How Rivers Shaped the Shape of Colorado

July 28, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Back in November, you may have seen the Buzzfeed post where Brits were asked to label the United States, with hilarious results.  My favorite map (the second one) identified Colorado as “Squaresies.”

Looking at the outline of Squaresies, you might think that rivers didn’t play a big role in the development of the state.  Unlike the many Eastern states that have at least one border defined by a river, Colorado’s boundaries are defined by degrees of latitude and longitude, established as Americans settled and carved up new Western territories.

But those straight borders belie the importance of rivers in shaping Colorado.  Rivers have defined much of Colorado’s history.  When American explorers first ventured into Colorado, they followed rivers.  When Americans moved into the area, they settled near the rivers.  Anyone who wanted to survive in Colorado had to live near a reliable water supply.  But then Coloradans broke away…

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“Come Hell or High Water!” — Sustaining Watersheds Conference, October 7-9

June 29, 2014


Runoff/snowpack news: “…the bottom line for Lake Powell this year is that it’s [inflows are] going to be right about average” — Eric Kuhn #ColoradoRiver

June 13, 2014

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

Steamboat Springs — Residents of the Yampa Valley, where the meadows are lush and snow still lingers on the peaks, easily could conclude that this is a year of water abundance. But in terms of the water produced by the entire Colorado River Basin, the summer of 2014 won’t be outstanding.

Eric Kuhn, of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, told an audience of about 50 state legislators, water managers and educators at the Sheraton Steamboat Thursday the abundance of snowmelt in the upper Colorado, Yampa and Green rivers early this summer isn’t indicative of the entire Colorado Basin.

“We have wet years, we have dry years but the bottom line for Lake Powell this year is that it’s going to be right about average,” Kuhn said…

“Currently, Lake Mead (below the Grand Canyon) and Lake Powell (just above the Grand Canyon) are 42 percent full,” Kuhn said. “Does that make us nervous? Yeah that makes us very nervous.”[...]

Water storage in Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River just upstream from its Colorado stretch is expected to be 140 percent of average, and Blue Mesa Reservoir on the Gunnison River is expected to be 126 percent of average, Kuhn told his audience. But 25-mile-long Navajo Reservoir, straddling the Colorado and New Mexico state line and capturing flows from the San Juan River, will be just about 67 percent of average. It’s the southernmost reaches of the upper basin that are below par.

Kuhn and his audience had gathered in Steamboat Springs Thursday to begin a tour of the Yampa River Basin sponsored by the nonprofit Colorado Foundation for Water Education. CFWE program manager Kristin Maharg told the gathering that the purpose of the tour is to explore the compatibility of consumptive water uses (agriculture and power plants) and non-consumptive uses (recreation and habitat conservation) along the length of the Yampa in Routt and Moffat counties.

“The Yampa is no longer a valley too far, and we want to look at some of the demands this basin is facing,” Maharg said. “This is a very cooperative basin in terms of resource management and conservation.”

Thursday’s audience included more than a half dozen state legislators, members of their technical support staff, including an economist and an attorney who work on water bills, a Pitkin County commissioner and an Eagle County water district official, as well as college educators from Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Denver and Colorado Mesa University.

If there is some good news for the Colorado Basin and the people who depend on Lake Powell this summer, it’s that the abundance in the Green River basin will give the reservoir a boost this summer. Flaming Gorge Reservoir, about 30 miles upstream from the point where the Green makes a dog leg into Colorado on the way to its confluence with the Yampa, is currently releasing large amounts of water. That’s being done to mimic the spring floods that occurred before the dam was built in order to support the ecosystem that evolved around those floods. When the river is restored to its baseline sumer flow, it will be at double the flows seen in the last few years, or about 1,600 cubic feet per second. The net result of those additional flows should boost Lake Powell to 50 percent full by the end of July, Kuhn confirmed.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Denver predicted Monday that the total volume of flows in the Yampa in Steamboat Springs in June and July will be 118 percent of average, and maybe more if precipitation is abundant. And flows in the Elk, one of the Yampa’s biggest tributaries, could be at 145 percent of average during the heart of the summer.

The streamflow projections issued by the NRCS shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning the flows in the Yampa consistently will be at 118 percent of average, Mage Hultstrand cautioned. She is the assistant snow survey supervisor with the NRCS in Denver. Hultstrand explained that the streamflow projection anticipates the total volume of water that will flow under the Fifth Street Bridge from June through July.

“It’s based on current (snowpack) conditions and weather patterns in the area the past few months,” Hultstrand said.

The weather in terms of temperature and precipitation will have much to say about streamflow from week to week.

The Yampa at Steamboat peaked for the season May 30 at 4,850 cubic feet per second, Brenda Alcorn, senior hydrologist with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, said Wednesday. The Elk peaked at 6,300 cfs also on May 30. The Yampa came close to going higher June 2, but fell just short, Alcorn said. Flows in the Yampa were in decline this week, but the snowpack still has a kick in it; the Forecast Center expects the Yampa to rally Thursday and Friday, jumping from Wednesday morning’s flow of 2,300 cfs to perhaps 3,400 cfs by Friday. The median flow for June 11 is 2010 cfs. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s under clear skies Thursday and Friday.

The streamflow projection issued by the NRCS really is intended to inform reservoir managers and help them understand how full their reservoirs will be and how much water they can release.

It’s safe to say the upper Yampa will be carrying more water than average for much of the next seven or eight weeks, but the streamflow forecast doesn’t guarantee there will be above average water in the river for irrigating hay fields or providing thrills for tubers during the last week in July, for example, Hultstrand said.

More Green River Basin coverage here.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education: Water Educator Network Orientation webinar tomorrow 5/29 at 12

May 28, 2014

Make Water Provocative: Assembling the Puzzle

May 27, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Interpreters will gladly tell you that interpretation is more than just standing up and talking.  It’s a discipline and a profession.  It is, as Freeman Tilden argued, art:

Interpretation is an art which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historical or architectural.

Skeptical?  Take a look back on the interpretive elements we’ve covered:

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What Works in Water Education? With Nicole Seltzer – The Water Values

May 18, 2014

Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s “Urban Waters Bike Tour” recap

May 17, 2014

It was a grand time the other day cycling along the South Platte and hearing about current projects, operations, hopes and plans.

The tour was from the Confluence of Clear Creek and the South Platte River to Confluence Park where Cherry Creek joins the river.

Along the way we heard about Clear Creek, water quality in the South Platte Basin, infrastructure investments, and education programs.

A recurring theme was the effort to reach out to a younger generation through the school system.

Darren Mollendor explained that the program he honchos attempts to get the students to connect to their neighborhood parks. This includes an understanding of pollution, pollution abatement, and habitat improvement. He invited us all to go camping at Cherry Creek Reservoir when students from the upper and lower Cherry Creek watershed get together later this summer.

Michael Bouchard (Denver Parks and Recreation) detailed planned improvements along the river through Denver. Most of the new facilities will also have an education focus, including native flora at some locations.

Metro Wastewater is one of the largest clean water utilities in the nation, according to Steve Rogowski. The Metro District is directing a huge investment to comply with tougher treatment standards.

At the Burlington Ditch diversion Gray Samenfink explained operations under the ditch. The ditch is a supply for Barr Lake, other reservoirs, and direct irrigators. Several municipalities also take water off the ditch. The new diversion and flood control structure replaced the old dam at the location.

Caitlin Coleman (Colorado Foundation for Water Education) was tasked with keeping the tour on track. That was no easy task. When you get young and older, students, water resources folks, educators, conservationists, scientists, attorneys, engineers, and ditch riders together there’s going to be a lot of stuff to talk about.

Click here to go to the CFWE website. Become a member while you are there. That way you’ll know about these cool events in advance so you won’t miss the fun.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Make Water Provocative: What’s Your Point?

May 15, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Back when we first learned to write essays, we all learned that we needed to have a thesis statement.  The thesis outlined the main argument of the essay, and all points covered in our writing needed to tie back to this statement.

An interpretive programs, like an essay, should have a theme that not only ties together information, but may provoke the audience to make new connections to the resource discussed.

Coming up with a topic for a program is usually easy, but determining the theme can be much more difficult.  What’s the difference?  A topic is usually a broad concept, the subject of the presentation:  water, irrigation, prior appropriation, riparian restoration.  A theme is the central idea of the program, the thesis statement.  You can use your theme to tie together all the subsidiary topics you cover, as well as the goals and objectives for your program.

Why Have…

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Colorado Foundation for Water Education President’s Award Reception

May 3, 2014

Sean Cronin and John McClow at the 2014 CFWE President's Award Reception

Sean Cronin and John McClow at the 2014 CFWE President’s Award Reception

Sean Cronin received the 2014 Emerging Leader Award yesterday at the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s President’s Award Reception. Alan Hamel received this year’s President’s Award.

The shindig at the Colorado History Museum is an annual event to recognize leaders in the water community.

Mr. Cronin [St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District] related a life event that helped point him towards a career in water. As a young Eagle Scout eager to serve his community he organized a clean up of a local pond. He remembers now that the clean up of “weeds” included cattails and other wetland flora. Most of those present knew immediately that Sean and his cohorts were rooting around in a wetlands. He admitted that he should have sought a “404 permit.”

He asserted that he didn’t get any callouses on his hands performing his role in the aftermath of the September flooding. He said his blisters showed up in another area from sitting in meeting after meeting. He credits the first responders and the personnel rebuilding the infrastructure along with folk’s lives for doing the real work.

Mr. Hamel continued that theme acknowledging that he knows that successful individuals depend on their network for inspiration, mentoring, and support. He emphasized the importance of communication, honesty, and transparency as values for leaders.

Mr. Hamel retired from the Pueblo Board of Water Works last year after 54 years of service to the community. Retired is a relative term however as he is the currently serving as Vice-Chair for the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Click here to read the bios for both awardees from the CFWE website.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Make Water Provocative: Appealing to Hearts and Minds

May 1, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

As water educators and interpreters, we want our audiences to care about water.  This is seemingly simple – every person on the planet depends on water – but its ubiquity often means that people take water for granted.  How then can interpreters help audiences to appreciate water and care about water issues?

As already covered in this series, interpretive programs should provoke an audience to learn more about the topic, rather than cover it exhaustively.  The interpreter needs knowledge not only of the resource but of the audience being addressed.  The interpreter should appeal to what the audience members already know or have already experienced.  The interpreter seeks to illuminate the bigger picture, using universal concepts, which everyone can understand regardless of background.  Interpreters also work to facilitate connections between audiences and a resource, and these connections are usually intellectual or emotional.

Facilitating “A-ha!” moments

Intellectual connections increase…

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7 Reasons Water-Lovers Should Visit the “Living West” Exhibit at History Colorado

April 24, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Colorado’s challenging environment has shaped the state’s history and its people, and perhaps the greatest shaping factor has been water.  Water has largely determined where people lived and how they survived, and water continues to challenge Coloradans today.  The Living West exhibit at History Colorado invites visitors to explore three water-related chapters of Colorado’s history:  Mesa Verde, the Dust Bowl, and Colorado’s Mountains. Water abundance and shortages shape all three episodes. The residents of Mesa Verde harnessed water for crops and livestock, only to experience severe drought; drought, fragile soil, volatile prices, and debt devastated many Baca County farms in the 1930s; and today we see many environmental changes in the mountains while we struggle to provide enough water for all.

Lovers of water and Colorado’s history (and present and future) will find a lot to enjoy in this exhibit. Here are seven things you won’t want to miss:


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Make Water Provocative: Building a Foundation

April 13, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Interpretation is not just the delivery of information.  It is revelation, a moment when an audience member makes new and meaningful connections.  So how can interpreters facilitate these interpretive moments?

If you’ve ever been an interpreter, you know that you never really leave this type of work behind, even if you no longer practice it daily.  A lasting remnant from this part of my career was my memorization of the so-called “interpretive equation.”  This equation details what is needed to achieve an “interpretive opportunity,” the moment when interpretation takes place.

The equation, written in non-mathematical formula, goes something like this:  Knowledge of the resource, and knowledge of the audience, combined with the appropriate techniques for both, are necessary to produce an interpretive opportunity.

In other words, any successful interpreter needs:  knowledge of the resource, knowledge of the audience, and appropriate interpretive techniques for a given situation.

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Make Water Provocative: A Series on Interpretation

April 13, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

CFWE's Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

CFWE’s Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

Have you ever walked away from a program – perhaps a campfire talk, or a tour of a water diversion, or even a PowerPoint presentation – feeling inspired, identifying new connections that you had not previously realized, eager to learn more, determined to try new things?

If you have, you have fulfilled every interpreter’s dream. Those reactions are what interpreters hope to inspire in audiences. But how do we achieve this? Although a magic formula remains frustratingly elusive, interpreters have honed some best practices and principles over the years, which may be helpful in your program development. This interpretive series will outline a few of these practices.

Before I came to CFWE, I worked as an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service. I learned interpretive principles recommended by the Interpretive Development Program, and I was certified for guided interpretive programs. I later applied…

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CWFE’s President’s Award Reception, May 2

April 6, 2014

From the website:

Registration is now open! Support the Colorado Foundation for Water Education at our annual President’s Award Reception.

May 2, 2014
History Colorado Center, Denver
6-9:30 pm

Register Here

This spring we’ll honor Alan Hamel with the President’s Award and Sean Cronin of the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District with the Emerging Leader Award.

alanhamelpuebloboardofwaterworksadminbuildingchieftainAlan Hamel, 2014 President’s Award
Caring for People and Watersheds
Growing up in Pueblo in the 1950s, Alan Hamel liked to swin in the Arkansas River. His father, Bob, owned an automobile repair business. His mother, Jean, worked as a psychiatric technician at the state hospital. in those days, Pueblo was a gritty industrial town largely dependent on Colorado Fuel and Iron, its steel and iron mill the principal employer. Ethnically diverse, a town of working men and women located at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Foundation Creek, Pueblo had a long history of manufacturing rails for the narrow gauges that opened up the Colorado Rockies for mining, timbering, settlement and recreation. Read more about Alan Hamel

Sean Cronin, 2014 Emerging Leader Award
Shifting Rivers, Changing Course
Sean Cronin got used to planning for drought in his former job as a water resources manager for the City of Greeley, but since the devastating September 2013 flood in northern Colorado, he’s been coping with way too much water.
As excutive director of the St. Vrain & Left Hand Water Conservancy District, Sean is helping to piece together relationships necessary to construct more resilient water systems and riverine habitat for the near and long term. Read more about Sean Cronin

CFWE: “We want to have a larger presence in the Arkansas Valley” — Nicole Seltzer

April 4, 2014
Straight line diagram of the Lower Arkansas Valley ditches via Headwaters Magazine

Straight line diagram of the Lower Arkansas Valley ditches via Headwaters Magazine

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education wants to step up its efforts in the Arkansas River basin.

“No matter who you are, if you understand water better in the Arkansas basin, it will benefit everyone,” said Scott Lorenz, who joined the foundation’s board this year.

Lorenz lives near Rye and manages the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association, a wellaugmentation group. He and Nicole Seltzer, CFWE executive director, visited Thursday with The Pueblo Chieftain editorial board, along with other groups and individuals throughout the Arkansas Valley.

“We’ve been notably absent from the Arkansas basin,” Seltzer said, explaining that the foundation formed statewide in 2002 as a response to severe drought that caught the state off-guard. “We want to have a larger presence in the Arkansas Valley.”

The foundation can have mutual benefits.

“We provide a lens for the wider state and resources for local water educators,” Seltzer said.

Those resources include publications — Headwaters magazine and a series of Citizens Guides that look at water issues. CFWE also organizes workshops and tours, including one of the Arkansas River headwaters set for September.

The group also sponsors a program for emerging water leaders, which is how Lorenz became involved with CWFE.

Lorenz plans to use his time on the board to increase awareness of the importance of agriculture. There are young farmers who are optimistic about the future of farming, but to do that they also need to protect the availability of irrigation water.

“Sometimes we make ourselves the target,” Lorenz said. “I think CWFE will focus on the facts. One of those is that we have to have water on the land to be viable.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here and here.

New Leadership is Growing

March 31, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Class of 2014 during their March training with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

Class of 2014 with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

CFWE is proud to announce our 2014 class of Water Leaders! This diverse and talented group of mid-level water professionals have started a journey to develop their leadership potential. The first training on March 17-18 focused on self-awareness and functional team-building. The group also examined how regional leaders have effectively built water teams in northeastern Colorado by numerous guest presentations and excursions at the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley.  Subsequent trainings will be in Fraser on May 15-16, Pueblo on July 31-August 1 and Denver on September 18-19. Join us in welcoming them to your community!

Congratulations to:
Jason Carey, River Restoration
Adam Cwiklin, Town of Fraser
Aaron Derwingson, The Nature Conservancy
Julia Galucci, Colorado Springs Utilities
James Henderson, 711 Ranch
Dawn Jewell, City of Aurora
Laurna Katz, Denver Water
Aimee Konowal, CDPHE Water Quality Control Division
Steve Malers, Open…

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From the Ice Core Lab: Reflections on CFWE’s Climate and Water Workshop

March 26, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

By Lisa Wade, Riverside Technology

The thermometer on the wall displays a chilling -36°F as we enter the giant freezer. What could possibly need it to be this cold? The answer– ice cores collected from around the world.


Climate and Colorado’s Water Future Workshop participants tour the freezers in the National Ice Core Laboratory.

They are stored in the US National Ice Core Laboratory, which I was touring as part of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Climate and Colorado’s Water Future Workshop. The Ice Core Lab is responsible for preserving ice collected from remote locations, such as Greenland, Antarctica, the Andes, and the Himalayas. Scientists drill the ice cores, package them up very carefully, and ship them back to the Ice Core Lab. Here, analysis on the ice provides insight into Earth’s climate. Scientists look at the oxygen isotopes, which are related to the temperature of the clouds…

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Historic water pulses through the Colorado River delta for revival starting today

March 23, 2014

Coyote Gulch:

This is a big day for the Colorado River delta.

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

1ColoRi-R2-024-10A The dry Colorado River Delta will receive a resurrecting flow of water this spring, one that Scientific American calls “an unprecedented experiment in ecological engineering” thanks to a historic agreement between the United States and Mexico.

Starting today, the pulse will be released from Morelos Dam, which sits on the international boundary, and will travel 75 miles to the Gulf of California. Below the dam, the Colorado is usually completely dry. This pulse of water will mark the first time that the United States and Mexico have put water back into the parched riverbed for environmental purposes.

From Scientific American:

The mighty Colorado rises on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains and drains seven US and two Mexican states along its 2,300-kilometer course (see ‘River run’). Before the 1930s, when dams began to throttle the river, its water ran unfettered into the Gulf of California. But…

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Ask Questions About Colorado’s Water Plan #COWaterPlan

March 4, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Colorado’s Water Plan will provide a path forward for providing Coloradans with the water we need while supporting healthy watersheds and the environment, robust recreation and tourism economies, vibrant and sustainable cities, and viable and productive agriculture.

So it says on the homepage of the Colorado’s Water Plan website, and so many across the state are working to achieve. This Wednesday 3/5,  listen to Denver and Boulder’s community radio station KGNU (or tune in online) from 8:35-9:30 am for a panel discussion and call-in show on Colorado’s Water Plan. Listen to and ask questions of the Colorado Water Conservation Board Director James Eklund, Sean Cronin Chair of the South Platte Basin Roundtable, and Abby Burk Colorado Western Rivers Action Network Coordinator for the National Audubon Society.

Have a question for the experts? Call in at 303-442-4242 this Wednesday morning!

Interested in getting involved in Colorado’s Water Future? Check…

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Money for Water

February 23, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

By Mark Scharfenaker, Denver resident

When I moved west from Michigan in the early 1970’s I was dumb and dumber about water.

But the first Earth Day had awakened me and many others to the perils of pollution, EPA and the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts had just emerged  and I began wading trout waters with a fly rod in my hand and joy in my young heart.

credit: Wikipedia

Who knew that…

  • Those strange riverside structures were USGS streamflow gauges?
  • The big dams that store big water were funded by taxpayers and built by the federal  Bureau of Reclamation?
  • The US Forest Service is an Agriculture agency charged with keeping  forest snows shaded to extend the flows of meltwaters to  the massive network of  irrigation ditches that stitch the western landscape together?
  • Toxic waters were still seeping from old mines into nearly every watershed ?
  • Windy Gap…

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Say hello to CFWE’s Water Educator Network

February 17, 2014

Click here to go to the website. From email from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education (Kristin Maharg):

I’m reaching out to the Colorado Water 2012 community to let you know how the Colorado Foundation for Water Education has since built upon the successes of that coalition. With support from Xcel Energy and partnering with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, we are developing the Water Educator Network to offer tools, trainings and collaborations that are relevant to your work, easily accessible and simple to implement.

As a teaser of this all new program, we’d like to invite you to attend a FREE lunchtime webinar on February 25. For those of you involved in your local watershed festival, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to gear up for spring festival season, learn from long-time organizers and discuss ways to improve the overall experience. Register today for the Water Festival Planning and Coordination webinar.

Visit the Water Educator Network web page to see how CFWE is gearing up to deliver technical assistance and resources to our community. After an “orientation” webinar on March 19, CFWE staff will reach out to you again to become a member of this exclusive network for only $100/year. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Water Books from the Board of Trustees

February 13, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

The CFWE Board meets three times per year across Colorado

The CFWE Board meets three times per year across Colorado.  Here we are in Jan. 2014 at the Ralph Carr Justice Center in Denver.

CFWE is blessed to have a diverse and helpful Board of Trustees.  All 22 of them are committed to making CFWE the best water education organization in the state of Colorado, and I greatly appreciate their expertise and guidance.  Its not surprising that they, like our staff, are a bunch of “water geeks” who spend countless hours in their personal and professional lives thinking about our most important resource.

At each of our three yearly Board meetings, our Board Development Committee Chair, Chris Treese, does a round of introductions so we can learn a bit about each other.  At our January meeting, the question asked of each member was “What is your favorite water-related book?”  This was such a great list, I wanted to share it…

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Water Is… Poetry

February 5, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

As you well know, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education appreciates the written word…  we publish Headwaters magazine, this blog, and the wonderful poet, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs, serves as our publications chair– it only makes sense. Back in 2012, a water haiku challenge posted on this blog was wildly popular– so here we are again, this time opening the doors of expression to all water poetry. Need some inspiration? CFWE debuted our new magnetic poetry display board at the Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention last week– check out the words on the board, and the phrases folks came up with.  Comment to share your lines and words– let your creativity flow, splash and swell powerfully. 


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The Winter 2014 issue of Headwaters: The Fine (and Fun!) Art of Engaging People Around Water, now available

February 5, 2014


Click here to read the issue. The publication is from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

More education coverage here

Colorado Foundation for Water Education: Climate & Colorado’s Water Future Tour, March 7

February 3, 2014
Antarctic ice core waiting to be shelved at the National Ice Core Lab March 2010

Antarctic ice core waiting to be shelved at the National Ice Core Lab March 2010

Click here to go to the CFWE website and reserve your spot. Here’s the pitch:

Each spring, CFWE is joined by a group of 50 wonderful workshop participants who bundle up to tour the National Ice Core Laboratory. During the tour, we learn how climate data is extracted from polar regions, receive interactive teaching tools and learn how climate impacts water resources and the environment. Take a look at the agenda and check out photos from 2013 on Facebook.

Click here for my writeup of the 2010 workshop.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education: An Epic Ride Through the Grand Canyon: Reception and Lecture by Author Kevin Fedarko

December 21, 2013

More education coverage here.

Snow Field School for Water Professionals

December 15, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:


Join the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies February 12-14, 2014 for a 2.5 day professional development opportunity just for Colorado Water Managers

This workshop will highlight, in a mixture of classroom discussion and hands-on field sessions:

  • Review of Colorado’s snow climatology, snowpack formation, and snowmelt processes
  • Discussion of recent snow and climate literature including dust-on-snow
  • Site visits to and discussions about snow and weather monitoring systems, issues
  • Snowpack, weather, and climate data sources, interpretation and application issues

The workshop will be conducted by Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies staff at its Silverton office and at the Senator Beck Basin Study Area and nearby Snotel and snow course sites.  The workshop will entail over-snow travel at 11,000’ on snowshoes or skis (must have climbing skins) over short distances (up to 20 minutes) and some small hills.  CSAS will provide the technical snow science equipment but participants should bring suitable…

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The State of Colorado Coal

December 15, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

The State of Colorado Coal

CFWE’s most recent Headwaters magazine on energy took a look at coal in Colorado.  Writer Josh Zaffos interviewed Jack Ihle, Xcel Energy’s director of environmental policy about the switch from coal to natural gas…

HW 32 coversmallEven with the rush toward natural gas, the push for renewables, and potential carbon emissions regulations, Ihle says Xcel—and Colorado—aren’t likely to fully divest from coal. Xcel is upgrading pollution controls at several coal plants to further limit smog and air pollution and keep the plants running and in compliance with Clean Air Act regulations. “We see value in balance even as certain drivers like emissions regulations will cause us to look harder at cleaner resources,” Ihle says. “Coal has been a very cost-effective resource and price-stable for a long time, and we’ll look for ways to make it as clean as we can.”

And the use of coal in…

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Colorado Foundation for Water Education Colorado Water Leaders Program applications due January 17, 2014

December 14, 2013
Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

Click here to go to the website for the pitch. Here’s an excerpt:

Become a Water Leader! Discover your potential and expand your network in Colorado. This program offers mid-level water professionals the opportunity to develop their leadership potential with a focus on water resources issues. Since 2006, the program has provided training in conflict resolution, communication and management to participants across Colorado. Water Leaders benefit from extensive self-assessment, executive coaching, networking opportunities and the chance to learn about water resources across the state.

We are NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the next cohort of water leaders. Applications are due January 17, 2014 along with two letters of recommendation. Apply here, preview the application here (but don’t fill out the PDF), or contact Kristin Maharg at with questions.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

FREE Water Favorites

November 22, 2013

Coyote Gulch:

These guides are a terrific resource. My favorite — The Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Law.

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

If you haven’t heard, CFWE’s annual Citizen’s Guide Giveaway is going on NOW… today is actually the last day to apply for up to 100 FREE GUIDES for your organization, classroom, community or cause. Send in your outreach plan and apply!!! Need some inspiration? Read about CFWE staff’s top Citizen’s Guide picks…

CFWE's Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

CFWE’s Program Assistant Jennie Geurts

Jennie Geurts: My favorite publication is the Citizen’s Guide to Where Your Water Comes From, because it answers an essential question we often take for granted.  We turn on the tap and miraculously have pure water – but how did it get there?  This guide traces the origins of our water, from Colorado’s unique climate to our groundwater and rivers, through the water storage systems, purification networks, and pipes to our taps.  Did you know that some of Denver’s water comes from as far away as Dillon?  Did you…

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CFWE reading recommendation: Kevin Fedarko’s, The Emerald Mile

October 23, 2013
Grand Canyon from Grandview Point January 24, 2009 via the National Park Service

Grand Canyon from Grandview Point January 24, 2009 via the National Park Service

Nicole Seltzer has written an introduction to the book The Emerald Mile for Your Water Colorado Blog. Click through and read the whole thing then go out an buy the book for the author’s (Kevin Fedarko) visit in January.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

CU Boulder Research Community Responds to Boulder Floods #COflood

October 16, 2013
Surfing Boulder Creek September 2013 via @lauras

Surfing Boulder Creek September 2013 via @lauras

Here’s a blog post detailing the response of the CU Boulder research community to the flooding in Boulder County, written by Colorado Foundation for Water Education intern Abby Kuranz running on Your Colorado Water Blog. Click through and read the whole post. Here’s an excerpt:

The University of Colorado-Boulder is situated in the foothills-plains interface of the Flatirons, where Boulder Creek flows through the city center. Boulder Creek, which typically runs at about 300 cubic feet per second, maxed out at 5,000 cfs during the 5-day deluge…

As cleanup in Boulder continues, roads are re-opened, and hiking and biking trails are rebuilt. CU-Boulder researchers are also picking up the pieces. While many researchers will need to adjust and redesign long- and short-term projects, others are using the rare opportunity to gather data for unique comparisons in an effort to accurately characterize the hydrologic event.

Understanding augmentation plans

October 8, 2013
Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.

Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.

From the Valley Courier (Steve Gibson):

In the discussions of water in the San Luis Valley we hear of wells being augmented. What does this mean and what is an Augmentation Plan? These are important concepts that are applicable throughout Colorado. This article is intended to describe these concepts as there are Augmentation Plans in the San Luis Valley it is anticipated that we will continue to hear this term as the Colorado Division of Water Resources promulgate Well Rules and Regulations for irrigation wells.

According to the “Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Law”, published by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, in 1969, the Colorado General Assembly allowed development of augmentation plans. An augmentation plan is a Water Court-approved plan designed to protect senior water rights, while allowing junior water rights to divert water out of priority and avoid State Engineer shutdown orders. Injury occurs to senior water right holders if the out-of-priority diversion intercepts water that would otherwise be available under natural conditions to the senior water right.

In over appropriated basins, such as the Rio Grande and Conejos River, or where no unappropriated water is available, individuals or businesses wanting to have a well are unable to obtain a well permit for tributary groundwater without an augmentation plan. This does not apply if the new well is for household use only.

Augmentation plans allow for out-of-priority diversions by replacing the water a new well owner (junior water right holder) consume, which in turn depletes the hydrologic system by an equal amount of water. The replacement water must meet the needs of senior water rights holders such as being available at the time, place, quantity and suitable quality they would enjoy absent the out-of-priority diversions. Having an augmentation plan allows a junior water user, for example, to pump a tributary groundwater well, even when a Rio Grande and Conejos River Compact call exists on the rivers.

Replacement water may come from any legally available source and be provided by a variety of means. An augmentation plan identifies the structures, diversions, beneficial uses, timing and amounts of depletions to be replaced, along with how and when the replacement water will be supplied and how the augmentation plan will be operated. Some augmentation plans use storage water to replace depletions. Others include the use of unlined irrigation ditches and ponds during the nongrowing season to recharge the groundwater aquifers that feed the river. A person who wants to divert out [of priority] must file an application with the regional Water Court. Under certain circumstances the State Engineer may approve temporary changes of water rights and plans to replace out-of-priority depletions using Substitute Water Supply Plans. This allows well pumping to continue while Water Court applications for changes of water rights or augmentation plans are being approved. A Substitute Water Supply Plan requires adequate replacement water to cover depletions of water that would injure senior water rights.

What does this mean in the San Luis Valley? There are irrigation companies that have augmentation plans and decrees that allow them to recharge the groundwater so that their members can pump water. This recharge may take place during different times of the year. Individuals and commercial or industrial well users can have augmentation plans for their specific wells.

The San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District and the Conejos Water Conservancy District (Districts) have augmentation decrees that allow them to provide augmentation water to offset the water consumed by different entities that need to use wells for their homes or businesses, but not for agricultural irrigation wells.

Without the availability of these services a person or company wanting to put in a well would have to have their own individual augmentation plan, which can be very time consuming and expensive to complete. The Districts sell the augmentation water to the well owners and make a commitment to provide the actual augmentation water back into the hydrologic system on an annual basis. This is achieved by determining how much water each well owner will consume each year, which will typically be less than the amount they pump as some of the water will typically return into the ground. The Districts will replenish into the Rio Grande and Conejos River an equal amount of water as that consumed by the users of their clients’ wells. This is done by releasing into the river systems water that the Districts own. This water in turn has come from the yield of water rights the Districts have acquired over time. These water rights were surface water rights or irrigation water rights that have been through Water Court to change the beneficial use from irrigation to the Districts’ augmentation programs. The Districts provides these services to individuals who require a well for their homes and gardens, to commercial businesses and industry, such as restaurants, solar companies, who need water to wash down their photovoltaic panels, and potato storage operators.

It is anticipated the future Well Rules and Regulations to be promulgated by the Colorado Division of Water Resources will require owners of agriculture irrigation wells to either individually augment the well if the well is not included in a Groundwater Management Subdistrict.

More water law coverage here.

Connecting the Drops: The Mighty Colorado Statewide Call-In Radio Show today, 5 to 6 PM #ColoradoRiver

September 15, 2013


Click here for the pitch. Good luck if the Broncos game runs long.

The Summer 2013 issue of ‘Ripple Effects’ from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education is hot off the presses

August 29, 2013


Click here to read the newsletter.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education radio program ‘Connecting the Drops’

August 7, 2013

A Non-Westerner’s Introduction to Colorado Water

July 30, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

IMG_5066 When I started my job with CFWE a year ago, I knew relatively little about Colorado’s water.  I grew up in Ohio, where rivers only seemed to make the news when they flooded or caught fire.  But in Colorado, I began to hear the saying, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”  So, I started learning about what made water in the West – and Colorado – so prized.  Here’s a short summary of the major themes this non-Westerner has learned in a year. 

Water is Scarce

Colorado is part of the region once called the “Great American Desert.”  Statewide, the average annual precipitation is only 16 inches.  In contrast, Iowa receives 32 inches and Florida receives more than 50 inches!  If all of Colorado received its 16 inches evenly, water planning would be straightforward.  But from year to year and region to region, the amount varies…

View original 816 more words

CFWE watershed tours are coming up later this month, June and July

May 12, 2013

Click here for the 2013 tours page from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Watch their showcase video above to learn about the mission.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here and here.

CFWE President’s Award Reception: ‘There are still things left to be done and goals to be set’ — Amy Beatie

May 4, 2013


In Colorado the water teaching heavy lifting falls to the Colorado Foundation for Water Education staff and board. Their work touches many in Colorado. Young and older, software experts, engineers, attorneys, water suppliers along with non-profit and public servants mirrored the Foundation’s diversity of outreach at yesterday’s President’s Award Reception.

Conversation ranged from travel plans for southern Africa to Open Source software for the water business to the monster wet April that we just saw in the northern part of the state.

Amy Beatie was honored as this year’s Emerging Leader.

She spoke about standing on the shoulders of many who had affected Colorado water in the past and how that allowed her the opportunity to do her work at the Colorado Water Trust. In particular she thanked former State Senator Fred Anderson for his foresight in marshalling Colorado’s instream flow law through the legislature.

Ms. Beatie told us that she believes that emerging means, “There are still things left to be done and goals to be set,” as she held her young son who decided to join her at the podium during her remarks.

She also mentioned that after listening to the arguments in Tarrant v. Herrmann she was struck by the difficulty the justices were having in understanding the concepts behind water law. Amy suggested that we should dispatch the Colorado Foundation for Water Education to D.C. to help them out a bit. The justices do not speak fluent water it seems.

The President’s Award for 2013 went to Jim Isgar, rancher from the dry-side of La Plata County.

During her introduction Joan Fitzgerald talked about their days in the legislature and said, “Jim never lied to anyone and if he told you he was with you he was with you to the end.”

Isgar got at the heart of the Foundation’s mission during his remarks saying, “When people buy a house they think it’s a guarantee that when they turn on the tap they have water.”

As Foundation Director Nicole Seltzer says in their short film introduction it is their job to help everyone speak fluent water so that they can make good decisions about it in the future.

Justice Greg Hobbs gave a special award to Jayla Poppleton the editor of the Foundation’s one of a kind water-centered publication Headwaters. Hobbs said that there is no publication like Headwaters, “anywhere else in the world.”

Click here to check out the CFWE website, join up or drop some cash in the tip jar. They’re also booking folks for their summer watershed tours right now.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here and here.

CFWE: ‘Colorado’s water is important to the state, but it also impacts the rest of the country’ — Caitlin Coleman

April 30, 2013


From The Colorado Statesman (Caitlin Colemen):

Colorado’s water is important to the state, but it also impacts the rest of the country — we are a headwaters state with water flowing from our mountains to nourish 19 states and the Republic of Mexico. Our water matters. If Colorado has a dry year, or pulls more than our allocation of water from the state’s rivers, our downstream neighbors will feel the effects. This has always been true, but as populations continue to grow and we experience more frequent hot and dry years in the West, competition for water is going to intensify and those choices we make become increasingly grave. It’s important to understand the implications of water use on a personal and policy-level…

…the state often sees new policy-makers who need to quickly learn water policy; this year there are eight new legislators on the House Agriculture Committee. “They’re certainly dealing with a variety of complex topics, everything from climate to groundwater policy to water planning,” [Doug] Kemper says.

Making those complex topics digestible is why the Colorado Foundation for Water Education exists — to help all Coloradans ‘speak fluent water.’ That means knowing where your water comes from, where it goes, who else depends on it and using that background to make informed decisions. The nonprofit started in 2002 as the result of legislation and was backed by financial support from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. As Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs says, water professionals came together with the shared sentiment that Colorado needed an organization focused on nonbiased statewide water education. “We can point to a law that the legislature passed that is unlike anything else that I know about in the water field,” Hobbs says. “The fact that the state of Colorado has decided to support a non-advocacy, nonpolitical water foundation to communicate with people is extraordinary.”

I consider Ms. Coleman a friend and teacher. She is the primary blogger at Your Water Colorado Blog. (Disclaimer: I helped her start the blog using WordPress software.)

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here and here.

Grand Valley water related events during May #ColoradoRiver

April 25, 2013


From the Grand Junction Free Press (Hannah Holm):

Grand Junction will be a hub of water activity in May with both educational events and major policy meetings. Here’s a sampling:

• May 13 — 5:30-7 p.m. Colorado Mesa University Ballroom: State of the River meeting

This annual meeting, co-sponsored by the Colorado River District and the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University, provides an opportunity to learn about our current and projected water supply situation. This year, there will also be presentations on the achievements of salinity control programs in the Grand Valley and research on the feasibility of a “water bank,” which would compensate agricultural water users for voluntarily cutting back water use in order to maintain critical uses during times of shortage. This meeting is a free educational event for the public, and light refreshments will be provided.

• May 14-15 — Colorado Water Conservation board meeting

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is the state’s primary water policy and water project financing entity. The board will have its May meeting in Grand Junction, giving local residents the opportunity to watch the board at work and make comments on agenda items. Details on the location and agenda will be published on the CWCB website prior to the meeting.

• May 16-17 — Colorado Basin Salinity Control Forum

When water is applied to the soils in our region, the flows back to the river often contain high levels of naturally occurring salts. The trouble this causes to downstream farmers has led to many efforts to limit deep percolation through our soils through measures such as canal lining and irrigation efficiency. The Colorado Basin Salinity Control Forum meets regularly to assess the effectiveness of these efforts, and in May, they will hold their meeting in Grand Junction in the Courtyard by Marriott on Horizon Drive.

• May 29-31 — Lower Colorado River Basin float and tour

Not all the water events in May are inside, wonk-talk affairs. On May 30-31, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education will host a tour of key sites in the Grand Valley and uphill on the Grand Mesa. Discussions and sites on the tour will illuminate issues such as the purchase of agricultural water rights to serve the Grand Valley’s growing urban population, energy development in water supply watersheds, endangered fish recovery efforts, and tamarisk control. Prior to the tour, on May 29, the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University will host a float down the river from Palisade to Corn Lake.


Details on all these events and many more can be found on the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University’s website, at

More education coverage here.

‘The reach of Colorado water goes all the way to the Mississippi’ — Justice Greg Hobbs

April 13, 2013


From the Cañon City Daily Record (Rachel Alexander):

The Fremont-Custer Bar Association on Friday welcomed Justice Gregory Hobbs, who spoke to a group of about 20 about water law and the history of water in Colorado.

The meeting, at DiRito’s, was part of the association’s effort to provide educational activities for its member attorneys. Friday’s event was open to the public and included several city council members and city employees…

Hobbs is vice president of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, which is a non-advocacy and non-political organization created by the General Assembly to provide information about water to Colorado citizens.

“The reach of Colorado water goes all the way to the Mississippi,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs discussed the nine interstate compacts Colorado has regarding the four major rivers with headwaters in the state, including the Arkansas River. The compacts control how much water Colorado citizens may use and how much must be allowed to leave the state in its rivers. The compacts result in Colorado being able to only consume 1/3 of the state’s snow melt water.

The concept of water rights for irrigation, Hobbs said, arose out of the necessity to irrigate lands a distance from the river for agricultural purposes. In the 1866 Mining Act, Congress severed water from land in the public domain, which made up most of the territory at the time…

The doctrine of water right favors settled uses, he said, meaning those with old rights take preference over newer uses. “The public always owns the water resource,” Hobbs said.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here and here.

The January/February issue of Colorado Water (Colorado State) is hot off the press

March 26, 2013


Click here to read a copy.

Thanks to the Colorado Water 2012 Twitter feed for the heads up


More education coverage here.

Colorado Foundation for Water Education: 2013 President’s Award Reception, May 3

March 25, 2013


Click here to go the the CFWE website to register and learn all about the event. Click on the thumbnail graphic for a photo of last year’s shindig.

The venue this year is the Colorado History Museum. Here’s the pitch from the website:

Join the Colorado Foundation for Water Education on Friday May 3 to enjoy our 2013 President’s Award Reception. Help us honor Jim Isgar, the recipient of CFWE’s President’s Award. The award pays tribute to those who demonstrate steadfast commitment to water resources education. We will also bestow our Emerging Leader Award upon Amy Beatie.

Jim Isgar, 2013 President’s Award

Looking at Jim Isgar, a bit grizzled from recent chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer, I see a generous man who stands as tall as Mt. Hesperus. Due north of Isgar’s family farm and ranch, Mt. Hesperus in southwestern Colorado’s La Plata Mountains is one of four mountains considered sacred to the Navajo. Isgar irrigates off the La Plata River outside of Breen, southwest of Durango. Like his father, Art, he has served on the H.H. Ditch Company board of directors, including 25 years as its president.

Amy Beatie, 2013 Emerging Leader Award

Amy Beatie fights drought by putting water back into parched Colorado streams for fish, wildlife and people. In the summer of 2012, when Western Slope streams were running precariously low, the nonprofit Colorado Water Trust she leads helped to hold some of the hardest-hit waters together.
“In February of 2012, the snow wasn’t catching up,” says Beatie. “In March we realized the snow wasn’t coming at all. It looked like a bad drought would hit every basin in the state.”

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

CSU — ‘Coping with Extremes: the 1st Annual Western Water History Symposium’ — March 1

February 24, 2013


From Your Colorado Water Blog:

Join Colorado State University’s Public Lands History Center and the Water Resources Archives at CSU Libraries for Coping with Extremes: the 1st Annual Western Water History Symposium on Friday, March 1 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm at Colorado State University’s Morgan Library Event Hall. The event is FREE and open to the public.

This year’s water symposium features four prominent historians of the US West: Patty Limerick, Louis Warren, Jay Taylor, and Donald C. Jackson.

CFWE: 2013 Climate & Colorado’s Water Future Workshop

February 18, 2013


Click here to register. From the Colorado Foundation for Water Education:

Bundle up and get ready to take a look inside the National Ice Core Laboratory. Join us along with fellow colleagues– water educators, scientists and others on Friday March 8 to tour the lab. We’ll learn how climate data is extracted from polar regions, receive interactive teaching tools and learn how climate impacts water resources and the environment. Take a look at the current agenda and Register now, space is limited.

Secondary teachers earn 1/2 course credit from Colorado School of Mines by participating in this workshop. Contact us for more information and for teacher registration.

More CFWE coverage here.

Your Colorado Water Blog: From Water 2012 into 2013

January 3, 2013


The Colorado Foundation for Water Education plans to continue the blog they started for Colorado Water 2012. Here’s the announcment. Here’s an excerpt:

But let’s not get stuck reminiscing about the good old days. Many of the programs you loved in 2012 will continue into 2013– like this blog, it’s not going anywhere.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Colorado Water 2012: ‘An inadequate supply of clean water threatens our economy and our way of life’ — Nicole Seltzer

December 30, 2012


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Nicole Seltzer):

When I embarked on planning a year-long celebration of Colorado’s water, I honestly did not know what to expect. Were there others out there who would help seize the opportunity? Would anyone pay attention to water for an entire year? As dozens of Colorado water professionals now help to wrap up Colorado’s “Year of Water,” I can proudly say, yes, we made a difference! More than 100 communities held Water 2012 events this year, reaching almost 550,000 Coloradans with a message of “celebrating water.”

There were library displays in Fort Collins, author talks in La Junta and Steamboat, fine art shows in Denver and Durango, newspaper series in Alamosa, Pueblo and Grand Junction, proclamations by Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and several city councils, children’s water festivals in numerous towns, and so much more.

When asked what difference Water 2012 made, those involved said it increased the exposure of residents in their communities to water information, which in turn strengthened their basic knowledge of the importance of water. The increase in water-related programs available in Colorado communities grew participation at water related events, as well as the number of people discussing water. All in all, Colorado is more “water literate” at the end of 2012 than it was at the beginning.

We also had an unexpected success. Nearly 90 percent of the water educators involved in Water 2012 strengthened their ties with other water educators. Never before had those charged with teaching Coloradans about water’s importance come together on a consistent basis to learn from each other.

Aside from increased water awareness and linkages between water educators, what is the legacy of Colorado’s Year of Water? I believe that the Colorado Water 2012 volunteers started something that will only grow bigger and better. While we won’t have “Water 2013” to keep us focused, Colorado’s water educators have seen what is possible when they come together as a community and create something whose whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Water is the lifeblood of Colorado. An inadequate supply of clean water threatens our economy and our way of life. From the family farmer to the ski resort executive, we all rely on this undervalued and often underappreciated resource.

My hope for Colorado in 2013 is that we sustain the momentum created in 2012 to continue educating our children and community leaders that we must make smart water choices in our lives.

I posted more that 100 times about Colorado Water 2012. You can take a trip down memory lane here.

Rio Grande Basin Roundtable: ‘We are the basin that has received the most funding to date’ — Mike Gibson

December 28, 2012


From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Rio Grande Interbasin Roundtable Chairman Mike Gibson said in the years since the state has funded water projects through basin-specific roundtables and a statewide account, this basin has garnered more than $8 million from the statewide Water Supply Reserve Account. “We are the basin that has received the most funding to date,” he said…

During its December meeting the roundtable unanimously approved a $23,500 request from Judy Lopez to implement “The Value of Water,” an educational campaign to continue the informational work begun this year during the “Water 2012” initiative. “We have had a great year,” Lopez said.

Water 2012 included a variety of activities including weekly articles in the Valley Courier, radio spots, tours, contests and other water informational events. Lopez said the Rio Grande Basin is a model for others and has been termed the “kumbaya” basin because of how well folks got along and worked together to promote water education.

“The Value of Water” is the next step, Lopez explained. One of the goals of this next campaign will be “getting people to understand we have a gap between what we have and the amount of water we need.”[...]

The Valley Courier will continue to publish water educational articles, with about 24 scheduled for 2013, and radio interviews will continue, as well as classes and tours on different topics such as wetlands. Lopez requested $23,500 for salaries and supplies that will be matched for a total of $66,450 for “The Value of Water” campaign. The funding request will go on to the state for consideration for funding from the statewide account.

Roundtable member Travis Smith said he supported this funding application, and he commended Lopez and Water 2012 Coordinator Leah Opitz for getting the water conversation out past the “same 10 guys and gals” to the general public. He said the educational components are often overlooked in water circles and hard to measure, but they are important. One of the measures of success from these initiatives will be raising up new water leaders for the future, he added.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

Colorado Water 2012: ‘Will now be transitioning in into a statewide Value of Water movement’ — Judy Lopez

December 27, 2012


Here’s the latest installment in the Valley Courier’s Colorado Water 2012 series, written by Judy Lopez. Here’s an excerpt:

The “Water 2012” awareness campaign for the Rio Grande Basin is winding down. What started as a celebration of Colorado’s historic water moments will now be transitioning in into a statewide “Value of Water” movement. This proactive crusade will continue on several fronts across all of the river basins in the state with a single goal of getting water on every body’s mind.

Water it is such a simple topic. It is wet stuff that we drink, bathe in, wash our clothes in, grow and prepare food in. It’s used for making stuff; animals use it and plants use it. The point is – it really gets used. That tends to be a problem, especially since there are getting to be so many people that have so many uses for a once plentiful resource. Water education was once a topic left to children as part of their school studies, but since there are now seven billion of us here on the planet, five million in Colorado, our water footprint (demand) or our “splash” is exceeding the supply that we have readily available.

The value of water means different things to everyone. On the most personal level, it is getting a drink of safe water whenever need to quench thirst. It is coveted in household use for food, hygiene and the basic needs. There are also the agricultural needs to grow and process food. Without these needs met then there is loss of jobs, higher food costs and less food security. Most modern manufacturing requires some form of water use, real economic drivers in times like that are the loss of jobs. Finally, there is the environmental need – streams, rivers and lakes require a given amount of water for the survival of aquatic species. That water in turn is key for the economies that survive on those streams, rivers and lakes.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.


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