Colorado Water Congress: Join us Nov. 19 for a day of fact-filled workshops

October 15, 2014

Twenty-five years of exploration: South Platte Forum

October 14, 2014
South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

Here’s the release from Colorado State University:

The 25th annual South Platte River Forum will be held Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Plaza Event Center, 1850 Industrial Circle, Longmont. The forum, “Water and Wisdom,” will examine issues such as flood impacts on stream restoration, fisheries and hydrology, oil and gas exploration, hydraulic fracturing as well as hydropower, and overviews of South Platte River basin projects. The forum strives to provide an avenue for a timely, multidisciplinary exchange of information and ideas important to resource management in the basin.

The first day of the forum includes several presentations on flood recovery efforts, updates and concerns, as well as a history of floods on the South Platte. The Friends of the South Platte Award will be presented to Patricia J. Rettig, Head Archivist, Water Resources Archive, at Colorado State University Libraries. The keynote luncheon on Oct. 22 will be “Proposed Rule: Definitions of Waters of the U.S.” by Karen Hamilton, Chief of the Aquatic Resource and Accountability Unit, U.S. EPA Region 8. Afternoon sessions will discuss oil and gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing, and water education efforts. The day will conclude with a reception and information on water storage projects in the basin.

The final day of the forum will include a presentation on the Colorado Water Plan by John Stulp, special policy advisor to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on water, followed by presentations on South Platte basin water plans, and a panel focused on water quality concerns. The day will conclude with a luncheon presentation on “At the Confluence: The Poetry of Colorado Water” by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

Winners of this year’s photo contest will be recognized during the forum and their photographs will be on display.

The South Platte River begins high in the Colorado mountains near Fairplay. It flows through Denver and continues eastward into Nebraska, joining the North Platte River near the town of North Platte, Neb.

The South Platte Forum is sponsored by Deere & Ault Consultants, Inc.,; SP WRAP,; XRI Geophysics; Applegate Group, Inc.; the Consortium for Research and Education on Emerging Contaminants (CREEC); Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan (PRRIP); Riverside Technology; Tetra Tech,and Integral Consulting, Inc. The Forum is organized by Colorado State University Extension, Colorado Water Institute, Aurora Water, Denver Water, Northern Water, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. EPA, U.S. Geological Survey.

Registration is available at the door for $115 per person. For a schedule of events, visit For additional information, contact Jennifer Brown at (402) 960-3670 or

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

Roaring Fork Conservancy District: We’re hosting a middle school teacher workshop on November 1

October 13, 2014

“We are trying to understand how much water is available in agriculture without jeopardizing agriculture” — Perry Cabot

October 13, 2014
Flood irrigation in the Arkansas Valley via Greg Hobbs

Flood irrigation in the Arkansas Valley via Greg Hobbs

From The Grand Junction Free Press (Brittany Markert):

…through his current research, he’s [Cabot] suggesting that farmers and Grand Valley residents adopt more efficient water use practices — from crop watering to shorter showers — for its long-term benefits.

To prove his theory, Cabot is studying water impacts on two Mesa County farms. One is dealing with irrigation conservation related to split-season watering. The other is irrigation efficiency, comparing the three watering systems — drip, irrigation, and furrow.

“We are trying to understand how much water is available in agriculture without jeopardizing agriculture,” Cabot said. “We look at both conservation and efficiency, to prepare them for future water issues.”

This is important to western Colorado because, according to Cabot, residential use of water takes precedence over agriculture use of water. He suggests that conservation and efficiency work hand in hand, and the future of agriculture water is up to how residents and farmers use the water available now.

Cabot said he hasn’t found the best solution for water conservation yet, but he continues to study ways for farms to be more efficient locally.

“Western Slope agriculture and Western Slope water cannot and will not be considered as a single, easy-to-go-to solution to the water-supply concerns of others,” said Mark Harris, the general manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association.

There is no easy solution, Harris agreed, but there’s also no denying a large chunk of water is tied up. All communities along the Western Slope and downstream are dependent upon water available, including agriculture and municipal use.

“The future holds a lot of different opinions, though through the lens of farmers, they are resilient,” Cabot said. “If they want to keep farming, they will.”


According to Colorado Mesa University’s Water Center coordinator Hannah Holm, when water becomes scarce, farmers have a target on their backs as the first to lose it. And with Colorado currently putting together a water plan to accommodate population growth and reduction in resources, water availability is a hot topic in the agriculture industry these days.

Farmers are as concerned as the rest of the state about having enough water for the state’s future, Colorado Agriculture Water Alliance confirmed. And they’re working to understand the challenges and what the future will hold.

John Harold, an Olathe Sweet Corn farmer at Tuxedo Corn Company, said agriculture is just part of the water-shortage solution.

“We can get by with less and do just as good as job,” he said. “My son and I have 200 acres of drip irrigation and proved we can grow quality crops with less water. There’s tremendous investment to it.”

Farmers are also encouraged to invest in efficient water systems to promote less waste, while also keeping up with population growth.

“It’s a perfect example of doing more with less,” Cabot added.

For more information, visit

Water Lines: Former Las Vegas water czar to speak at CMU forum — Grand Junction Free Press #ColoradoRiver

October 9, 2014
Pat Mulroy via The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Pat Mulroy via The Earth Institute at Columbia University

From the Grand Junction Free Press (Hannah Holm):

Pat Mulroy will give a dinner speech at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction at 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 5. Mulroy is the former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which provides water to the City of Las Vegas, Nev.

She led the agency during a time when persistent drought spurred numerous innovations, from paying Las Vegas residents to remove lawns to negotiating new agreements with other Colorado River water users on how to manage water. Mulroy is currently the senior fellow for Climate Adaptation and Environmental Policy for the Brookings Mountain West program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is known as a fiery and straight-talking speaker.

Mulroy’s talk will be the centerpiece of the 2014 Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum, which will begin with pre-forum workshops on Tuesday, Nov. 4 and wrap up Thursday afternoon on Nov. 6. The forum theme is “Seeking a Resilient Future.”

Over the two days of the forum, researchers, water managers, policy makers and other stakeholders from each of the Upper Basin states, as well as Nevada and California, will exchange information and ideas related to enhancing the region’s ability to respond and adapt to changing water conditions.

Speakers will address climate change, state water plans, tribal water claims, Colorado headwaters challenges and responses, agricultural irrigation innovations, demand management and the Colorado River Delta pulse flow, as well as the management of Lake Powell and Lake Mead. A key goal of the forum is to generate insights into how science and history can inform management and policy.

The Thursday lunch keynote speaker will be William Hasencamp, Manager of Colorado River Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He will discuss what lessons can be learned from California’s current extreme drought.

The dinner with Pat Mulroy will begin at 6:15 on Nov. 5. Registration is open to all to attend, regardless of whether or not they will also attend the full forum. Details on the forum, with a links to register for all related activities, can found at, or by calling 970-248-1968. One-day and student registration options are available, and the event is free for CMU students, faculty and staff.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here

How to become an eighth-grade TV star

October 9, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Angelica Diaz in study recording 30-second commercial for Rocky Mountain PBS

Angelica Diaz in-studio recording her conservation commercial for Rocky Mountain PBS.

By Matt Bond, Denver Water Youth Education manager

Inspiration strikes in unlikely places, and for Angelica Diaz the spark was water conservation.

Last spring, Diaz, then an eighth-grade student at Kepner Middle School in Denver, entered the Helping Other People Emerge scholarship contest sponsored by Denver Water and Minority Enterprise & Educational Development, which asked students to propose novel water-saving ideas.

The result was brilliant! Diaz, who had recently embraced being part of the team that filmed and broadcasted the daily announcements at school, put her creative video and editing skills to use on her contest submission and produced a short video touting the benefits of shorter showers and high-efficiency showerheads as simple ways to make a difference in the world.

Diaz earned a $500 scholarship for her imaginative video, but with such a dynamic message displayed through…

View original 44 more words

Remember Luna Leopold on his birthday

October 8, 2014

From the United States Geological Survey:

In honor of Earth Science Week, October 14-20, 2012, the USGS is taking a look back into history at the scientists who laid the foundation for the innovative earth science research taking place today. Without the work conducted by these pioneers, much of the science used for decision making worldwide would not be possible.

“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.”

–Luna B. Leopold, Former USGS Chief Hydrologist

Luna B. Leopold, son of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold, arrived at the USGS in 1950. For the next two decades, Leopold revolutionized hydrologic sciences within and outside the USGS. He is best known for his work in the field of geomorphology, the study of land features and the processes that create and change them. His work is often cited today by leading scientists in water research, both at the USGS and around the world.

Leopold had a lasting impact on the field of water science. He knew the broader importance of our water resources and that humans can have great impact on whether water is available, now and in the future. Our society depends on safe and reliable water supplies, as do the Earth’s diverse and valuable ecosystems. Today, our nation is faced with the challenge of balancing a finite freshwater supply between competing needs, such as agriculture, drinking water, energy production, and ecosystems.

Leopold recognized the fundamental value of science in making smart decisions about water resources and laid the groundwork for modern water science. During his tenure he transformed USGS water research into a professionally-recognized provider of water quality and availability information.

For six years, he served as a hydraulic engineer before becoming the first Chief Hydrologist in the history of the USGS, a position he held until 1966 when he stepped down to pursue his research. While at the USGS, he led the effort to restructure the water science programs to focus on viewing water as a single resource. For example, USGS continues to research the interactions between surface water and groundwater, because use of either of these resources affects the quantity and quality of the other.

Leopold also directed the agency to assist in developing hydrology education programs at universities across the country and promoted a future in which all hydrologic research organizations—both public and private—would come together to share information and advance their ideas.

“In effect, Luna turned the hydrologic division of the USGS into a premier research organization, contributing to the prominence the field now has,” said Bill Dietrich, a professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former colleague of Leopold’s.

Randall J. Hunt, USGS Research Hydrologist for Geology, and Curt Meine, the biographer of Aldo Leopold, have written an account of Luna Leopold’s contributions to the world of water science that will appear in the November/December issue of Ground Water and is currently online. In the article, “Luna B. Leopold – Pioneer Setting the Stage for Modern Hydrology,” they describe Leopold as a brilliant and humble researcher intrigued by the impact that human activities have on natural bodies of water.

“From the earliest steps in his career,” wrote Hunt and Meine, “Luna Leopold demonstrated a fascination with hydrology, an understanding of basic hydrological connectivity, and an appreciation of the role of science in informing resource management and stewardship.”

Not only did Leopold lead the transition to a more effective organization structure for the study of hydrology; he also changed the underlying philosophy behind the research.

“In 1957, newly minted USGS Chief Hydraulic Engineer Leopold brought with him a conviction that water on and beneath the Earth’s surface and the quality of both were interdependent parts of one water-resources system,” wrote Hunt and Meine. “Leopold believed, moreover, that the USGS and the field of hydrology had to change to reflect this reality. He also recognized that hydrologic research was critical in meeting the needs of water-resource planning…This approach became manifest within the USGS.”

Leopold’s contributions to the field of water science have been recognized by institutions throughout the United States. In 1967, just a year after completing his tenure as Chief Hydrologist, Leopold became the first hydrologist to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. In 1968 he won the Cullum Geographical Medal from the American Geographical Society, and in 1991 was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George H. Bush in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House. During his career, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Geophysical Union.

Coyote Gulch posts about Dr. Leopold (who is quoted at the top of the blog):

Luna Leopold: Pioneer of water science</>

Luna B. Leopold (scroll down)

Luna B. Leopold: Water, Rivers and Creeks

Click here to order a copy of the book from Tattered Cover in Denver.


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