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From the Moab Sun News:
Finding solutions to keep more water in the Colorado River for people and nature is the goal of the 2017 Southeastern Utah Water Workshop on Monday, Oct. 16. The Colorado River supplies drinking water to more than 36 million people, irrigates more than 5.5 million acres of land and supports a $26 billion recreation and tourism industry. However, this lifeline of the West is facing serious challenges, including water quantity and quality.
Featuring prominent speakers from across the region addressing key topics on water-related issues around southeastern Utah and the Colorado River Basin, the workshop will be held at the Moab Valley Inn, 711 S. Main St.
“Enduring solutions to our most pressing water issues (depend) on the active involvement of people and partners,” said Sue Bellagamba, Canyonlands Regional Director for The Nature Conservancy in Utah. “This inclusive event is designed to generate positive action that provides the most benefit for people who live near, use, visit and otherwise depend upon the waters (of) the Colorado River system.”
“As the second driest state in the nation, Utah faces a constant challenge to its limited water resources that sustain our communities, our farms and industries and our natural world,” Emery Water Conservancy District Manager Jay Humphrey said. “By working cooperatively together, we can develop solutions that benefit both people and nature.”
Increasing water demands and climate change bring immense challenges to water users in seven states. The workshop will showcase an innovative, market-based conservation program that allows landowners, ranches and cities to take part in a voluntary, compensated water use reduction program. There will also be presentations on endangered fish species, the Colorado River Compact, policy, water-resilient landscape design and nature-based solutions, among other subjects.
The event is coordinated by The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University-Moab, Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University, the Utah Division of Water Rights and the Emery Water Conservancy District.
The workshop begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16. Early-bird tickets cost $30 before Friday, Oct. 6. All ticket sales after Oct. 6 are $40. Spots are limited. Register at: http://coloradomesa.edu/water-center.
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Join us Saturday, October 7th to learn about how the Grand Valley’s economy depends on our rivers for its growth and vitality.
10 am-5 pm- meet at Edgewater Brewing, 905 Struthers Ave, Grand Junction
Orchard Mesa Pump & Power Plant site
Lunch at a farm
Las Colonias Park/Watson Island
Happy Hour at Edgewater!
This event is being organized in collaboration with Business for Water Stewardship, Alpine Bank, Colorado River District, Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Economic Partnership, and the Grand Junction Outdoor Recreation Coalition.
Sponsors: Hutchins Water Center at CMU, Business for Water Stewardship, Denver Water, Walton Family Foundation
Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:
Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum
John Fleck, Director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program and author of Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water in the West
Brian Richter, President, Sustainable Waters
From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):
The Colorado River is a still largely unrecognized asset that could flood the Grand Valley with economic opportunities, speakers said at a State of the River conference Monday.
“We’re not maximizing use of the river from a commercial perspective,” Sam Williams, general manager of Powderhorn Mountain Resort, told about 50 people at the conference at the Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction.
Williams spoke on a panel with Palisade-area fruitgrower Bruce Talbott, Grand Junction Economic Partnership Executive Director Kristi Pollard, Alpine Bank Senior Vice President David Miller and Sarah Shrader, owner of Bonsai Design in Grand Junction and a founder of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition.
“We sell lifestyle” when trying to attract businesses to the Grand Valley, and a large part of that is the presence of “this amazing asset we have,” the Colorado River, Pollard said.
Shrader, whose company is developing an outdoor-recreation business park along the river, noted that other cities that have taken advantage of the river through town to use as an attraction have seen a turnaround in the business climate to one of optimism and activity.
“This community is poised to do something really fantastic,” Shrader said.
Involving businesses and people in the river can aid with the recovery of the four endangered fish species in the Colorado River Basin, as well as others, such as the Western yellow-billed cuckoo, by encouraging an ethic of stewardship, Shrader said.
All of Alpine Bank’s branches sit on or near the banks of the Colorado or one of its many tributaries, Miller said.
That has served as a reminder that the health of the river is directly tied to the health of the businesses along it, Miller said.
Alpine Bank has moved to reduce its water use by 40 percent and has saved $12,000 annually in doing so, he noted.
Agriculture in the east end of the Grand Valley — peaches and grapes specifically — has served to make his family business “the darling of the valley,” Talbott said.
It’s been successful on the financial score, as the 2,500 acres of fruit lands generate some $60 million in ultimate retail sales, Talbott noted.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that fruitgrowers and others are well served to look out for their water supplies because, “We farm at the consent of the public,” Talbott said.
“We have to grow (crops) as inexpensively as possible” while looking to assure long-term water supplies, Talbott said.
The meeting was sponsored by The Colorado River Water Conservation District, the Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University and the Business for Water Stewardship. Alpine Bank, the Tamarisk Coalition and Club 20 also supported the conference.
From NBC11News.com (Carly Moore):
There were many speakers at the ‘State of the River’ event, taking a critical look at the resource flowing through the valley. They explained the challenges the water supply faces…
Experts are concerned because they believe the river is operating at a long-term deficit, meaning more water is used than the amount we gain from rain or snow.
“Water is really important in Colorado because we are an arid state,” said Aaron Clay, a Delta water law attorney. “It takes water to make any economy run, whether it’s agriculture, manufacturing or municipal.”
“So between people and industry asking more of the river system — and this is all states states on the river — and warming temperatures, that has put a burden on supply,” said Jim Pokrandt, the community affairs director of the Colorado River District.
Gigi Richard, faculty director of the CMU’s Water Center, said the only source of water is precipitation. With a third of the Colorado River Basin getting fewer than 10 inches of rain each year on average, the Colorado River relies on melted snow pack.
“In a sense we’re snow farmers,” Pokrandt said. “While some people may paying attention to commodity prices, our commodity is snow pack.”
Richard said more than 80 percent of Mesa County’s water is used for agricultural irrigation.
Though it’s valuable for family homes to conserve water as much as possible, Clay said that doesn’t put a dent in it.
From the Colorado River District via The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
Learn more about the Colorado River
The public is invited to a free day of learning about the Colorado River at the annual Mesa County State of the River meeting from 3:30 to 8 p.m. on May 15 at the Avalon Theatre.
The event is organized by the Colorado River District, Business for Water Stewardship and the Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University. The event is supported by Alpine Bank, Club 20 and the Tamarisk Coalition.
For more information, contact Jim Pokrandt at the Colorado River District at 970-945-8522 x236, or email@example.com; or Molly Mugglestone of the Business for Water Stewardship, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:
DOUBLE PEAK SNOWPACK MELTING
The amount of water in the Upper Colorado Basinwide snowpack peaked early, started to melt and then bumped back up, before dropping steeply again. Similar stories unfolded in the sub-basins, with the Upper Green and Duchesne groups showing the most impressive peaks and the Yampa/ White group the only one to post lower than average numbers. To see how the total accumulations by month add up in Colorado’s basins, choose the stacked bar option on this page.