Upcoming seminar spotlights regional water issues

CRWCD’s annual water seminar features leading national and regional water and climate experts

Several weekend stories addressed water quailty issues.
Got water?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado this summer may have escaped the severe drought plaguing much of the West — at least for now — but that doesn’t mean the state is immune from regional water woes.

Planners and water users know very well that huge long-term challenges remain for all the states in the Colorado River Basin, and some of those issues will be highlighted during the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s Sept. 10 water seminar in Grand Junction.

Two of the most important women in Western water leadership will be addressing the Colorado River District’s popular Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction, Colo., that takes place Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

Headlining the event are Jennifer Gimbel, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science with the U.S. Department of the Interior; and Pat Mulroy, a senior fellow at a Las Vegas environmental think tank and former general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Gimbel is intimately familiar with Colorado water policy as former director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. In her current federal post, she heads the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado River administration.

The theme of this year’s water seminar is: “Will What’s Happening in California Stay in California?” Cost of the seminar, which includes lunch, is $30 if pre-registered by Friday, Sept. 4, $40 at the door. Register at the River District’s website: www.ColoradoRiverDistrict.org. Call Meredith Spyker at 970-945-8522 to pay by credit card.

The talks will span a range of water issues, connecting the dots from the Rocky Mountain headwaters of the Colorado River down to the Pacific Ocean, covering the basics of climate and weather and the dire drought in California and what that means to the interior West.

There will also be discussion of the current efforts to address low reservoir levels at Lakes Powell and Mead, and finally, an analysis of Colorado’s draft Water Plan.

El Niño expert Klaus Wolter will preview the growing El Nino conditions and what that could mean for winter snowpack in the West.

Colorado River District will focus on Colorado River Basin issues, specifically on what they describe as a new planning paradigm to emphasize protection of existing uses — especially irrigated agriculture in Western Colorado — in the face of diminishing supplies.

Issues related to planning for new transmountain diversion remain a big focal point in Colorado’s Water Plan, but it is drought and reservoir levels that will command the system before a TMD can be honestly contemplated. Other speakers will address irrigated agriculture’s role in water planning, efficiency and conservation planning and financing and more.

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