The November 2016 eWaterNews is hot off the presses from @Northern_Water

First water through the Adams Tunnel. Photo credit  Northern Water.
First water through the Adams Tunnel. Photo credit Northern Water.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

The C-BT Project water year ended on Oct. 31. C-BT Project storage levels on Nov. 1 were above average for a third consecutive year, with 548,274 acre-feet in active storage. The Nov. 1 average is 444,177 AF. Deliveries increased in 2016 over 2015 levels, with 204,078 AF delivered (including quota, Carryover Program and Regional Pool Program water). Forty-six percent of the deliveries were from Horsetooth Reservoir, 40 percent from Carter Lake and the remaining 14 percent went to the Big Thompson River, Hansen Feeder Canal and the South Platte River. Estimated deliveries to municipal and industrial users totaled 102,157 AF, while agricultural deliveries were approximately 101,921 AF.

How Fort Collins’ biggest brewery reduced its thirst — Fort Collins Coloradan

Photo credit Colorado Brewed.
Photo credit Colorado Brewed.

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Jacy Marmaduke):

Anheuser-Busch’s Fort Collins facility reached a water-to-beer ratio of about 2.9 gallons this year, the lowest of the city’s 21 breweries.

Brewery leaders say there’s still plenty of wiggle room for water conservation, especially for a facility that churns out about 10 million barrels of beer each year using only Fort Collins Utilities water from Horsetooth Reservoir and the Cache la Poudre River. That’s a lot of water to make the brewery’s popular beverages, and with the city entering its first weeks of severe drought, the spotlight on conservation is as bright as ever.

“Every year, we’re watching that snowpack,” A-B senior brewmaster Katie Rippel said. “It can turn on a dime. We’ve had a couple good winters in a row — I call it fat, dumb and happy — but it was only a few years ago when that wasn’t the case.”

A-B’s water use decreased 11 percent between 2011 and 2015, thanks in part to a tweak that allows re-use of the water used to rinse the brewery’s towering fermentation tanks.

The brewery didn’t provide its total water usage, but Coloradoan calculations indicate it now uses upwards of 900 million gallons of water each year, equal to the annual water use of about one-sixth of Fort Collins households. The estimate comes from the brewery’s water-to-beer ratio and its 2014 production volume.

Brewer Bill Workman, who designed and implemented the rinsing water change with maintenance technician Tim Burge, came up with the idea after noticing how much water and yeast drained out of the brewery’s massive, multi-story fermentation tanks during rinsing.

Workman, a Berthoud native who’s worked at A-B since the year after it opened in 1988, wondered if all that water could be re-used in earlier steps of the brewing process.

“We were told it couldn’t be done,” he recalled during an interview in the brewery’s upper-level tasting room. “We were like, ‘Wanna bet?’ Katie said, ‘Go find a way.’

Workman and Burge spent close to a year engineering a programming pathway for their idea that wouldn’t sacrifice the quality of the brewery’s two-dozen-odd beers or interfere with other parts of the brewing process.

The change was fully implemented in summer of 2015 and saves about 800,000 gallons of water each year. Other North American A-B breweries are now starting to implement the change and finding comparable water savings.

Other conservation methods have helped the brewery reduce its water use, including installation of low-flow nozzles on every tank, re-use of water throughout the cleaning and bottling process and technology that helps brewers determine when equipment is truly clean, reducing rinse water.

The floor for water use is about 1 gallon of water for every gallon of beer, plus a smaller amount used for cleaning, Rippel estimated.

“Everything else is on the table,” she said, adding the brewery will next look for even more ways to re-use water and cut down on water used during cleaning.

Water conservation means cost savings for the brewery, which pays for its Fort Collins Utilities water like any other customer. It also means something more personal to employees, many of whom have worked in the brewery and lived in the Fort Collins area for decades.

“That’s why we’re trying to minimize our impact: All of us love the area we live in,” Rippel said. “I mean, we want to be good corporate citizens, but it’s more about, ‘I live here, and I’m using the same water to brew that I’m using at home.’ So I’m protecting mine.”

Water usage at other Fort Collins breweries

  • The Nos. 2 and 3 breweries for production, New Belgium Brewing Co. and Odell Brewing Co., respectively use about 4 gallons and 3.6 gallons of water per gallons of beer produced. Economy of scale makes it difficult for smaller breweries to achieve the same water savings as larger producers.
  • The industry average water-to-beer ratio is about 7:1, according to the Brewers Association
  • .

    CCWCD closes on two projects

    Geisert Reservoir photo via the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District.
    Geisert Reservoir photo via the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District.

    Here’s the release from the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District (Randy Ray or Kathy Parker):

    ““CCWCD is pleased to announce the acquisition Geisert Reservoir. Every opportunity CCWCD can, we partner with good people such as Weld County – it’s proven to be a win-win for the two agencies. The support of the Weld County Commissioners regarding irrigated agriculture is so impressive, the residents of Weld County have to be proud.” –Randy W. Ray – CCWCD Executive Director

    “CCWCD staff and Board of Directors constantly evaluate projects which provide the best benefit for our constituents as economical as possible. The CCWCD Board was successful in siting a diversion point on the South Platte River for the Bijou Hill Recharge Project – will provide a supply of water to the South Platte River when operational that will last for years.” — Randy W. Ray – CCWCD Executive Director

    Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and Weld County Commissioners formally executed a closing on Geisert Reservoir November 8th. This water storage project takes advantage of a mined-out gravel pit on the north bank of the Cache La Poudre River, near 11th avenue, in north Greeley. Geisert Reservoir has a perimeter slurry wall that limits interaction of groundwater, the slurry wall liner was tested and approved by the Colorado Division of Water Resources. The reservoir capacity is 1,257 acre-feet and should be full by the end of November. The water being used to fill Geisert Reservoir during the months of November and December originates from a lease with the City of Thornton and other water supplies owned by CCWCD upstream of Greeley. The water will be held in storage for a short time period and released in approximately January of 2017 for augmentation of Central’s 1,000-member agricultural irrigation wells. The CCWCD agricultural members are located in parts of Adams, Morgan and Weld Counties.

    A second closing was held on November 10th for CCWCD’s Bijou Hill Recharge Project in western Morgan County near the town of Orchard, Colorado. This land near the South Platte River will become a new point of water diversion in which water will be pumped south of the river several miles to recharge projects. These recharge projects include ponds which will be constructed as shallow infiltration basins with the intent of rapid seepage into the underlying groundwater aquifer. The water after delivered to the groundwater aquifer becomes as water supply to be used for augmentation of agricultural wells in CCWCD’s plans of augmentation which include roughly 1,000 wells in parts of Adams, Morgan and Weld Counties. The groundwater recharge project will be a tremendous benefit to the CCWCD augmentation plans operated by the CCWCD Sub-Districts – the Groundwater Management Subdistrict and the Well Augmentation Subdistrict.

    Augmentation plans are Water Court decreed legal agreements which allow irrigation wells to pump out of priority while preventing injury to more senior water rights using projects such as Geisert Reservoir and Bijou Hill Recharge.

    Bijou Hill Recharge and Geisert Reservoir will not only help farmers and livestock producers with their needed water supplies, but also offer an added benefit of creating new wildlife habitat and water quality improvements.

    CCWCD – Where the Future Flows

    If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Randy Ray or Kathy Parker at 970-330-4540 or email at rray@ccwcd.org

    South Platte River alluvial aquifer
    South Platte River alluvial aquifer

    TOUR de POUDRE, October 23, 2016

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    Click here for all the inside skinny. Here’s an excerpt:

    Please join Save The Poudre at the first bike “TOUR de POUDRE!” Come dressed as your favorite river species, or just come dressed! We’ll ride along the Poudre River bike trail from Watson Lake in Bellvue downstream to the Environmental Learning Center, and then rendezvous at Avogadro’s for libations and cheer.

    Fort Collins: Water and sewer rate hikes in the works for budget

    Fort Collins back in the day via Larimer County
    Fort Collins back in the day via Larimer County

    From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

    The recommended 2017-18 budget for Fort Collins calls for higher rates in all of the city’s utilities — electrical, water, wastewater and stormwater. Inflation and higher operating costs are driving the proposed increases, but so are long-range plans to build and maintain costly infrastructure needed to provide services to a growing community, said Mike Beckstead, the city’s chief financial officer.

    Although charges would vary, the proposed rate increases would add approximately $6.29 per month to the average residential customer bill in 2017, bringing average monthly payments to $166.69. Another $4.65 per month would be added in 2018.

    Overall rates for water service would increase 5 percent in 2017 and 2018, wastewater service would increase 3 percent each year, and stormwater charges would increase 5 percent next year but would not change in 2018.

    Those increases would help the utilities build up funds to pay for projects in 10-year capital improvement plans, said Lance Smith, strategic financial director for utilities…

    Reducing the water and stormwater rate increases from 5 percent to 3 percent would in 2017 save the average residential customer about $1.15 a month, Smith said.

    Without the 5 percent increases, plans to hire two full-time water conservation specialists and a construction inspector would have to wait a year, Smith said. A $1.4 million project to rehabilitate Mail Creek in southeast Fort Collins would not be funded.

    Utilities projects currently funded in the proposed budget include:

  • Replacement of aging water mains in high-priority areas: $1.9 million in 2017; $1.35 million in 2018.
  • Replacement of infrastructure in the city’s Water Quality Lab: $1.3 million each year.
  • Replacement of a raw water line running from the Poudre River to the city’s water treatment facility: $800,000 in 2017.
  • Replacement of equipment used to remove water for wastewater sludge and stabilize biosolids to be spread at Meadow Springs Ranch: $2.1 million each year.
  • Improvements to the oxbow levee on the Poudre River and to keep the Buckingham neighborhood out of the designated 100-year floodplain: $850,000 in 2017.
  • Construction of the third phase of a stormwater system between Lemay Avenue and Redwood Street: $1.6 million in 2017; $1.7 million in 2018.
  • The addition of 10 full-time employees in a variety of roles, including conservation programs: $793,000 in 2017.
  • […]

    The council is scheduled to adopt the budget in November. For online information about the budget, visit http://fcgov.com/budget.

    Michigan Ditch tunnel hits daylight

    Boring machine photo via City of Fort Collins.
    Boring machine photo via City of Fort Collins.

    From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

    The rotating cutting wheel of a custom-built tunnel boring machine began to slowly emerge from a mountainside around 5 a.m., said Owen Randall, chief engineer with Fort Collins Utilities.

    The breakthrough was an exciting moment for crews that have been working on the 760-foot-long tunnel near Cameron Pass since June…

    Crews still have four to six weeks of work to wrap up the project, which will carry Michigan Ditch and its valuable water to city-owned Joe Wright Reservoir.

    Dismantling and removing a tunnel boring machine from the mountain will take three to four days. Hydraulic and electronic equipment used to operate the machine will be stripped from the tunnel before a 60-inch diameter pipe is installed to carry the water.

    Weather could be a challenge as crews hustle to wrap up the project before heavy snowfall comes to the area. A few inches of snow fell last weekend, Randall said, but has since melted away…

    Crews have been working on the project 24 hours a day since mid-September to make up for delays caused by equipment problems and the challenge of cutting through exceptionally hard rock.

    Michigan Ditch provides the city with 2,000 to 3,000 acre-feet of raw water a year. The water is used to meet return flow obligations on the Poudre River mandated through various water-exchange agreements.

    The market value of water supplied through the Michigan Ditch-Joe Wright Reservoir system is about $180 million, according to the city.

    The tunnel project is in response to a slow-moving landslide that has been affecting the ditch for several years. Damage was especially severe in 2015.

    City officials decided to protect the piped ditch by sending it through bedrock that the slide can’t affect. The project is expected to cost Fort Collins Utilities about $8.5 million.

    For more information on the project, see http://fcgov.com/michigan-ditch-tunnel.

    Joe Wright Reservoir (Courtesy of Dick Stenzel at the Applegate Group) and the City of Fort Collins.
    Joe Wright Reservoir (Courtesy of Dick Stenzel at the Applegate Group) and the City of Fort Collins.

    Michigan Ditch tunnel update

    Joe Wright Reservoir (Courtesy of Dick Stenzel at the Applegate Group) and the City of Fort Collins.
    Joe Wright Reservoir (Courtesy of Dick Stenzel at the Applegate Group) and the City of Fort Collins.

    From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

    After overcoming equipment problems and putting in 24-hour work days, crews on Wednesday were within 35 feet of reaching the end of what will be a 764-foot-long tunnel.

    “We’ve made tremendous progress …,” said Owen Randall, chief engineer with Fort Collins Utilities. “We should be out sometime (Thursday) or Friday at the very latest.”

    Breaking through the mountain will be done slowly and carefully to avoid destabilizing the mountainside, he said.

    Crews still have four to six weeks of work to wrap up the project, which will carry Michigan Ditch and its valuable water to city-owned Joe Wright Reservoir near Cameron Pass.

    Dismantling and removing a custom-built tunnel boring machine from the mountain will take three to four days. Hydraulic and electronic equipment used to operate the machine will be stripped from the tunnel before a 60-inch diameter pipe is installed to carry the water.