At issue is in the case is an instream flow right in the wild and remote San Miguel River, flowing out of the high San Juans near Telluride to its confluence with the Dolores River in Montrose County. The San Miguel is one of the last relatively free-flowing rivers in Colorado. As such, water experts say it still has some water that could be developed in the future. The instream flow right will help ensure that any future diversions won’t harm the river’s animals and plants. Continue reading “Colorado Supreme Court ruling bolsters stream protection”→
Governor says state must figure out a way to address impending shortages
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado water experts will try to figure out how to manage the state’s most precious resource in an era when all signs points to increasing shortages and the potential for growing conflicts within the state and the region over its allocation.
Under an executive order issued this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Water Conservation Board will lead the effort to address the growing gap between supply and demand. Especially worrisome is the gap in the South Platte Basin, the state’s most populous and at the same time, the most productive agricultural basin.
Colorado Water Conservation Board ends funding for task force studying proposal to divert water from Wyoming to Front Range
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — An oft-discussed proposal to build a 500-mile pipeline from Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the Colorado Front Range may have taken a body blow this week, as the Colorado Water Conservation Board voted to cut off funding for a task force studying the plan.
Front Range developer Aaron Million has been touting the giant project as a way to alleviate pressure on the mainstem of the Colorado River and deliver water where it’s needed most.
Short-term leasing program program authorized under 2003 law
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The dim outlook for the Yampa River in this summer of drought just got a little brighter, thanks to a water deal announced this week by the Colorado Water Trust, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Under a law passed back in 2003 in response to the last serious statewide drought, the water trust will lease 4,000 acre feet of water stored in Stagecoach Reservoir to try and sustain some flows in the Yampa, in the worst-case scenario potentially preventing the river from going dry.
Colorado Water Trust to fund short-term water leases to protect stream reaches that could take a hit from low flows, warm temperaturesthis summer
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A record-low spring snowpack and continued dry and warm weather doesn’t bode well for Colorado’s rivers and streams this summer, but a few critical reaches could get a boost thanks to the nonprofit Colorado Water Trust.
After the 2002 drought, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Division of Wildlife created a list of critical stream segments where low flows and warm temperatures posed a potential threat to aquatic ecosystems.
Based in part on that list, the water trust proposes to facilitate short-term leases of water from agricultural users to keep flows at levels deemed adequate to ensure stream health.
“We are testing totally new waters here,” said Colorado Water Trust director Amy Beatie. “We have our own cash we’re willing to put into the program and our goal is to raise $500,000,” she said, explaining that funding comes exclusively from private sources, with no state money going toward the program. Continue reading “Colorado: Drought relief for streams and fish?”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — Communities and nonprofit groups looking at water projects that benefit environmental and recreational water needs involving the Colorado River and its tributaries could get a little help from the Colorado Basin Roundtable.
The Roundtable has up to $2 million earmarked in its water supply reserve fund (administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board) that will be awarded through a statewide competitive grant program.
Although there is no limitation to grant requests, typical grants are about $200,000. CBRT hopes to identify up to five projects for near-term funding and implementation, other projects may be considered for long-term prioritization.
The Roundtable is sponsoring an informal workshop on March 15 to help potential project applicants with the funding process. The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Blue River Room of the North Branch Library in Silverthorne.
Interested parties should prepare a short project summary based on criteria that can be found on the Colorado River District website at www.ColoradoRiverDistrict.org or by calling Jacob Bornstein, CWCB (303-866-3441) or Lane Wyatt, CBRT (970-468-0295 ext 116).
Report says last winter’s efforts added more than 8,000 acre-feet of water, recommends routine seeding
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Cloud-seeding experts say their efforts boosted snow totals at Summit County ski areas by 12 to 22 inches last winter, producing an additional 8,850 acre-feet of water in the Blue River Basin.
“We … believe that this valuable service of providing additional snow was achieved in a cost effective manner,” says a report filed with the state by Western Weather Consultants, recommending that cloud-seeding weather modifications proceed on a routine basis each year to help bolster the state’s water supplies and to enhance early season skiing at the targeted resorts.
This year, the $274,000 central Colorado mountains program includes seven Front Range water providers and four ski areas: Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Winter Park and Breckenridge, all contributing to the cost of the cloud-seeding program, according Joe Busto, head of the state’s weather modification program. The CWCB supports the program with grant funding.
Cloud seeding started this week, and Larry Hjermstad, of Durango-based Western Weather Consultants, said he’s keeping an eye on the wave of incoming storms to determine if it’s time to fire up the silver-iodide generators. Low-level wind fields, cloud characteristics, atmospheric temperatures and terrain features all figure into the equation of determining which network of generators will best seed the cloud system during each seeding opportunity. Continue reading “Snow: Colorado cloud-seeding program grows”→