Muddy Mine Waters Spill into Sneffels Creek in Ouray County

October 30, 2014


WISE One Step Closer to Delivering Water

October 30, 2014
WISE System Map September 11, 2014

WISE System Map September 11, 2014

Here’s the release from the South Metro Water Supply Authority, Denver Water, and the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District (Russ Rizzo/Stacy Chesney/Andy Cohen):

WISE One Step Closer to Delivering Water

  • Purchase of East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District pipeline by South Metro Water Supply Authority and Denver Water finalized
  • Water delivery to begin in 2016 following additional infrastructure build-out
  • Partnership represents new era in regional cooperation and water efficiency
  • The southern suburbs of Denver took a significant step forward in shifting to a water system that makes use of renewable water supply on Oct. 21 when members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority and Denver Water purchased the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District’s Western Waterline. The pipeline purchase is a significant milestone in WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency), a partnership between 10 of the South Metro members, Denver Water and Aurora Water to share water supply and infrastructure.

    Using Aurora’s Prairie Waters system, Aurora Water and Denver Water will provide water through the Western pipeline to participating South Metro members on a permanent basis. WISE will also provide a new emergency supply for Denver Water, and offset costs and stabilize water rates for Aurora.

    “The purchase of ECCV’s pipeline makes WISE and the sharing of water supplies possible,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. “This is a significant milestone for the WISE Partnership and moves communities throughout the South Metro area one step closer to a secure and sustainable water future,” he said.

    The 20-mile east-west pipeline along E-470 and C-470 has capacity to deliver 38 million gallons of water a day to Douglas and Arapahoe counties.

    “Our sale of this pipeline is mutually beneficial for all the parties involved,” said O. Karl Kasch, president of the ECCV board. “Under the purchase and sale agreement, ECCV will still have the capacity we need in the pipeline, while also supporting a regional solution to one of the most important water challenges facing the Denver metro region. We have always viewed the Western Waterline as an infrastructure asset from which the entire South Metro community can benefit, and that’s what will be accomplished.”

    Under the agreement, Denver Water and Aurora Water will sell an average of 7,250 acre-feet of water a year to South-Metro water suppliers beginning in 2016 with the option to increase to 10,000 acre-feet in future years.

    “We’re thrilled to be moving forward with the WISE Partnership,” said Dave Little, director of planning for Denver Water. “This agreement will create more system flexibility and increase the reliability of our water supply system, leading to a more secure water future for communities throughout the region.”

    WISE water is expected to begin flowing through the ECCV pipeline in 2016, once the remaining infrastructure, such as system interconnects, are complete.

    For additional details on the WISE project and updates, visit http://www.southmetrowater.org/storage-WISE.html.

    More coverage from Bruce Finley writing for The Denver Post:

    Denver and south metro suburbs have taken a $34 million step toward water-sharing to wean the suburbs off dwindling underground aquifers.

    The South Metro Water Supply Authority and Denver Water announced Wednesday they bought a 20-mile pipeline — built for $44 million in 2004 by the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District — to carry excess Denver and Aurora water to 10 suburbs including Castle Rock, Centennial and Parker.

    This east-west pipeline is seen as the spine of a new distribution system to move an average of 7,250 acre-feet of water a year to suburbs that, in some cases, remain totally dependent on the finite Denver Basin aquifer.

    “This allows them to change the way they are using the aquifer,” said Eric Hecox, director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which represents the suburbs. “It won’t get them off the aquifer completely. It will allow them to use it as a backup supply.”

    Denver Basin aquifer system

    Denver Basin aquifer system

    Colorado has let developers tap aquifers to serve multiplying new homes, but pumping the underground water is becoming more difficult and costly with water tables falling in some areas by 1 to 3 feet a year.

    About two dozen utilities between Denver and Colorado Springs together pump more than 30,000 acre-feet of water a year from about 440 municipal wells, according to water suppliers.

    This Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project, if it works as envisioned, would take advantage of water already used by Denver and Aurora, cleaning it fully in Aurora’s state-of-the-art water treatment plant.

    More pipeline connections must be built, but buying the ECCV pipeline is a major step, Hecox said.

    South Metro paid 85 percent of the $34 million. Denver Water paid $4.7 million.

    The pipeline runs under the 470 beltway and can carry up to 38 million gallons a day. ECCV can keep moving up to 8 million gallons a day to its southeast metro customers.

    “Without that pipeline, we cannot deliver the water,” Aurora Water spokesman Greg Baker said. “Now we can start moving forward toward delivering water.”

    From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

    Denver Water and the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which represents more than a dozen water utilities in the southern edges of the metro area, on Oct. 21 agreed to pay $34 million to buy the pipeline from the East Cherry Creek Valley district. The South Metro water districts is an 85 percent owner of the pipeline and Denver Water paid $4,725,000 for its 15 percent ownership, Bennett said.

    “We found a way between Denver, the South Metro districts and East Cherry Creek to share the capacity of the pipeline, so it will now be used to deliver water to the south metro entities,” said Dave Bennett, a water resource project manager with Denver Water.

    Denver Water, which serves more than 1 million customers in Denver and some surrounding suburbs, also will be able to use the pipeline to capture water and reuse it in its systems, Bennett said.

    “Instead of going out and building a new, duplicate pipeline, we found a way to share that existing infrastructure,” Bennett said.

    The pipeline is crucial to the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) partnership, which includes 10 southern water districts, Denver Water and Aurora Water. Under the WISE agreements, treated water that’s been used once by Denver and Aurora and added to the South Platte River will be recaptured at a spot along the river north of Denver. Then, via Aurora’s 34-mile Prairie Water pipeline, the water will be shipped back to the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility near the Aurora Reservoir. After it’s treated at the plant, the Western Waterline pipeline will be crucial for moving the treated water to the southern suburbs.

    “The purchase of ECCV’s pipeline makes WISE and the sharing of water supplies possible,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. “This is a significant milestone for the WISE Partnership and moves communities throughout the South Metro area one step closer to a secure and sustainable water future.”

    Under the WISE agreement, Denver Water and Aurora Water will sell an average of 7,250 acre-feet of water a year to south-metro water suppliers beginning in 2016 with the option to increase to 10,000 acre-feet in future years. One acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons, enough to support 2½ families of four for a year.

    Karl Kasch, president of the East Cherry Creek Valley board of directors, said the sale of the district’s pipeline was beneficial for all parties. The district retained ownership of 8 million gallons per day worth of capacity on the pipeline, which can carry 38 million gallons of water per day.

    “Under the purchase and sale agreement, ECCV [the district] will still have the capacity we need in the pipeline, while also supporting a regional solution to one of the most important water challenges facing the Denver metro region,” Kasch said.

    “We have always viewed the Western Waterline as an infrastructure asset from which the entire South Metro community can benefit, and that’s what will be accomplished,” he said.

    More work needs to be done to connect the pipeline to Aurora’s water treatment plant, connect it to Denver Water’s system, and connect the southern water districts to the pipeline, but that’s expected to be done in the next few years, Bennett said.

    More WISE Project coverage here.


    Water Lines: Water Forum at Colorado Mesa University Nov. 5-6; workshops Nov. 4

    October 30, 2014

    Colorado Mesa University

    Colorado Mesa University


    From the Grand Junction Free Press (Hannah Holm):

    Declining water supplies and increasing demands have been in the news frequently over the past several years, and discussions both within Colorado and across state lines have centered on how to get supply and demand back in balance with as little trauma as possible.

    That central challenge forms the backdrop of the fourth annual Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum in CMU’s University Center on November 5-6. The theme of the forum is “Seeking a Resilient Future.”

    Dozens of top water researchers, policy makers and managers from around Colorado and the other states that share the Colorado River will gather on campus to discuss scientific, management and policy elements of that challenge. Keynote addresses will be given by former Las Vegas water agency head Pat Mulroy and William Hasencamp, manager of Colorado River Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Pat Mulroy’s dinner address will be Nov. 5 at 6:15 p.m.

    The forum will be preceded on Nov. 4 by half-day workshops on how to do augmentation plans under Colorado Water Law and the Colorado Data Sharing Network. Attorney Aaron Clay will offer the augmentation plan workshop. Lynn Padgett, coordinator of the Colorado Data Sharing Network, will provide training in how to use the network to store, manage and share water quality data.

    The forum, workshops, and dinner with Pat Mulroy can all be registered for individually or together. Full details can be found at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/watercenter/UpperColoradoRiverBasinWaterForum.html.

    NOV. 5 FORUM SESSIONS

    On Nov. 5, the forum will feature a panel of top water policy makers from Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado on state water planning efforts, as well as sessions on tribal water claims, potential impacts of climate change, agricultural irrigation efficiency, and technical and policy tools for adapting to water scarcity. Sessions will also take a look back at water history and discuss lessons learned in the first year since new nutrient monitoring regulations were adopted in Colorado.

    NOV. 6 FORUM SESSIONS

    On Nov. 6, panels will provide scientific and policy perspectives on a trio of cooperative efforts relating to water management in the Colorado River Basin; the Grand County enhancement and mitigation plan to address impacts from trans-mountain diversions; returning water to the Colorado River delta in Mexico; and managing Lakes Mead and Powell. The lunch keynote address will be provided by William Hasencamp, manager of Colorado River Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

    The Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum and related events are being organized by the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University.

    More Colorado River Basin coverage here.


    @aguanomics argues federal hydro revenue at $300m per year higher if Hoover Dam electricity was auctioned #ColoradoRiver

    October 29, 2014

    More hydroelectric/hydropower coverage here.


    CDPHE extends Durango’s wastewater treatment compliance deadline by 6 years

    October 29, 2014
    Durango

    Durango

    From The Durango Herald (Mary Shinn):

    While all the estimated $55 million upgrades will have to be made, the state health department agreed to extend the city’s deadline until 2023, City Manager Ron LeBlanc announced Tuesday night.

    As a result, the city will be able to rethink its steep 2015 sewer-rate increases. City Council had been told the plant would need 80 percent more revenue in 2015 to fund all the needed projects and to finance a bond issue.

    “The pressure to rush to an 80 percent increase has now been alleviated,” LeBlanc said.

    Under the law, if the wastewater-treatment plant did not meet all the new regulations by December 2017, the plant would face consent order. Under this order, the city would not be allowed to issue more sewer taps and could face hefty fines.

    Under the extension, the city will have to adhere to a schedule to come into compliance and limit the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen in the water. These two chemicals need to be reduced to curb imbalances in the environment.

    Also, the city now will have more time to consider potentially relocating the plant further south away from town or another location. Councilor Christina Rinderle has been encouraging her peers to consider this alternative.

    “It’s an opportunity to really think through these major investments,” LeBlanc said.

    More wastewater coverage here.


    Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper #ColoradoRiver Basin

    October 29, 2014

    wyutcowateryearfederal2014precipitationasapercentofnormal
    Click here to read the current assessment. Click here to go to the NIDIS website hosted by the Colorado Climate Center.

    More Colorado River Basin coverage here.


    October heat wave delays start of Colorado ski season

    October 29, 2014

    Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

    Snow guns silent in late October as temps run 15 degrees above average

    sgh

    2014 on track to become warmest year ever.

    ski1

    How will the ski industry weather global warming?

    By Bob Berwyn

    FRISCO —Last year’s winter Olympics helped cast a spotlight on global warming and the ski industry. As the snow at Sochi’s alpine venues visibly melted during the live television coverage of the games, winter sports athletes advocated for action on climate change.

    Now, just a few months later, some of those same ski racers who had planned early season training sessions at Copper Mountain, Colorado will have to wait. A run of extraordinarily warm temperatures in October all but silenced industrial snowmaking operations at several resorts, as both Copper and Keystone delayed scheduled openings because of the balmy conditions.

    View original 502 more words


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