Pueblo County Planning and Development Board okays gravel pit near Bessemer Ditch

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Anthony A. Mestas):

[A] contentious battle over a proposed gravel pit at Badger Hills between Avondale Boulevard and 40th Lane came to an end with a granted permit from the Pueblo County Planning and Development Board.

If appealed, the decision would go to the Pueblo County commissioners.

The company has been granted a special-use permit for a 1,500-acre mineral and natural resource extraction and mining operation.

Those in opposition of the proposal have complained about the amount of truckloads that would travel along 36th Lane to U.S. 50 in front of Vineland Elementary School and Vineland Middle School.

The opponents said they do intend to appeal the decision. They have 10 days to do so.

Earlier, there even was contention on the vote. The permit passed 5-1. Donald Thorne voted no. Then he resigned from the commission. He said he was not happy with some of the decisions the planning commission has made recently.

Fremont Paving has an existing gravel pit on 36th Lane. If the commissioners allow the permit, a private road would connect the existing gravel pit to the new operation. The haul route from there would continue on 36th Lane.

John Paul Ary, of Fremont Paving, said his company is limited to 70 trucks a day from the new site to the existing one. Those in opposition said there would be 200 plus trucks a day when added to the truckloads already coming from the older operation.

Those in opposition also have said the operation would cause environmental concerns in the area and thick dust.

New study highlights benefits and costs of action and inaction on #drought

Here’s the release from the World Meteorological Organization:

Working paper seeks to support policy and practice on drought mitigation and preparedness

Significant progress has been made over the past decade in improving understanding of droughts and their impacts. However, several questions remain, including the real costs to a country’s economy, and whether the price of preparing for droughts is worth it. A new study released by the World Meteorological Organization and Global Water Partnership seeks to answer these questions.

The working paper reviewed an extensive range of literature on the benefits of action and costs of inaction of drought mitigation and preparedness. It was prepared for the Integrated Drought Management Programme as part of efforts to support the development of more proactive drought policies and better predictive mechanisms.

“Identifying not only the costs of inaction, but also the immediate and long term benefits of being better prepared for drought will be crucial in making a convincing case for mitigating drought risks. This study on the current state of the knowledge will be an important contribution in moving towards a more proactive approach to address drought risks” said Oyun Sanjaasuren, Chair of the Global Water Partnership.

“Unlike floods and tropical cyclones, drought is a slow onset disaster. But – as the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa shows – its impact is just as devastating in terms of human suffering and loss of livelihoods. We need to move away from the traditional piecemeal, crisis-driven response and adopt modern tools, in the form of integrated drought management policies, to increase climate resilience,” noted Robert Stefanski, WMO’s Head of the Integrated Drought Management Programme Technical Support Unit.

The paper reviews economic drought impact assessments and describes the main obstacles and opportunities facing the transition from crisis management to risk management. Presently, many available estimates of drought costs are partial and difficult to compare. Too little is known about the costs of indirect and longer-term drought impacts because of lack of data.

Droughts: recurrent feature of climate

Droughts are a recurrent and normal feature of almost any climate, even in comparatively water-rich countries. One study indicates that that about 10% of the territory of the United States is affected by drought at any given time. Between 2000 and 2006, 15% of the European Union’s land area was affected by drought. Droughts have occurred in different locations across Vietnam in 40 out of the past 50 years.

The countries that are most vulnerable to Gross Domestic Product losses due to droughts are in eastern and southern Africa, South America, and South and Southeast Asia, according to one study cited in the working paper.

It features a case study on Brazil, where droughts, especially in the northeast, are expected to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of global climate change. Drought and climate change combined with existing pressure on freshwater availability and quality are likely to lead to new and increased water management challenges. These have been recognized by the Brazilian water community, including resource managers and users, researchers and policymakers.

Drought preparedness and risk mitigation helps lower the eventual drought relief costs. For example, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated that the US would save at least USD 2 on future disaster costs from every USD 1 spent on drought risk mitigation, the study shows.

“Given the scale of the issue and the likely drought trends under climate change, it is essential to have a well-defined strategy for mitigating the impacts of drought and enhancing drought preparedness,” conclude the paper’s authors, Nicolas Gerber and Alisher Mirzabaev.

Integrated Drought Management Workshop

The working paper was released ahead of a workshop on the benefits and costs of drought mitigation and preparedness organized by the World Bank, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Global Water Partnership (GWP) Integrated Drought Management Programme on 26 and 27 April in Washington DC, USA.

“The workshop aims to achieve a better understanding of the drought costs, impact pathways, vulnerabilities, costs and benefits of drought crisis and risk management approaches as well as the co-benefits of risk management approaches,” highlighted Frederik Pischke, GWP’s Integrated Drought Management Programme Senior Programme Officer.

It will explore the benefits of actions and the costs of inaction of drought preparedness, which includes the evolution of resilience across time scales, namely how lessons on pro-active drought management have been learned (and which actions were taken) over time and in different sectors.

The working paper is available at http://www.droughtmanagement.info/literature/IDMP_BACI_WP.PDF

#ColoradoRiver District: “State of the River” meetings — @ColoradoWater #COriver

Silverthorne via City-Data.com.

From the Colorado River District:

Date, times and places for ALL Public Meetings

What are the State of the River Meetings?

Each spring, during snowmelt runoff, the River District organizes informational “State of the River” meetings across parts of the Western Slope of Colorado to help educate the public and water users. Meeting speakers offer up-to-date information on snowpack figures, water supply forecasts and anticipated stream flows and upcoming conditions.

Specifically, reservoir operators and climate profession will discuss the amount of water expected to flow into the local reservoirs due to melting snow and will forecast how conditions may affect the rise and fall of reservoir levels and the amounts and timing of water to be released to the rivers over the upcoming season.

Here’s the release for the May 4, 2017 meeting in Silverthorne:

Top researcher on rising temperatures speaking at Summit State of the River meeting

Brad Udall, renowned climate researcher with the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, will keynote the Summit State of the River meeting set for 6 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the Silverthorne Pavilion. Bureau of Reclamation and Denver Water officials will discuss reservoir operations at Green Mountain and Dillon.

Learn about the health of the snowpack and what it forecasts for river flows and reservoir operations at the 24th annual Summit State of the River meeting set for 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 at the Silverthorne Pavilion. This free, public event is sponsored by the Blue River Watershed Group and the Colorado River District. Finger-food and refreshments will be served.

The special guest keynote speaker will be Brad Udall of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, who recently co-authored a study that describes how rising temperatures are as villainous in reduced Colorado River flows as the drought itself between 2000 and 2014.

In this time period, flows averaged 19 percent below the 1906-1999 average, the worst 15-year drought on record. At least one-sixth to one-half of this loss is due to unprecedented temperatures (0.9°C above the 1906-99 average). This confirms model-based analyses that continued warming will likely further reduce flows, according to the paper.

Another top speaker is Colorado River District General Manager Eric Kuhn, who is retiring next year. Kuhn has been a leader in the Colorado River Basin in cautioning that low reservoir levels at Lake Powell threaten dire consequences for the entire basin unless water management policies change.

Summit County Water Commissioner Troy Wineland will discuss local water supply and streamflow predictions. Also, officials from the Bureau of Reclamation and Denver Water will be on hand to detail operations this year at Green Mountain and Dillon Reservoirs, two key water bodies in Summit County.

For more information, contact Water Commissioner Troy Wineland at 970-355-4516 or Jim Pokrandt of the Colorado River District at 970-945-8522.

2017 #coleg: NISP-related bill fails in committee

Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) map July 27, 2016 via Northern Water.

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Jacy Marmaduke):

The bill would have allowed Northern Water to run Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, water through 12 miles of the Poudre River in Fort Collins and recapture it at the Timnath Reservoir inlet for storage east of Fort Collins.

The bill failed 6-5 last week in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, with Democrats and Republicans voting against it…

Northern Water spokesman Brian Werner said the district will still go through with its plan to run 14,000 acre feet of water through the river in Fort Collins with the goal of maintaining flows of 18 to 25 cubic feet per second. He attributed the lack of consensus on the bill to “uneasiness” in the water community about unintended impacts of the legislation.

“We’re still going to do it,” he said of the so-called “conveyance refinement plan.” “We’re just going to look at Plan B, probably.”

Whether Northern Water needs legal permission to carry out the plan remains a “gray area,” Werner said. But he added Northern Water will pursue the plan regardless of whether formal legislation is passed.

Werner wasn’t sure if Plan B would come in the form of another bill or pursuing the plan without legislation. He said Northern Water was trying to pass a bill to make its case “air-tight.”

Water-efficient toilets could save 170 billion GAL a year in #CO, #AZ, #CA, #GA, #TX

From BuilderOnline.com (Lauren Shanesy):

Water-efficient toilets could potentially save up to 170 billion gallons of water per year across five states facing water scarcity, according to new research from the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI).

The study focused on Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas, where water shortages are prevalent. The “Saturation Study of Non-Efficient Water Closets in Key States” research found that if non-efficient toilets in residential properties are replaced with water-efficient ones, the five states could save 170 billion gallons of potable water yearly or 465 million gallons saved per day, which is equivalent to up to 360 billion potable gallons of water per year saved nationally.

More than 13 million non-efficient toilets, defined as ones with gallons per flush (gpf) of more than 1.6 gallons, remain installed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas residences, and represent about 21% of all toilets installed in these states. As toilet flushing is the largest single indoor use of water, representing 24% of total use in single-family homes, replacing non-efficient toilets in the five states researched would save a significant amount of water overall.

@CWCB_DNR: April 2017 #Drought Update

Colorado Drought Monitor April 18, 2017.

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

With temperatures eight degrees above average, March of this year was the warmest March on record for the State of Colorado, and the second warmest on record for the nation. Late March precipitation brought much needed moisture, but the state as a whole received only 64 percent of average, in what is historically one of our wettest months. April has also been dry with only 58 percent of normal precipitation to-date. However, the forecast for the next two weeks indicates that the state will likely see cooler temperatures and more moisture.

  • Demand has already increased for municipal water providers, in some communities as much as 150 percent of average for this time of year; this is indicative of an increase in outdoor watering.
  • In Colorado, normal snow accumulation typically peaks around April 9th, yet in 2017 this occurred on March 11th, despite some recovery in late March and early April that gave the South Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande basins their respective peaks in early April. Additional snow accumulation is possible should adequate future weather conditions develop.
  • During the snow accumulation season all river basins were able to reach or exceed typical peak snowpack levels. Northern Basins met typical snowpack peak levels (South Platte, Yampa/White, North Platte, Arkansas & Colorado). Southern Basins exceeded typical snowpack peak levels (Gunnison, San Miguel/ Dolores, Animas/ San Juan).
  • Statewide water year- to- date snowpack as of April 19th is at 91% of normal, down from 121% on March 17th.
  • Reservoir storage statewide remains high at 110% of normal and all basins are at or above normal. March was the first month since 2009 that the Upper Rio Grande reservoirs reached 100% of normal.
  • Following two months of below average precipitation the Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) has begun to show decreased water availability particularly in the Yampa/ White and the South Platte River basins.
  • Streamflow forecasts have fallen considerably over the last month and now range from a high of 147% of normal on Tomichi Creek to a low of 78% on Antero & Yampa above Stagecoach.
  • Neutral ENSO conditions are present, and are favored to continue through spring, with the possible development of an El Nino this summer. The April-June forecast looks mixed for the season, with the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expecting more moisture than average, while statistical tools favor drier conditions, especially over the eastern plains. The monsoon season looks favorable based on CPC forecast and current analogues. Should an El Niño develop this summer, precipitation odds during the latter half of the growing season would become more favorable.
  • Core fire season in the mountains of western Colorado is anticipated to get off to a later than average start s a result of decent moisture over the winter. Consequently below average large fire risk is predicted from May through June.
  • For the lower elevations, foothills and south eastern plains the expectation is for average large fire potential from April through July.
  • The Flood Threat Bulletin will begin May 1st and can be found at http://www.coloradofloodthreat.com/
  • A new tool for SNODAS has been developed and can be accessed at http://projects.openwaterfoundation.org/owf-