@USBR seeks public input on alternatives to reduce salinity and improve water quality in the #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Paradox Valley Location Map. Credit: Bureau of Reclamation

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Justin Liff, Lesley McWhirter):

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public input on alternatives to reduce salinity in the Colorado River from sources in the Paradox Valley in western Colorado. Currently, the Paradox Valley Unit (PVU) in Montrose County, Colorado, is intercepting naturally occurring brine and injecting it 16,000 feet underground via a deep injection well. The PVU began operating in 1996 and is nearing the end of its useful life. The United States has a water quality obligation to control salt in the Colorado River, in compliance with the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act, the Clean Water Act, and a 1944 treaty with Mexico.

“The Paradox Valley Unit is a cost-effective salinity control project in the Colorado River Basin as it prevents 95,000 tons of salt annually from reaching the Dolores River and eventually the Colorado River—that’s approximately 7% of total salinity control occurring in the basin,” said Area Manager for Reclamation’s Western Colorado Area Office Ed Warner. “Reducing salt in the rivers improves water quality, crop production and wildlife habitat in the basin.”

Reclamation is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement and has released a draft for public review and comment. Alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS include a new injection well; evaporation ponds; zero liquid discharge technology; and no action, which would result in no salinity control in the Paradox Valley.

The public is invited to attend public meetings to learn more, ask questions and provide comments. Two public meetings will be held on:

– Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Paradox, Colorado at the Paradox Valley Charter School, 21501 6 Mile Rd., at 5 p.m. – Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 in Montrose, Colorado at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 1391 S. Townsend Ave., at 6 p.m.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/paradox/index.html or a copy can be requested by contacting Reclamation.

Reclamation will consider all comments received by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Feb. 4, 2020. Those interested may submit comments by email to paradoxeis@usbr.gov or to Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave, Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501.

Paradox Valley via Airphotona.com

Aspinall Unit operations update: Blue Mesa releases to be bumped up to meet reservoir icing targets

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased to 1600 cfs on Monday, December 9th. Blue Mesa Reservoir elevation remains above the winter icing target level. Releases will be maintained at this level with the goal of lowering the reservoir to the icing target elevation of 7490 feet by December 31st. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for September through December.

Currently, there are no diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 1000 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be at zero and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 1600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

Aspinall Unit

#Pueblo Reservoir update

Pueblo Dam

From The La Junta Tribune-Democrat (Bette McFarren) viaThe Bent County Democrat:

Roy Vaughan of the Bureau of Reclamation thinks the Colorado water supply is good overall and particularly so in the Pueblo Reservoir.

As of Nov. 12, 188,138 acre feet of water were stored in Pueblo, of which 141,594 a/f is water tied to the Fryingpan-Arkansas Water Project, the massive project that more than 50 years ago built Lake Pueblo; 41,475 a/f is excess capacity water; 16,142 a/f is winter water storage. There is room for more water — 103,779 a/f of project space in Pueblo; 5,287 a/f of project space in Twin and Turquoise Lakes.

@USBR awards nearly $1 million for water purification and #desalination pilot projects

Photo shows the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility – BGNDRF, in Alamogordo, NM. Credit: Reclamation

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Marlon Duke):

Goals are to reduce costs, energy requirements, environmental impact for treating unusable water

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded nearly $1 million for projects under an innovative pilot-scale water treatment technologies and desalination program. The selected projects will receive funding through cooperative agreements and will include a period of pilot testing at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and other sites across the country.

On April 30, 2019, Reclamation announced that it was seeking applicants looking for innovative technologies for reducing the cost, energy requirements and environmental impacts for water purification and desalination technologies. Innovative and promising technologies would be supported to move from the theoretical stage towards a practical application.

“In June, we received 29 eligible applications for review that included $4 million in requests for federal funding. Top applicants were invited to pitch their pilot studies in August,” said Yuliana Porras-Mendoza, advanced water treatment research coordinator. “We awarded grants to seven projects focused on innovative and disruptive water treatment technologies ready for pilot testing to accelerate knowledge transfer and provide new products that serve the water treatment community and attract commercial interest.”

Funded Pilot Studies

Garver, LLC: Innovative electro-coagulation membrane pretreatment with vacuum-assisted electro-distillation concentrate management for cooling tower blowdown recovery
Project goal: improve water quality, reduce chemical consumption, reduce the potable water demand of a water treatment system and eliminate dissolved solids loading to the local sewershed.
State: Colorado

AdEdge Water Technologies: Innovative high recovery flow-reversal RO desalination process for potable reuse providing essential physical barrier with higher recovery rate & reduction in concentrate flow
Project goal: test a flow-reversal reverse osmosis technology with the purpose to introduce this technology to the US market.
State: Georgia

WIST, Inc: The first affordable, easy-to-use silica pretreatment solution: Pilot scale validation of SiSorb-Nano
Project goal: scale up and test a new resin for silica removal from water that is less expensive, more efficient, and environmentally friendly.
State: New York

Eastern Shore Microbes: H.E.A.T A biologically, sustainable solar powered system to eliminate RO concentrate in order to improve the water supply for inland communities
Project goal: test the ability for a selected group of microbes to enhance evaporation of reverse osmosis concentrate, potentially reducing the size of current evaporation ponds and increasing the rate of evaporation.
State: Virginia

University of Arizona: Electrochemically enhanced high efficiency reverse osmosis (EE-HERO) for brackish water treatment
Project goal: test an electrochemically enhanced high efficiency reverse osmosis process for treating brackish groundwater for potable use.
State: Arizona

University of Utah: Disruptive transport/sand filtration pretreatment system for uninterrupted desalination water supply during harmful algal blooms
Project goal: test an innovative system as a last defense during a harmful algal bloom (HAB) before it reaches water treatment systems that are severely impacted and, in some cases, not able to operate during a HAB event.
State: Utah

EcoVAP: Enhanced evaporation using biomimicry for brine concentrate disposal
Project goal: minimize the cost and environmental impact of inland desalination.
State: Utah

The funding provided supports the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West, including the goal of improving use of technology to increase water reliability and enabling broader scale deployment of desalination and recycled water technologies.

Project descriptions are available at https://www.usbr.gov/research/dwpr.

@USBR reduces salinity and improves water quality in western slope canals

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Justyn Liff, Lesley McWhirter):

The Bureau of Reclamation is reducing salinity and improving water quality in the Colorado River Basin by reducing salt loading into the river from the Crawford Clipper Center Lateral in Delta County and the Gould Canal in Delta and Montrose Counties. Naturally-occurring salts in the sediment along the canals are picked up by water leaching from the earthen ditches and entering the Colorado River system. The resulting reduction in water quality creates a negative economic impact to downstream infrastructure and crops. The purpose of the projects is to prevent seepage and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin.

The Crawford Clipper Center Lateral Pipeline Project will replace approximately 4.3 miles of open irrigation ditch with buried pipe. The Gould Canal Improvement Project will convert 12.4 miles of the canal to pipeline and geomembrane lining. These improvements will reduce seepage along the canals, enhancing water supply and improving water quality by preventing approximately 8,303 tons of salt per year from entering the Colorado River.

“Reducing salt along the Clipper Center Lateral and the Gould Canal will help improve the water quality, crop production and wildlife habitat in the Colorado River Basin,” said Ed Warner, area manager for Reclamation’s Western Colorado Area Office.

Copies of the final Findings of No Significant Impacts and Environmental Assessments on the projects are available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html or by contacting Reclamation. Historical and photographic documentation on the canals is available at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/rm/cr/index.html.

Piping and lining of the projects tentatively scheduled to begin in November 2019.

Piping an irrigation ditch. Photo credit NRCS via the Julesburg Advocate.

@USBR allocates $8.9 million to develop innovative solutions for water and power management issues

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $8.9 million to 27 new research projects and 114 continuing research projects through its Science and Technology Program. The funding from Reclamation is being matched by $10.9 million in partner contributions. The research findings will then be applied throughout Reclamation for the benefit of its water and power facility managers, customers and stakeholders.

“Reclamation faces many technical and complex challenges in managing water and generating power for the West,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “These new research projects will help Reclamation and its partners today, and also ensure that water and power demands will be met for future generations.”

Research proposals were sought in the following areas:

  • water infrastructure
  • power and energy
  • environmental issues for water delivery and management
  • water operations and planning
  • developing water supplies
  • The type of projects selected includes studies on invasive quagga and zebra mussel control, developing condition monitoring technologies to extend the life of water and power infrastructure, mitigating reservoir water quality impacts from harmful algal blooms, and new water operations and decision-support tools.

    Reclamation identified the research projects through an internal competitive call for proposals throughout the organization. The proposals were reviewed and ranked based on technical merit and relevance to Reclamation’s mission. Many of these projects partner with internal and/or external entities to produce robust and comprehensive solutions. Partners include entities from the federal government, state government, tribes, universities, private and local organizations.

    These new projects address research needs identified in the S&T Programs Science Strategy Implementation Plan that is published annually. This includes needs identified by Reclamation’s regional directors, which informs the development and selection of research projects to meet those needs.

    This research supports the President’s Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West by improving the use of technology to increase water reliability and improving forecasts of water availability.

    Learn more at Reclamation’s Science and Technology Program website.

    Survey work begins for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project on the Navajo Nation. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation via The High Country News

    Aspinall Unit operations update: Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs

    Gunnison River Basin. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69257550

    From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

    Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased by 200 cfs, today, September 30th. Releases will be decreased by 200 cfs late Friday, October 4th. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

    Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for September through December.

    Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 1040 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will increase to 800 cfs today. At the end of this week Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be 1040 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will return to 600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.