). The black line shows the current event. Monthly Niño-3.4 index is from CPC using ERSSTv5. Time series comparison was created by Michelle L’Heureux, and modified by Climate.gov.

    To get to a third consecutive La Niña winter we would need to see ongoing, enhanced easterly trade winds and, also, the replenishment of below-average temperature “fuel” in the subsurface equatorial Pacific Ocean. In February, at least, we saw some trends in this direction.

    So, is this two steps forward, one step back? Or three steps forward? Stay tuned next month when Emily returns from vacation. If we’re lucky maybe she’ll include some pretty tropical photos. Maybe three of them.

    What does it take to build a massive new reservoir? A lot of time, trucks, and rock — KUNC

    Chimney Hollow Reservoir construction site September 2021. Photo credit: Northern Water

    Alex Hager takes a look at Chimney Hollow Reservoir in this article on the KUNC website.Click through to read the whole article, here’s an excerpt:

    Right now, Chimney Hollow is a project site teeming with activity. Building a reservoir involves far more than just digging a hole in the ground. At this particular spot, it requires the construction of a massive dam – the tallest built in the United States in 25 years…To build something at this scale, machines are moving a volume of earth that’s hard to wrap your head around.

    “We’re filling 100-ton trucks,” said Joe Donnelly, Chimney Hollow’s project manager. “We need a whole load of rock placed on the dam every two minutes, five days a week, for two and a half years.”


    [Jeff] Stahla said additional water storage will help water providers gain some certainty and more smoothly supply homes across the fluctuation of wet years and dry years — a practice baked into water projects for centuries…

    “If we’re going to be able to exist and offer the same opportunities to our children and grandchildren on the Front Range,” said Jeff Stahla with Northern Water, “We should consider — and we’re doing it here — capturing the water when it’s available so that we have flexibility in those years when we don’t have it.”