#Granby board votes to raise water rates at budget meeting: Several community members speak out against rate increases — The Sky-HI Daily News

Granby via UncoverColorado.com

Click the link to read the article on the Sky-Hi Daily News website (Kyle McCabe). Here’s an excerpt:

The water rates for Granby’s North Service Area will increase, effective Jan. 1, 2023, after the board of trustees voted to approve new rates at their meeting Wednesday, Nov. 9. The increase in rates are intended to help fund the design and construction of a new water treatment plant for the service area. The rates for water usage in town and out of town, raw water usage in town, the facility charge, construction water usage and the sewer fee will all increase. The largest increases come from the construction water rate, which increased by 242%, and the facility charge, which increased by 225%. The plant investment fees, which is what is charged for the creation of a new water line, differ in price based on size but all increased 110%. For in-town users, the 2023 rate will increase from $6.62 per 1,000 gallons to $8.16 per 1,000 gallons, out-of-town users the rate per 1,000 gallons will raise from $13.24 to $16.32. In-town raw water usage rates are going from $3.52 to $4.08 per 1,000 gallons…

The town also emphasized the not-quite dire status of the water plant. Bellatty said that new regulations added to water safety standards over the plant’s 40-year lifetime have contributed to its water production capacity decreasing. While he is not concerned about the plant failing in the near future, Bellatty mentioned the possibility of it failing as a reason the town needs to replace it as soon as possible.

An environmental task force met for a year to learn how to protect vulnerable communities. Here are 5 key findings — #Colorado Public Radio

Denver smog. Photo credit: NOAA

Click the link to read the article on the Colorado Public Radio website (Miguel Otárola). Here’s an excerpt:

Colorado lawmakers last year convened a group of government officials and environmental justice advocates to brainstorm ways the state could protect communities bearing the brunt of human-caused pollution and climate change.

year later, the Environmental Justice Action Task Force is ready to return to lawmakers with its recommendations.

In its first report, finalized earlier this week, the task force says the best way to prevent and eliminate inequalities in environmental health is to study the potential effects of policy across state agencies. That includes involving residents and Native American tribes and increasing the resources allocated for environmental health work.

Ute #Water to increase rates — The #GrandJunction Daily Sentinel

Tap water via Wikimedia

Click the link to read the article on The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel website (Charles Ashby). Here’s an excerpt:

For the first time in seven years, the Ute Water Conservancy District is raising its rates. The utility’s board of directors voted Wednesday [November 9, 2022] to approve a water rate hike and tap fee increase, saying it was doing so to cover increased costs since the last time rates were increased in 2016…

The district, which supplies water to about 88,000 customers in Mesa County, is increasing its monthly rate of $22 for the first 3,000 gallons to $25 for residential customers. It also is increasing by 15% its tiered rates for water usage above 3,000 gallons. The minimum rate and tiered rates for non-residential customers also will increase by 15%. The new rates are to go into effect starting in January, which customers will see on their February bills.

“The district’s primary sources of revenue is water sales,” the district said. “The revenue from water sales is expected to cover all operations, maintenance and replacement costs of the existing infrastructure while preparing for future demands and upgrades to the system.”

Also in February, the district is increasing the one-time tap fee it charges for new construction by $1,000. Currently, the fee for a 5/8-inch meter, the average size of a residential meter, is $7,000. Fees for larger meters are to increase proportionately.

Archuleta County hears river restoration project update, funding request — The #PagosaSprings Sun #SanJuanRiver

View to the south into the snaking West Fork of the San Juan River as seen from US 160, halfway up to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. By User:Erikvoss, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61976794

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

At its Nov. 8 work session, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners heard an update and funding request from the Upper San Juan Watershed Enhancement Partnership (WEP)…Pfister then explained one of these projects, the Pagosa Gateway Project, which focuses on river restoration work on the San Juan River starting near Bob’s LP and continuing 2.5 miles upstream. Pfister stated that the restoration work would focus on forming more distinct channels in the river with rock jetties and weirs to improve the river’s condition in warming and drying conditions.

He stated that the overall project would likely cost approximately $1,260,000 and that WEP has secured $775,000 in grants, primarily from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the CWCB Southwest Basin Roundtable and is working on securing $485,000 in matching funds.

#Snowpack and #SanJuanRiver report — The #PagosaSprings Sun #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification #CRWUA2022

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Water and Climate Center’s snowpack report, the Wolf Creek summit, at 11,000 feet of elevation, had 5.1 inches of snow water equivalent as of 1 p.m. on Wednes- day, Nov. 9. The Wolf Creek summit was at 138 percent of the Nov. 9 snowpack median. The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river basins were at 217 percent of the Nov. 9 median in terms of snowpack.

Stream flow for the San Juan River on Nov. 9 at approximately noon was 141 cubic feet per second (cfs), according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) National Water Dashboard. These numbers are up from last week’s reading of 99 cfs at noon on Nov.9.

Accelerated rate increases and projects topics of Pagosa Area #Water & Sanitation District budget meeting — The #PagosaSprings Sun

Near Pagosa Springs. Photo credit: Greg Hobbs

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

At its Oct. 20 meeting, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors held a public hearing of the district’s proposed 2023 budget and dis- cussed potential accelerated rate increases. PAWSD Director of Business Services Aaron Burns opened the hearing by explaining that he would begin by discussing the summary sheet for the budget distributed to the board before discussing the details of the budget…

Burns explained that the changes in spending in the water and wastewater funds are partially driven by the work on the state- mandated expansion of the Snowball water treatment plant and state-mandated engineering for the potential Vista wastewater treatment plant upgrade, as well as a variety of other larger maintenance item expenditures. He highlighted that the 2023 budget meets debt services requirements and reflects the rate increases prescribed by a 2018 rate study, as well as accelerated rate increases that he and District Manager Justin Ramsey had agreed are necessary due to the additional costs of expanding the Snowball plant. Burns explained that, as part of the financing process for the Snowball plant, the state recommended an additional $8 per equivalent unit, also commonly referred to as EUs, charge for water rates on top of the 6 percent increase recom- mended by the rate study. He added that the rate study had recommended a 2.5 percent in- crease in wastewater rates in 2024, which Burns and Ramsey had decided to move forward to 2023.

He commented that the PAWSD 2021 audit indicated that the district’s rates are low and these changes would address this, as well as preparing PAWSD for the increasing costs of its upcoming projects.

#California Attorney General Rob Bonta sues makers of cancer-causing ‘forever chemicals’ — The Los Angeles Times #PFAS

Products that contain PFAS. Graphic credit: Riverside (CA) Public Utilities

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

The state of California on Thursday sued the manufacturers of a class of chemicals known as “forever chemicals” that are found in a variety of consumer items including food packaging and cookware and are linked to cancer and other illnesses…

“PFAS are as ubiquitous in California as they are harmful,” Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said during a news conference in San Francisco on Thursday morning. “The damage caused by 3M, DuPont and other manufacturers of PFAS is nothing short of staggering, and without drastic action, California will be dealing with the harms of these toxic chemicals for generations.”

The suit is targeted at 20 chemical manufacturers, including 3M and DuPont de Nemours Inc. California joins a growing list of states and municipalities that have sued over these chemicals, as well as crafted laws to ban or phase them out.

A whistleblower and watchdog advocacy group used an EPA database of locations that may have handled PFAS materials or products to map the potential impact of PFAS throughout Colorado. They found about 21,000 Colorado locations in the EPA listings, which were uncovered through a freedom of information lawsuit. Locations are listed by industry category. (Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility analysis of EPA database)

West Slope Water Summit recap — The #Montrose Press #CRWUA2022 #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Brad Udall: Here’s the latest version of my 4-Panel plot thru Water Year (Oct-Sep) of 2021 of the Colorado River big reservoirs, natural flows, precipitation, and temperature. Data (PRISM) goes back or 1906 (or 1935 for reservoirs.) This updates previous work with @GreatLakesPeck. Credit: Brad Udall via Twitter

Click the link to read the article on The Montrose Press website (Katharhynn Heidelberg). Here’s an excerpt:

“How do you live within a lesser river?” Colorado River Conservation District Manager Andy Mueller asked the roughly 400 people who filled the Montrose County Event Center’s indoor arena on Thursday for the West Slope Water Summit…

The Colorado River Compact divided the river’s water between Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming (Upper Basin) and California, Arizona and Nevada (Lower Basin), based on 17.5 million acre-feet. Under a treaty, Mexico receives Colorado River water as well, 1.5 million acre-feet. The amount exists on paper; however, the running average is only 15 million acre-feet (7.5 million acre-feet per basin). Mueller reports the last 10 years’ average has been 12.6 million acre-feet, with more than 14 million acre-feet in use, which has drained down once brimming reservoirs. Add to that temperature increases that dry out the soils, which in turn suck up a fair amount of snowfall precipitation; transportive losses; evaporative losses, plus federal pressure to conserve even more water, and the reality is: water consumption has to be cut. Although the ongoing argument between the Upper and Lower Basins tends to center on who has already been cut too deeply and who has not, it doesn’t change the hotter, drier climate conditions.

“Because of that, we should understand our water uses have to be reduced as well,” Mueller said, after detailing the history of the Colorado River Compact, uses, and political disputes over the river’s water.

Mueller said although the Upper Basin has consistently lived within its hydrology while meeting its compact obligations to send water downstream, and the Lower Basin hasn’t, everyone must be more innovative in bringing solutions to protect agriculture, communities, and the attendant economies.

Map credit: AGU

“… that moment the sun kisses the sea” — @BBerwyn

How the global energy crisis is pressuring countries at #COP27 – while some race to #renewables, others plan more natural gas production — The Conversation #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround #methane

Europe’s natural gas prices have risen dramatically in 2022. Privetik/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Robert Brecha, University of Dayton

Russia’s war on Ukraine has cast a shadow over this year’s United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where officials from around the world are discussing the costs of climate change and how to cut emissions that remain near record highs.

The war has dramatically disrupted energy markets the world over, leaving many countries vulnerable to price spikes amid supply shortages.

Europe, worried about keeping the heat on through winter, is outbidding poor countries for natural gas, even paying premiums to reroute tanker ships after Russia cut off most of its usual natural gas supply. Some countries are restarting coal-fired power plants. Others are looking for ways to expand fossil fuel production, including new projects in Africa.

These actions are a long way from the countries’ pledges just a year ago to rein in fossil fuels, and they’re likely to further increase greenhouse gas emissions, at least temporarily.

But will the war and the economic turmoil prevent the world from meeting the Paris climate agreement’s long-term goals?

Kerry leans toward Scholz and raises a finger as if to point while seated during the UN climate conference.
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry speaks with Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, on Nov. 7, 2022, in Egypt. Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

There are reasons to believe that this may not be the case.

The answer depends in part on how wealthy countries respond to a focus of this year’s climate conference: fulfilling their pledges in the Paris Agreement to provide support for low- and middle-income countries to build clean energy systems.

Europe speeds up clean energy plans

A key lesson many countries are taking away from the ongoing energy crisis is that, if anything, the transition to renewable energy must be pushed forward faster.

I work with countries as they update national climate pledges and have been involved in evaluating the compatibility of global emissions reduction scenarios with the Paris Agreement. I see the energy crisis affecting countries’ plans in different ways.

About 80% of the world’s energy is still from fossil sources. Global trade in coal, oil and natural gas has meant that even countries with their own energy supplies have felt some of the pain of exorbitant prices. In the U.S., for example, natural gas and electricity prices are higher than normal because they are increasingly tied to international markets, and the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The shortage has led to a scramble to find fossil fuel suppliers in the short term. European countries have offered to help African countries produce more natural gas and have courted authoritarian regimes. The Biden administration is urging companies to extract more oil and gas, has tried to pressure Saudi Arabia to produce more oil, and considered lifting sanctions against Venezuela.

However, Europe also has a growing renewable energy supply that has helped cushion some of the impact. A quarter of the European Union’s electricity comes from solar and wind, avoiding billions of euros in fossil fuel costs. Globally, investments in the clean energy transition increased by about 16% in 2022, the International Energy Agency estimates.

Developing countries face complex challenges

If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a wake-up call to accelerate the clean energy transition in wealthier countries, the situation is much more complex in developing countries.

Low-income countries are being hit hard by the impact of Russia’s war, not only by high energy costs, but also by decreases in grain and cooking oil exports. The more these countries are dependent on foreign oil and gas imports for their energy supply, the more they will be exposed to global market gyrations.

Renewable energy can reduce some of that exposure.

The costs of solar and wind energy have dropped dramatically in the last decade and now represent the cheapest sources of energy in most regions. But advances in expanding access to clean electricity have been set back by the war. Borrowing costs can also be a barrier for low-income countries, and those costs will increase as countries raise interest rates to fight inflation.

As part of the Paris Agreement, wealthy countries were supposed to make good on promises to make US$100 billion per year available for climate finance, but the actual amounts provided have fallen short.

To achieve the Paris Agreement targets, coal, oil and natural gas consumption must decrease dramatically in the next decade or two. International cooperation will be necessary to help poorer countries expand energy access and transition to low-emissions development pathways.

Africa’s fossil fuels and stranded asset risks

A number of developing countries have their own fossil fuel resources, and some in Africa have been calling for increasing production, although not without pushback.

Without a strong alternative within local contexts for sustainable energy resources, and with wealthy countries scrambling for fossil fuels, developing countries will exploit fossil resources – just as the wealthiest countries have done for over a century. For example, Tanzania’s energy minister, January Makamba, told Bloomberg during the U.N. climate conference that his country expects to sign agreements with Shell and other oil majors for a $40 billion liquefied natural gas export project.

While this intersection of interests could boost some developing countries, it can also set up future challenges.

Encouraging the construction of new fossil-fuel infrastructure in Africa – presumably to be earmarked for Europe in the short to medium term – may help ameliorate some near-term supply shortages, but how long will those customers need the fuel? And how much of that income will benefit the people of those countries?

The IEA sees natural gas demand plateauing by 2030 and oil and coal demand falling, even without more ambitious climate policies. Any infrastructure built today for short-term supplies risks becoming a stranded asset, worthless in a low-emissions world.

Layer chart shows natural gas use leveling off in the 2020s while coal and oil demand fall.
The International Energy Agency’s projections show natural gas demand plateauing soon. IEA 2022, CC BY

Encouraging developing countries to take on debt risk to invest in fossil fuel extraction for which the world will have no use would potentially do these countries a great disservice, taking advantage of them for short-term gain.

The world has made progress on emissions in recent years, and the worst warming projections from a decade ago seem to be highly unlikely now. But every tenth of a degree has an impact, and the current “business-as-usual” path still leads the planet toward warming levels with climate change costs that are hard to contemplate, especially for the most vulnerable countries. The outcomes from the climate conference will give an indication of whether the global community is willing to accelerate the transition.

Robert Brecha, Professor of Sustainability, University of Dayton

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.