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

Webinar: Policy Questions Around Alternative Transfer Methods — @WaterEdCO

Photo credit: Allen Best

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.

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

Webinar Fee:

WEco member $ 10.00
non-WEco member $ 15.00

@WaterEdCO: Applications Open for the 2018 Water Leaders Program!

Colorado River headwaters tributary in Rocky Mountain National Park photo via Greg Hobbs.

Click here for all the inside skinny:

The Water Leaders program is recognized as the premier professional development course for the water community in Colorado. Since 2006, the program has provided training to participants across Colorado, helping them become more effective leaders. Water Education Colorado staff has worked hard year after year to adapt and evolve the course to build the skills of water professionals that will prepare them to address current water issues by using the most advanced leadership development tools and trainings available, and we could not be more proud of the evolution of the program.

The goal of the Water Leaders program is to positively impact the Colorado.

@CFWEWater workshop: 2017 Considerations in Implementing Regional Water Solutions

WISE Project map via Denver Water

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

Our future requires that regional efforts provide some solutions to water supply shortfalls and projects. As Colorado’s urban areas grow, we must consider leveraging resources, infrastructure, water supply and facilities to secure general well-being and a healthy economy. This informative, day-long workshop provides a forum for planning and discussion around the best approaches for regional water solutions. It includes a close examination of the tradeoffs, hurdles, and opportunities for success.

Rising Colorado water leaders meet with Colorado River District board

By Brent Gardner-Smith, Aspen Journalism

The Government Highline Canal is managed by the Grand Valley Water Users Association, and serves as a major source of irrigation water in the Grand Valley.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A group of water leaders in Colorado, most new to their posts, appeared before the board of the Colorado River District on Tuesday in Glenwood Springs.

Becky Mitchell, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and Kevin Rein, state hydraulic engineer for Colorado, both of whom took their current positions in July, introduced themselves to the river district board, which includes representatives of 15 Western Slope counties.

Mitchell said it was important for the state to develop a long-term source of funding for new water projects in both the Denver metro area and the Western Slope, but she said the various river-basin plans in the state needed to be prioritized before a funding question is put to voters.

“We don’t want to take some ballot measure up that won’t pass,” said Mitchell, who was promoted to her new position at CWCB after working on the 2015 state water plan. “We want to make sure we get everything prepared so we have the most chance for success, because this is such an important issue.”

Rein, who serves as the state’s water-law enforcer, said he intends to continue the policies and practices of his predecessor, Dick Wolfe, and that he hopes to administer water rights and respond to water court applications with consistency and transparency.

“It all comes down to balance for me,” Rein said, in trying to administer water rights against competing demands.

Jayla Poppleton, who has been the executive director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education since January, also went before the river district board Tuesday, describing her organization’s new brand positioning.

Created by the state Legislature in 2002 to inform citizens about water, the organization is changing its name to Water Education Colorado, and its new logo is based on the layout of the state’s eight river basins.

The logo for Water Education Colorado seeks to convey a conversation about the eight river basins in Colorado as defined by the state’s basin roundtables, which are represented in the logo in clockwise fashion, and include, from the top left, the Yampa/White, North Platte, South Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, Gunnison, Southwest/San Juan/Dolores, and Colorado basins.

Andrew Mueller, who starts as new general manager of the river district on Dec. 1, was also at the meeting.

An attorney at a law firm in Glenwood Springs, Mueller once lived in Ouray and represented Ouray County on the Colorado River District’s board from 2006-2015. He was hired in September upon unanimous consent by the river district’s board.

At the district’s next quarterly board meeting in January, Mueller will officially replace Eric Kuhn, the district’s current general manager, who is retiring after 37 years.

Kuhn has a deep understanding of Colorado River issues, and he and John Carron, an engineer with Hydros Consulting Inc., presented to the board the latest findings of an ongoing “risk study” focusing on ways to keep enough water in Lake Powell in the face of another sharp drought.

Also presenting at Tuesday’s meeting was Mark Harris, the general manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association, which diverts water out of the Colorado River in De Beque Canyon, at the red-roofed roller dam.

Harris was before the river district’s board seeking financial support for the second year of an experimental program that pays irrigators to fallow fields or crops, lower their consumptive use, and leave water in the river to help keep Lake Powell operational.

The association is one of the big three diverters in the Grand Valley, and provides water to 25,000 irrigated acres on the north side of the valley from Palisade to Mack via the 55-mile-long Government Highline Canal.

In 2017, the association compensated 10 large irrigators, whose names have not been disclosed, to fallow a total of 1,252 acres of irrigated land on parcels ranging from 60 acres to 240 acres.

A map showing, in red, the participants in the Grand Valley Water User’s Association program in 2017 to conserve consumptive use in the Grand Valley near Grand Junction.
An irrigated hayfield in the Grand Valley irrigated by the Government Highline Canal. Summer, 2017.

The 2017 program, which concludes this month, will result in 3,200 acre-feet of water not being used for irrigation.

The association funded the program with $1,039,000. Of that, it put $145,000 in an infrastructure fund, used $169,000 for program management, and paid $725,000 to irrigators. (That works out to about $225 per acre-foot of “conserved consumptive use” to the irrgators.)

Major funding sources for the program included The Nature Conservancy, the state of Colorado, and Denver Water. The association intends to run the program again in 2018.

Harris said the association continues to learn about how such a fallowing program in the Grand Valley might work in the face of a drought or other challenge to complying with the Colorado River compact, which requires Colorado and other states in the upper Colorado River basin to provide a set amount of water to California, Arizona, and Nevada, even in dry years.

Editor’s note: Aspen Journalism is collaborating with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, the Vail Daily and the Summit Daily News on the coverage or rivers and water.

@CFWEWater Webinar: Aquatic Nuisance Species The Threat and Solutions

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

On Tuesday, October 24th, from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, the Colorado Water Congress and the Colorado Foundation for Water Education will host a webinar on the threat of aquatic nuisance species, specifically zebra and quagga mussels, to our waterways and delivery systems in Colorado.

Aquatic nuisance species continues to be a hot topic for the water community, but we need to reach beyond our own network when communicating about this looming threat to our pristine waterways. Join us to learn about the threat these invasive mussels pose, and how Colorado is working to educate the public and our policy makers so we can maintain healthy waterways and infrastructure.

Speakers:

  • Mike Preston | Dolores Water Conservancy District
  • Ken Curtis | Dolores Water Conservancy District
  • Doug Vilsack | Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Doug Krieger | Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Registration is FREE! Learn more and register here.

    @CFWE Water: Innovating for Viability Land and Water Tour recap

    Here’s a recap of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education “Innovating for Viability Land and Water Tour” from KOAA.com (Caiti Blase):

    The group included elected officials, community leaders, and interested citizens who toured different farms and a research center.

    The goal was to come together and discuss current water resources for agriculture and what can be done to ensure there’s enough water for the future.

    Michael Hirakata, co-owner of Hirakata Farms, said, “It all starts with water. Without water we can’t grow the food.”

    That’s the message Hirakata wants everyone in Colorado to hear.

    “This year there’s plenty of water. It’s trying to rain right now, but Mother Nature is not always the same and we’re going to need a lot of water to feed the population of Colorado.”

    The population of the state only continues to grow.

    Kate Greenberg of The National Young Farmers Coalition said, “As water gets tighter, as we have more pressure on our water, it’s really going to take a lot of collaboration and alliances.”

    Hirakata and other farmers are already doing that and sharing their practices with tour groups like the one that met on Wednesday.

    “We told them about sub-surface irrigation and the way we manage sub-surface irrigation,” said Hirakata.

    “We call it drip-tape and we put it in the ground…and the water never sees the light of day so there’s less evaporation.”

    It’s a water technique he’s been practicing for many years after being hit by droughts.

    “We weren’t going to have much water, also the yields-we were seeing some of our neighbors try it and the yields were a little bit higher than what we were getting so we thought well, we need to adjust our farming practices also.”

    Now, he wants other people to start doing the same and to continue to come up with new ways to conserve water.

    Greenberg said, “We’re all connected whether we know it or not to farming through food that we eat and the water that we use, and I think folks here today recognize that they play a role in that landscape.”