DeBeque (Kobe) pipeline project will supply oil and gas operations and irrigators #ColoradoRiver

October 31, 2014


From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

A water project that had its beginnings three decades back in connection with possible oil shale development has been revived and repurposed for another kind of energy production involving shale rock.

The pipeline project in the De Beque area also will provide additional benefits including serving up irrigation water to meet the region’s needs and reducing truck traffic related to getting water to and from energy development operations.

The $8 million project is being paid for by Black Hills Exploration & Production and is part of a large infrastructure project that will aid in the company’s efforts to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce from the Mancos shale formation. But the water intake facility on the Colorado River and a short portion of a 24-inch-diameter water pipeline now being extended date back to the 1980s.

Getty Oil built the intake for an oil shale project that never came to fruition, said Dave Merritt, a board member of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which leased the water rights to Getty. The river district continues to hold those rights today.

“It shows the importance of holding on to water rights,” said Merritt, who has been involved with the project since 1985, having had a longtime career for the river district as an engineer.

“It wasn’t until a few years ago that we were able to come up with an agreement to fully implement this project,” he said.

The 1980s saw an end to the region’s last oil shale boom, as companies couldn’t economically mine and heat the vast reserves of kerogen in northwest Colorado’s Green River shale formation to produce oil.

Instead, energy developers largely turned their attention locally to using hydraulic fracturing to produce gas from wells drilled into the Williams Fork sandstone. And now Black Hills and other companies are using fracking and horizontal drilling to explore and produce gas and liquids from the deeper Mancos and Niobrara shales, just as companies have pursued projects to drill and frack in shale across the country.

The De Beque pipeline project, also known as the Kobe project, will help supply the water Black Hills needs for its Mancos fracking via the 24-inch pipeline that will feed water pumped from the Colorado River to eight, 500-barrel tanks at a terminal northwest of De Beque. But only about 5 cubic feet per second of water will go for industrial uses. Fifteen cfs will be used for irrigation, including by the town of De Beque, which will be able to access it via a ditch.

The town has water rights that are senior to a number of ranchers in the area, so providing more water to the town should reduce the need for calls on water that otherwise would go to others.

“This last summer I was pretty well cut off for most of the time,” said Marty Holt, a rancher up Roan Creek.

Holt serves on the board of the Bluestone Water Conservancy District, which is working jointly with the river district on a project that is getting done at no cost to taxpayers due to Black Hills’ involvement.

“Water for energy development is extremely valuable,” Merritt explained. “They’re much more willing to pay for it.”

The larger infrastructure project also involves installation of a 12-inch-diameter gas pipeline that uses the same corridor as the water pipeline and extends farther west to places Black Hills is drilling. In addition, Black Hills will be repurposing an 8-inch-diameter gas pipeline in the corridor for use in transporting produced water from drilling operations. The company will be operating a facility that will let it recycle water from wells and use it to fracture other wells.

That facility will be operated adjacent to a recently constructed Summit Midstream gas processing plant that is supporting drilling in the area and is capable of handling 20 million cubic feet of gas a day. It’s a cryogenic plant that cools the gas to allow liquids to be stripped from it and sold separately. The new 12-inch gas line will tie into that plant.

In a brief statement Black Hills issued in a request for comment on the project, it said work on the pipeline infrastructure began in late July and is expected to be completed by year’s end. It also pointed to various approvals it had to obtain, including from the Bureau of Land Management and Mesa and Garfield counties. The pipeline corridor also crosses private property, much of it owned by Chevron.

The $8 million part of the project pertains only to work associated with installing and putting into operation the plastic water line that also will meet irrigation needs. While the overall project cost hasn’t been made public, it has involved as many as 300 workers during peak periods, said Brock Degeyter, general counsel for Summit Midstream, which is the project’s general contractor.

Due to rugged terrain and the challenges of locating multiple pipelines in a single, narrow right of way, crews have used horizontal boring rather than open trenches to install many pipeline segments. Ray Tenney, deputy chief engineer for the river district, said as many as nine boring crews have been on site, and pipes haves been pulled through bores as long as 1,180 feet.

Degeyter said such techniques aren’t unusual in mountainous areas.

But he added, “We do think it’s a great example of really state-of-the-art construction techniques, for sure.”

He called the project “a coordinated effort.”

“A couple different parties are getting some significant things done that will ultimately help, I think, consumers — consumers of water, gas, etc. — all at the same time, which is obviously a good, efficient use of resources,” Degeyter said.

“I think it is going to wind up being a very successful and efficient project for us,” he said.

The project also could serve other energy companies besides Black Hills, and it is being hailed as a means of reducing truck traffic through the De Beque area, partly through the movement of water via pipeline to the terminal northwest of town. The tanks at the terminal could provide contract deliveries for trucks serving energy development.

Black Hills’ use of the new produced water line also will cut down on traffic. Mesa County Commissioner John Justman, who also serves on the river district board, notes that reducing truck traffic was a big selling point when Black Hills’ water recycling plant went through Mesa County’s permitting process.

He added that in a time of drought, “recycling the water and reusing it is another big deal.”


Snowpack news (There really isn’t any)

October 30, 2014

My blog friend from Albuquerque, John Fleck, tells us, “Don’t freak out, Colorado, it’s only Oct. 29. It could still snow.”


Drought news #COdrought #drought

October 30, 2014

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

Summary

Over the last 7 days, much of the country has been dry, with the most significant precipitation occurring over the coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The first Nor’easter of the season made its way up along the east coast, bringing with it some significant precipitation to portions of New England. Other areas receiving lighter precipitation were in the northern Rocky Mountains and portions of the Midwest. Temperatures for the week were generally above normal for most of the country, with the greatest departures from normal over the plains states. On the plains, temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. The coolest temperatures were over the Gulf Coast in the southeast, where departures from normal were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal…

The High Plains

A warm week over the High Plains brought with it temperatures that were 6-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, with the warmest conditions in Kansas and the Dakotas. Areas of eastern Nebraska, northeast Kansas, western Nebraska, north central Colorado, northwest Wyoming and southeastern South Dakota did see precipitation amounts up to 200% of normal for the week. It was observed that the dry and warm weather has started to impact the winter wheat in the region. In northeast South Dakota, D0 was expanded and a small area of moderate drought was introduced based upon the dryness over the last 2-3 months…

The West

As with the trend over most of this year, the temperatures in the western United States were above normal this week. Some areas of northern and central California as well as southern Oregon did see temperatures that were slightly below normal. Most areas were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. A series of storms moved across the Pacific Northwest, bringing with them welcomed precipitation. Most of the precipitation was in and along the coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, but some of this moisture did make it into Idaho and Montana. Even as some areas picked up several inches of precipitation and snows were falling in the upper elevations, the long-term issues continued over the west. Categorical improvements were made over southwest Oregon, where D0 and D1 conditions were improved. D0 was removed from the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington and D0 and D1 conditions were improved over western Washington. In southwest Montana, D0 and D1 conditions were improved based on the recent wet pattern, and some D0 was removed over the eastern panhandle of Idaho…

Looking Ahead

The outlook over the next 5-7 days shows a continuing chance of precipitation from the southern plains up into the Ohio River Valley, with amounts generally projected to be less than 2 inches. An active pattern along the coast of the Pacific Northwest ushers in more precipitation during the next 7 days. Some areas along the Washington coast could receive up to 5 inches of rain for the period. Dry conditions dominate the southwest into the northern Plains. Temperatures during this time are forecasted to be above normal for the central and northern plains as well as the northern Rocky Mountains. Cooler than normal temperatures are expected over the eastern half of the country as well as along the west coast into the Great Basin.

The 6-10 day outlook shows a trend of above-normal temperature chances continuing over most of the United States. The highest probabilities of above-normal temperatures will be over the northern tier of the country. The greatest probabilities of above-normal precipitation will be from the southern plains into the Midwest as well as the Pacific Northwest, which is a continuation of what is expected in the 5-7 day outlook. The probability of dry conditions is greatest over the central and northern plains, southwest, and into California.


We’re damming up biggest rivers on Earth. Why that is a bad idea. — American Rivers

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.


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