Colorado eyes activating drought response plan

Your Water Colorado Blog

StrontiaSpringsRes_S.PlatteRiv Front Range cities such as Denver have good supplies in reservoirs this year. Strontia Springs is one of Denver Water’s storage facilities.

Program would aid hard-hit southern portions of the state

By Jerd Smith, Water Education Colorado

Colorado state officials will decide within the next 10 days whether to activate a drought response plan, a move designed to help farmers and towns in the ultra-dry southeastern and southwestern portions of the state.

“The whole point of a drought plan is to make it hurt less,” said Taryn Finnessey, senior climate change specialist for the state. Her remarks came Thursday at a meeting of the state’s Water Availability Task Force in Denver.

If the plan is activated, Finnessey said it would offer some concrete relief to communities and farmers who are already experiencing serious drought conditions, helping facilitate grants, and in some instances, insurance payments to those who are being harmed…

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@WaterEdCO launches digital water news initiative

Jerd Smith. Photo credit: Water Education Colorado.

I am so excited that WECO is putting this together. Water journalism will reap huge benefits from this effort. I have read a lot of content from Jerd Smith over the years. She is accurate and understands the complexities of water issues in the West. She has an accessible writing style that will help you understand and learn.

From email from Water Education Colorado:

Spring is in the air, and our team is growing! I am pleased to announce that we have hired a new staff member here at Water Education Colorado. Please welcome Jerd Smith, an award-winning editor and reporter, who will lead a news initiative designed to expand coverage of the critical water issues facing Colorado and the American West.

Jerd is a respected journalist with a deep background on water in Colorado. I am thrilled that she has joined our team to tackle this important new program offering. Our goal in bringing Jerd on is to reach a much wider audience with timely, relevant information about what is happening in Colorado water. This will round out the suite of programs we already offer to advance awareness and informed decision making statewide.

Jerd most recently served as business news editor overseeing coverage for the Boulder Daily Camera and Times-Call newspapers in Boulder County. She spent more than a decade at the Rocky Mountain News before its closure in 2009. While there, she led a drought team that won Stanford University’s first Risser Prize in environmental reporting. Her work has also been honored by the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, Scripps, and the American Planning Association, among others. Jerd has also been a regular contributor to Headwaters magazine over the past 10 years.

In her new role at Water Education Colorado, Jerd will help design and launch a weekly digital news report that includes in-depth reporting on current water issues. This content will be available at no cost to other media and news organizations that choose to carry it, as well as to Water Education Colorado members and the general public, via our website and various social media platforms.

Click here to read Jerd’s article, “Keeping It Clean: Protecting and enhancing water quality on the Colorado”, from the Summer 2011 issue of Headwaters Magazine.

@WaterEdCO: 2018 Water Fluency Program Registration is NOW OPEN!

Looking downstream from Chasm View, Painted Wall on right. Photo credit: NPS\Lisa Lynch

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

What is Water Fluency?

Our Water Fluency program is a professional development course for non-water professionals. Learn the language of water and develop tools for navigating water management and policy issues so you can lead with confidence.

Water is critical for every aspect of community vibrancy, from industry to commerce to agriculture, tourism, health, and the environment—but it isn’t always clear how policy and management decisions around water trickle down to affect other sectors or vice versa.

This comprehensive program will help you make those connections.

Now in its fourth year, the program has rotated around the state. This is the first year it will be hosted in the southern Front Range…


Four in-person classroom days; water-focused site visits; and online discussions and homework between classroom days. The scheduled program dates are:

May 22 and 23 in Pueblo

June 22 in Colorado Springs

July 20 in Fountain

The online portion of the program is provided through a partnership with Colorado State University using their online campus to provide participants unique access to the same lectures, discussions and quizzes that degree-seeking students have.

Webinar: Policy Questions Around Water Sharing and Alternative Transfer Methods, January 11th, 2018 — @WaterEdCO

Credit: Cattleman’s Ditches Pipeline Project II Montrose County, Colorado EIS via USBR.

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

Flexible water sharing agreements or alternative transfer methods (ATMs) could help keep water in agriculture while supplies are shared with municipalities or others to meet the many water needs of the state’s population. Colorado’s Water Plan calls for 50,000 acre-feet of water to be identified in ATMs by 2030.

How can Colorado reach its goal and scale up the adoption of alternative transfer methods? Join Water Education Colorado to explore the conversations around existing policy and policy changes that might increase the adoption of ATMs.

We’ll hear from expert speakers:

Kevin Rein, Colorado’s State Engineer
Peter Nichols, Special counsel to the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and to the Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Co., Inc.
Jim Yahn, Manager of the North Sterling Irrigation District

When: January 11th, 2018 9:30 AM through 10:30 AM

Webinar Fee:
WEco member $ 10.00
non-WEco member $ 15.00