November 29, 2010
From the Telluride Daily Planet (Katie Klingsporn):
The BLM has already conducted an exhaustive eligibility study of sections of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers that mapped and inventoried the waterways and documented “outstanding remarkable values” — such as abundant wildlife or significant historic value — of each. A final eligibility report, which was completed this summer, names free-flowing sections of the San Miguel River as well as parts of many of its tributaries (Beaver Creek, Dry Creek, Naturita Creek, Saltado Creek and Tabeguache Creek) as eligible for one of the following designations: wild, scenic or recreational. If designated, segments would enjoy certain protections tailored to keep them wild, beautiful or recreationally valuable.
Now, the BLM is moving into the suitability phase — which will use public input and land status records to determine which segments deserve protection, and if so, if it should be through designation. As part of this, the agency is seeking public input. And starting this week, it will be hosting a number of resource advisory committee subgroup meetings locally to talk about the river.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
• Monday, 6:30 p.m., Norwood Community Center
• Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Naturita Community Building
• Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Wilkinson Public Library
More San Miguel River coverage here and here.
November 29, 2010
The new reservoir — built as part of the drought management plan for the Colorado River basin — passed its recent month-long testing period and is ready to store water on a temporary basis in order to control releases to Mexico. Here’s a report from the Associated Press via the San Francisco Chronicle. From the article:
The new reservoir, known during construction as Drop 2, grew out of a 2007 drought-management plan adopted by the seven states along the Colorado River. The plan identified opportunities to add water to the river by eliminating inefficient practices that led to system losses. One of those opportunities was in the system near Yuma, where billions of gallons of water allocated to U.S. farmers but never used by them flowed into Mexico, where it could be used without counting against that country’s annual allocation.
Nevada, at the time the state most at risk of running out of water, offered to pay much of the construction tab in exchange for a share of what was conserved. As the idea developed, Arizona and California agreed to contribute money for their own shares of water. In the end, Nevada paid $115 million for 400,000 acre-feet and Arizona and California added $28.6 million each for shares of 100,000 acre-feet. The states can use the water in increments over about 20 years or leave it stored in Lake Mead to delay drought restrictions…
The reservoir itself is not that big. Full, its two basins can hold up to 8,000 acre-feet. By comparison, Canyon Lake, the smallest reservoir on the Salt River, can hold more than 57,000 acre-feet. But Brock Reservoir, named for a farmer and agricultural researcher in California’s Imperial Valley, was not built to store water long-term. On any given day, it could be the largest body of water for miles in any direction, or it could be two empty holes in the ground. It will operate most often after a rainstorm, when farmers on the lower river decide they don’t need water they had ordered several days earlier. That water, which had previously flowed south into Mexico, will now be diverted into Brock and stay there until it can be returned to the system.
More Colorado River basin coverage here.
November 29, 2010
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Wooka):
Since 2007, the Pueblo Board of Water Works has installed more than 19,000 meters in a system that has nearly 40,000. Four thousand more will be installed this year, and by 2016 the entire system should be fully automated, at a cost of a little more than $200 per meter. So far, about $4.9 million has been spent. Installations have been in the outer areas of Pueblo because that’s mainly where new development occurs and because there’s more travel involved in manually reading meters away from central Pueblo. “The map looks like a donut, but not exactly,” said Terry Book, deputy executive director of the Pueblo water board. “We’re working our way in; converting areas that are difficult to read.”[...]
As meters have been converted, the water board’s six meter readers have seen their jobs change. Three of them, including [Charles Garrett], already are working primarily as installers. Eventually, all six jobs will be converted. The installers will stay busy, though, because meters will be rotated every 10 years, both to maintain the accuracy and to make sure the batteries don’t run down. Changing them out also will allow the water board to take advantage of better technology as it is developed.
“Our meter readers have had almost no misreads,” said Book, who has been on the job for 32 years. But having water-use data available on a twice-daily basis, rather than once a month when meters were read manually, will lead to quicker identification of problems, he said.
More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.