Webinar: Request for Water Acquisitions — @COWaterTrust

Little Cimarron River via the Western Rivers Conservancy

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

2018 Request for Water Acquisitions Pilot Process

Are you curious about how you can help keep your local rivers and watersheds healthy, especially during this dry year? Join us and learn more!

Click here to register for the webinar.

Colorado Water Trust staff will explain the Pilot Process, available transaction tools and the protections available to water right owners who share their water with the environment.

Voluntary water sharing arrangements or voluntary acquisitions of senior water rights, on a temporary or permanent basis, are tools that – particularly in dry years – can help restore flows to rivers in need, sustain agriculture, and maximize beneficial uses of Colorado’s water.

This year, the Colorado Water Trust is partnering with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) on a Request for Water Acquisitions Pilot Process. This Pilot Process intends to:

  • Invite voluntary water offers from willing water right owners to benefit streamflow;
  • Provide a user-friendly mechanism for water right owners to explore working with CWCB and the Colorado Water Trust on water acquisition transactions;
  • Streamline transaction processes and utilization of resources;
  • Facilitate implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan objectives, and,
  • Add flows to river segments in need while coordinating with agricultural and other uses.
  • Following the drought years of 2002, 2012 and 2013, the legislature created several new tools for water right owners to lease or loan their water for instream flow or flow restoration use without penalty to their water rights. These new tools have been successfully implemented in several river basins around the state, and benefitted water-short streams during the dry years of 2012-2013.

    This year, with streamflow forecast to be well below average in many of parts of Colorado, temporary, voluntary, compensated leases or loans of water may provide an alternate source of revenue to preserve agricultural operations and may also help sustain streams and aquatic life during critically low flows.

    Additional information about the Pilot Process, including Inquiry/Offer Forms and FAQs, can be found here on our website.

    Register now!

    The Colorado Water Trust Team

    *Presentation of this webinar is made possible by our friends at Water Education Colorado.

    A River’s Reckoning — @AmericanRivers #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    The story of a 5th generation ranching family working to sustain their agricultural legacy while bringing back a healthy Colorado River.

    Learn More.

    Steamboat “State of the River” meeting recap

    From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

    “The key with Lake Powell is that it is our river savings account,” Andy Mueller told a gathering of more than 200 people who packed into the Steamboat Springs Community Center Tuesday night for the Steamboat State of the River meeting, less than 50 feet from the banks of the Yampa River…

    Less understood, Mueller said, is the Colorado River District’s stake in power generation at Glen Canyon Dam, where water levels are coming perilously close to dropping below the intakes for the power plant.

    “It really starts with power generation at Lake Powell,” Mueller said. “That dam is a cash register for those of us on the river. It pays for the Colorado Endangered Fish Program, which allows all of us in Colorado to continue to divert water while the endangered fish are being protected.”


    Mueller told his Steamboat audience that agricultural water rights continue to be of preeminent importance in the district.

    “On the Western Slope, try to picture what it would look like without ag. It is a very different world if we don’t have irrigated agricultural land,” he said. “That’s where the water is. Eighty percent of the water consumed on the Western Slope is in ag. We have to protect this agriculture, and a lot of that has to do with agricultural water rights.”


    The district represents about 28 percent of the physical land mass in Colorado but is home to just 500,000 of the 5 million people in the state. And 57 percent of the water produced statewide comes from the Colorado River District…

    Lake Powell, backed up by Glen Canyon Dam, just above the Grand Canyon, is where the Rocky Mountain states, including Utah, Wyoming and the northern portions of Arizona and New Mexico store water to ensure they can meet their obligations to send water to the lower basins states including California, Nevada and southern New Mexico and Arizona.

    As of 1999 the reservoir was almost full. But subsequent drought years, notably 2002, drew the reservoir down. It took until 2012 to slowly re-build storage in the vast reservoir, but snowpacks in the Colorado Basin have not been generous since.

    As winters have grown milder, river flows are sapped and extended growing seasons are also resulting in plants absorbing more of the available water.

    “We’re working on cloud seeding, but you have to have storm events in order to hit them with the silver iodide,” Mueller said.

    @Ogallala_water: Ogallala Aquifer Summit April 9-10, 2018

    High Plains aquifer water-level changes, predevelopment (about 1950) to 2015. Figure 1 from USGS SIR 2017-5040.(Public domain.)

    Click here for all the inside skinny and to register.

    Happy National Ag Day

    Rocky Ford Melon Day 1893 via the Colorado Historical Society

    Here’s the release from Secretary Sonny Perdue:

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding National Agriculture Day and President Donald J. Trump’s Proclamation recognizing the importance of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers:

    “For the past 45 years, National Ag Day has played a key role in helping people understand where their food and fiber comes from and how important agriculture is to our national economy,” said Secretary Perdue. “Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers in America are feeding and clothing the world – and it’s important to never forget that. I am thrilled that we have a day, really a whole week, where we can celebrate the bounty of the American harvest.”

    Secretary Perdue also released a video celebrating America’s agriculture community. To watch more of Secretary Perdue’s remarks, please view the National Agriculture Day Remarks from Sonny Perdue video .

    La Junta: 24th Annual Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, ​April 11 & 12, 2018

    The ditch that moves water from Lost Man Reservoir to Grizzly Reservoir and then under the Divide to the South Fork of Lake Creek and the Arkansas River.

    Click here for all the inside skinny and to register. From the website:

    Each year the Forum Board of Directors recruits a new host community within the Basin to help plan the Forum. This tradition ensures that the Forum broadens relationships throughout the Arkansas Basin, which is spatially the largest river basin in Colorado covering 27% of the State’s area (28,268 sq. mi.). Our goal has been to have the location of the Forum move annually within the Basin.

    #Drought news: Fix-a-leak week March 19-25, 2018

    From The Summit Daily (Deepan Dutta):

    In the Colorado mountains, climate change is causing rising temperatures, shorter winters and lower snowpacks, leading to growing prospects of a statewide drought this summer. Water waste compounds the problem, as the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that household leaks alone waste 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide every year. As part of the effort to promote water conservation, the EPA and High Country Conservation Center are asking homeowners to hunt for household leaks during the 10th annual Fix a Leak Week.

    While the Blue River Basin is relatively robust this season, the news isn’t good across the rest of the state. According to a February report from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, 71 percent of the state is in some level of drought classification. Statewide precipitation from snowfall is at 70 percent of average, and long-term forecasts indicate the state will see a warmer, drier spring than normal.

    “This could be the new normal,” said Colorado River District spokesman Jim Pokrandt. “Colorado’s in our 17th year of sustained, below-average snowpack, and a lot of skiers have already noticed it as there aren’t as many powder days. This year certainly illustrates the fact that drought is in our face.”


    While humans cannot directly control the climate (yet), there are easily manageable ways to save water in our homes. The EPA says that individual households may waste up to 10,000 gallons a year because of leaks. Plugging those leaks is a simple, but effective, way to save a lot of water and money…

    In its 10th year, Fix a Leak Week runs from March 19-25. The aim of the campaign is to get homeowners to think of ways they can promote water conservation at home, either by mending leaks or replacing old fixtures…

    Pokrandt suggested other ways homeowners may save water, including installing low-flow faucets and showerheads as well as inspecting landscape irrigation systems for leaks. Better yet, he said, is to use landscaping that is more appropriate for the local environment.

    “A lot of us moved from the East, where they get 40 or so inches of rain, and that makes them think they should have fence-to-fence bluegrass carpeting out here, too,” he said. “You should have regionally appropriate landscaping, and not try not to make your place look like it’s in Charlotte, North Carolina.”

    For more information about Fix a Leak Week and ways to conserve water at home, visit the EPA’s website at EPA.gov/watersense/fix-leak-week.

    From The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Ty Betts):

    “We’re in a drought and we’ve been in a drought for 18 years,” [Luke] Runyon said. “It’s not getting better, and there is more and more reason to think that this is the new normal.”

    2018 in particular is shaping up to be an extremely low year for snowpack, Runyon said, which means less water will be available to the seven U.S. states and Mexico who all pull from the Colorado River. Runyon said 2002 was the driest year ever recorded for the Colorado River basin, and this year is only slightly above those levels.

    Research from the Natural Resource Conservation Service shows that Colorado is only at 66 percent of average snowpack for 2018.

    “People say we could maybe make (snowfall) up in months like April and May but at this point, it would take some pretty crazy snowstorms to make up that deficit,” Runyon said.