As critical deadline nears, only half of a plan to save #ColoradoRiver water has been proposed: The most substantial #water cuts must come from #Arizona and #California, which use the most water, experts say — The #Denver Post #COriver #aridification

A field of produce destined for grocery stores is irrigated near Yuma, Ariz., a few days before Christmas 2015. Photo/Allen Best – See more at: http://mountaintownnews.net/2016/02/09/drying-out-of-the-american-southwest/#sthash.7xXVYcLv.dpuf

Click the link to read the article on The Denver Post website (Conrad Swanson). Here’s an excerpt:

Water officials from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming published a plan this week to appease federal officials wanting to save water from the drying Colorado River but didn’t include any specific, mandatory cuts to save the precious resource. One critic called the Upper Colorado River Commission’s five-point plan “meaningless gibberish” but Jennifer Gimbel, senior water policy scholar at Colorado State University’s Water Center, said it’s the strongest action she’s seen from the states in recent years. The most substantial cuts and savings must come from Arizona and California, Gimbel noted, since those two states are taking more water than the Colorado River has to give…

The upper-basin states are also limited in the amount of cuts they can make in water use because they’re dependent on the amount of snow and rain that falls each year, Sara Leonard, spokeswoman for the Upper Colorado River Commission, said. Now eyes turn to those lower-basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada.

“We look forward to hearing what they may bring to the table,” Leonard said.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials gave all seven states until August 15 to create a plan to save between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of water. If they fail, the federal government will take control and impose its own cuts as water use exceeds supply and an ongoing megadrought continues to sap water from the Colorado River…

Charles Collum, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, wrote to Reclamation officials on Monday noting that water users in the four states “already suffer chronic shortages” under current conditions but also outlining his organization’s five-point plan to help save more water. The plan includes considering a new demand management program, better measuring and monitoring water use, continuing existing “strict water management and administration” and developing a new “Drought Response Operations Plan.”

…the upper-basin states already live within their water allotment, Leonard added, and they cut water use by 25% last year.

“Meanwhile, Lower Basin uses have not been reduced despite the unprecedented drought impacting the Basin,” Leonard said in an email.

Those states, particularly Arizona and California, are using nearly 10 million acre-feet each year, more than they’re legally allotted. As of Friday, lower-basin states had yet to put forth any plan of their own.

Reduced to a trickle, #RioGrandeRiver managers brace for more drying — The Associated Press

Side channels were excavated by the Bureau of Reclamation along the Rio Grande where it passes through the Rhodes’ property to provide habitat for the endangered silvery minnow. (Dustin Armstrong/U.S. Bureau Of Reclamation)

Click the link to read the article on the Associated Press website (Susan Montoya Bryan). Here’s an excerpt:

Triple digit temperatures and a fickle monsoon season have combined with decades of persistent drought to put one of North America’s longest rivers in its most precarious situation yet. Islands of sand and gravel and patches of cracked mud are taking over where the Rio Grande once flowed. It’s a scene not unlike other hot, dry spots around the western U.S. where rivers and reservoirs have been shrinking due to climate change and continued demand.

Local and federal water managers on Thursday warned that more stretches of the beleaguered Rio Grande will be drying up in the coming days in the Albuquerque area, leaving endangered silvery minnows stranded in whatever puddles remain.

The threat of having the river dry this far north has been present the last few summers due to ongoing drought, officials with the Bureau of Reclamation and one of the largest irrigation districts on the river said. But, this could be the year that residents in New Mexico’s most populated region get to witness the effects of climate change on a grander scale. It’s not uncommon to have parts of the Rio Grande go dry in its more southern reaches, but not in Albuquerque. Like a monument, the river courses through the city, flanked by a forest of cottonwood and willow trees. It’s one of the few ribbons of green to cut through the arid state, providing water for crops and communities.

“This is almost the sole source of water in the central part of New Mexico and we’re not trying to save it just for the fish,” said Andy Dean, a federal biologist. “It’s our job as the Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent the extinction of this animal, but this water is also for everybody in the valley. We’re trying to save it for everybody and if the fish is that piece that helps us do that, then that’s what we have to use.”

The Bureau of Reclamation will be releasing what little supplemental water it has left in upstream reservoirs along the Rio Grande. Over the last 20 years, the agency has leased about 700,000 acre-feet — or 228 billion gallons — of water to supplement flows through the middle Rio Grande for endangered and threatened species.

#Johnstown implements outdoor watering limits — The #Loveland Reporter-Herald

Photo credit: Consolidated Home Supply Ditch and Reservoir Company

Click the link to read the article on the Loveland Reporter-Herald website (Jocelyn Rowley). Here’s an excerpt:

Amid a sharp increase in water demand, the Johnstown Town Council voted earlier this week to enact an outdoor watering schedule for residents and businesses. Starting July 19, properties in town are required to limit outdoor watering to three days per week, before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. only…

The new schedule limits homes and businesses with even-numbered addresses to watering lawns and gardens on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Odd-numbered addresses are limited to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Outdoor watering is prohibited all day on Sunday.

The town also announced that it will be curtailing municipal outdoor watering, or switching to non-potable sources. Local homeowners associations are also asked to limit their water use by adhering to the schedule for even-numbered addresses.

The restrictions were implemented not due to a water shortage, but rather a shortage of water storage infrastructure in Johnstown. According to Barker, the typical demand of 1.5 million gallons per day “shoots up” to as much as 5.7 million during the months of July, August and September, depleting a system that has just 6.2 million gallons of total capacity.

“We don’t have a shortage of water,” she said. “Our water portfolio is very healthy. We’re just currently dealing with a demand on our system during the hot summer weeks where we’re reaching that capacity of treated, stored water and we’re having to handle it through this water schedule.”

Johnstown’s water is supplied from two sources — the Consolidated Home Supply Ditch and Reserve Company and the Colorado Big Thompson-Project. According to Barker, the town currently owns 4,500 acre-feet, providing 14.6 billion gallons per year or, “enough water to serve 9,000 single-family homes per year.”

Johnstown is currently in the process of expanding its capacity to store more of that 14.6 billion gallons, and hopes to have at least one piece of the puzzle in place by the end of the year — a new water tower near the Pioneer Ridge subdivision on Weld County Road 17.

Taps have run dry in Monterrey, #Mexico, where there is water for factories but not for residents — The Los Angeles Times

Click the link to read the article on the Los Angeles Times website (Kate Linthicum). Here’s an excerpt:

Drought has drained the three reservoirs that provide about 60% of the water for the region’s 5 million residents. Most homes now receive water for only a few hours each morning. And on the city’s periphery, many taps have run dry…

Many are angry at government officials and also the region’s mega-factories, which have largely continued work as usual thanks to federal concessions that allow them to suck water from the strained aquifer via private wells.

Experts say the crisis unfolding here is a stark warning for the rest of Mexico — as well as the American West…

Rio Grande and Pecos River basins. Map credit: By Kmusser – Own work, Elevation data from SRTM, drainage basin from GTOPO [1], U.S. stream from the National Atlas [2], all other features from Vector Map., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11218868

Monterrey sits at the semiarid tail of the Rio Grande basin, which stretches 1,800 miles from the snowcapped Colorado Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico and is fed by tributaries from both sides of the border. The reservoirs behind two of the three dams that serve it are nearly empty…

Water has never been a given in poor parts of Mexico. Around half of Mexican households with access to piped water receive services on an intermittent basis, according to census data. Even rainy Mexico City faces occasional cuts in service because it lacks sufficient water catchment systems.

Monterrey was supposed to be different. Two hours south of the U.S. border, it is one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico, home to gleaming office towers, luxury car dealerships and modern factories that supply Americans with appliances, vehicles, soft drinks and steel.

Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and #EagleRiver Water & Sanitation District boards of directors will consider new and increased fees during their July 28 board meetings

Two men fish the Eagle River just above its confluence with the Colorado River in Dotsero. Homestake Partners released 1,667 acre-feet of water down Homestake Creek and into the Eagle River in September 20210to test how a release would work in a compact call.
CREDIT: BETHANY BLITZ/ASPEN JOURNALISM

From email from the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District (Diane Johnson):

The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Eagle River Water & Sanitation District boards of directors will consider new and increased fees during their July 28 board meetings at 8:30 and 11:30 a.m., respectively.

he proposed new fees are for seven different labor-intensive one-time services provided directly to individual customers, such as transfer-of-service, account reactivation, and new construction applications. With no current fees, the direct and indirect costs associated with the work to review and process such requests is distributed across all customers, rather than the individual account requesting the service.

The proposed new fees cover services that customers need within a defined timeframe which causes staff to prioritize the work and leaves limited hours available to complete tasks that benefit all customers. Such work has required hiring additional staff, so fee revenue collected would recover associated costs and lessen the cost of added personnel.

The district and authority generally serve properties from East Vail through Cordillera (plus Minturn for wastewater services only). The proposed fees would apply to all accounts within the service areas and would only be assessed when such individual services are requested.

The boards will also consider increasing the cost of seven existing fees that have been the same since about 2018 to recoup associated costs. The proposed new and increased fees include:

The public hearings are the first item on the respective agenda for this week’s board meetings. The staff memo and proposed fee resolution are available online in the board packet for the authority and district. Both board meetings are held at the ERWSD office at 846 Forest Road in Vail and are open to the public.

If approved, the new and increased fees would be effective Aug. 1. All fees will be further reviewed as part of the annual budget process this fall. Any further changes would be proposed for the authority and district 2023 budgets to take effect next year.

For more information, visit http://www.erwsd.org or contact district customer service at 970-477-5451.