Posted on August 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘Forbearance’ of water use eyed as new tool in race to avoid water crisis
FRISCO — Water allocation in the Colorado River Basin may be entering a new era, officials said last week as they announced finalization of 10 pilot projects that will allow farmers, municipalities and other water users to voluntarily and temporarily forego use of their water in exchange for compensation.
The pilot projects, including one in the Yampa River Basin, are the result of a cooperative effort by Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico to shore up declining reservoir levels if the 15-year drought that has plagued the Colorado River continues into the future. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, compact call, drought, Lake Powell, water conservation, western water | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Smart water management and conservation can help reduce drought pressure in the West
Frost-tinged trees gleam in the morning light along the Blue River, a key Colorado River tributary north of Silverthorne, Colorado.
FRISCO — Efforts to conserve water in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin and across the West got a major boost from the Obama administration this week. Federal resource managers this week announced a $50 million investment to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment | Tagged: California drought, climate, Colorado, Colorado River, conservation, drought, water conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
In-depth coverage of the Colorado water plan is unfolding in a new series of stories for the Colorado Independent
Gotta love that Colorado River. Want to help save it? Conserve! @bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado’s creeping water crisis isn’t as dramatic as a wildfire or a flood, but its consequences could be just as severe. State and federal water experts say the state will see a huge gap between supply and demand within a few decades, and possibly sooner if regional drought continues. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado water plan, Colorado water shortages, drought, Environment, water conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
State water board, conservation group team up to create innovative new water rights agreement
Looking upstream towards the San Juans.
A dry section of the Little Cimarron River below the diversion.
A healthy section of the same river.
By Bob Berwyn
Photos courtesy Colorado Water Trust
* Tools like the Little Cimarron agreement could be used to improve environmental conditions in many of the state’s rivers, and the evolving Colorado Water Plan can help identify places where deals like this could be used. Read more about the Colorado Water plan here.
FRISCO —For thousands of years, the Little Cimarron River trickled out of the snowfields of the San Juan Mountains, coursing unimpeded through steep alpine canyons and rolling sagebrush foothills before merging with the Gunnison River.
That changed when European settlers arrived in the region. Eager to tame the rugged land, ranchers and farmers took to the hills with shovels and picks, diverting part of the river’s flow to water hayfields and pastures. The back-breaking work brought the imprint of civilization to the area, but just as surely wrought huge changes to natural systems that had been self-regulating themselves since the end of the last ice age.
Like nearly every other river in Colorado, the Little Cimarron was free-flowing no more. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, politics, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: ag water, Colorado, Colorado water, Colorado water plan, rivers, water conservation, water sharing | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Snake River melt-off.
Gov. Hickenlooper vetoes measure that could have benefited all Colorado water users, including the environment
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado’s old-school water buffaloes are more than willing to pay lip service to conservation, but when they actually have a chance to walk the walk … well, it’s business as usual.
Bowing to pressure from agricultural users, Gov. John Hickenlooper this week vetoed a bill that would have encouraged voluntary conservation measures and given incentives for private investment in conservation. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, John Hickenlooper, Senate Bill 23, water, water buffaloes, water conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Advocacy group says research shows that maintaining Lake Mead at a higher level could save water, help restore Colorado River ecosystems
The water level in Lake Mead has been on a downward trend in recent years.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The porous sandstone along the shore of Lake Powell may soak up as much as 380,000 acre-feet of water each year — more than Nevada’s entire annual allocation of Colorado River water, according to a new study by hydrologist Thomas Myers.
The research, published in the Journal of the America Water Resources Association, supports the idea of reconfiguring the way water is stored in Lake Powell and Lake Mead with the overall goal of using the Colorado River in the most efficient way possible, according to Glen Canyon Institute director Christi Wedig.
“At a time of impending water shortages, it is imperative to maximize efficiency the Colorado River storage system,” Wedig said. “Dr. Myers’ study has confirmed that Lake Powell is a major source of water loss, and a potential source of major savings. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River compact, Glen Canyon, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, water conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The paradox of water in the desert, illustrated by a NASA satellite image of the Colorado River.
Projected water shortages spur more conservation and collaboration
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal agencies say they will try to offer leadership, technical expertise and — perhaps most importantly — money, as southwestern states grapple with what could be significant water shortages in the Colorado River Basin during the coming decades.
At a major water powwow in California this week, all the major stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin said they’re ready to work together to find a long-term, systematic solution to the potential long-term imbalance between the Colorado River’s future supply and projected demands.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation‘s latest effort outlined three major areas — agricultural conservation and transfers, municipal/industrial conservation and reuse, and environmental flows — that will be the subjects of immediate focus in a series of ongoing work group sessions. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River Basin, Denver Water, Environment, Jim Lochhead, Southwestern United States, United States Bureau of Reclamation, water, water conservation | 2 Comments »