Travel industry backs strong Paris climate deal

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

d The cruise ship industry aims to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent in the next 15 years. @bberwyn photo.

Airline industry committed to cutting CO2 emissions 50 percent by 2050

By Bob Berwyn

World travel leaders say they’re on board with efforts to finalize a meaningful global climate agreement at the ongoing COP21 talks in Paris.

Highlighting the economic opportunities that the travel industry creates, several major international organizations reiterated the industry’s commitment to contribute to fight climate change.

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Garden City: 2015 Annual Meeting Arkansas River Compact Administration, December 10

Garden City, Kansas, back in the day
Garden City, Kansas, back in the day

From email from the Arkansas River Compact Administration:

The 2015 Annual Meeting of the Arkansas River Compact Administration (ARCA) will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2015, commencing at 9:00 A.M. CST (8:00 A.M. MST) in the Clarion Inn, Garden City, Kansas. The meeting will be recessed for lunch at about 12:00 P.M. and reconvened for the completion of business in the afternoon as necessary.

The Engineering, Operations, and Administrative/Legal Committees of ARCA will meet on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, also at the Clarion Inn, starting at 2:00 PM. CST (1:00 P.M. MST) and continuing to completion. The public is invited to attend the Committee meetings, however please be aware time for comments may be limited.

Meetings of ARCA are operated in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. If you need a special accommodation as a result of a disability please contact Stephanie Gonzales at (719) 688-0799 at least three days before the meeting.

This information is also available on ARCA’s website:

Arkansas River Basin via The Encyclopedia of Earth
Arkansas River Basin via The Encyclopedia of Earth

USDA: Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector

Click here to go to the website and read the report. From the website:

Despite increased temperatures and much regional variation in production response, U.S. irrigated fieldcrop acreage and water used for irrigation are projected to decline with long-term climate change. Driving the decline in water use are changes in crop growth due to temperature stress, changes in growing-season precipitation, and shifts in surface-water supply availability.


New tap fees approved by Wiggins trustees


From The Fort Morgan times (Stephanie Alderton):

The Wiggins board of trustees passed a resolution [November 11, 2015] clarifying how much town residents will have to pay to install new water taps.

This resolution is the latest in a series of efforts by the town council to conform to the Colorado Health Department’s new water regulations. Although Wiggins already had laws listing the required water tap fees, or “water plant investment fees,” for small home installations, the council decided the laws weren’t clear enough for larger, commercial installations. The new resolution aims to fix that problem.

Resolution 48-2015 lists the amount anyone applying for a water tap will have to pay the town, based on the tap’s size. It also states that all applicants will have to install the tap at their own expense, and that all water services must be metered and approved by the town manager. This is in accordance with Regulation 11 in the Colorado Health Department’s 2015 Water Quality Control Commission regulations.

For new builders, the fees will range from $11,500—for a small, household tap—to $225,000 for the largest tap. Town administrator Paul Larino said these fees are “competitive” compared to those of neighboring towns. He also said this won’t be the last water-related resolution the council will have to consider. The new Health Department regulations are hundreds of pages long, and the Wiggins trustees are still in the process of reading through them.

Study finds High Plains Aquifer [Ogallala] peak use by state, overall usage decline

The High Plains Aquifer provides 30 percent of the water used in the nation's irrigated agriculture. The aquifer runs under South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.
The High Plains Aquifer provides 30 percent of the water used in the nation’s irrigated agriculture. The aquifer runs under South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

Here’s the release from Kansas State University (Greg Tammen):

A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge rate peaked in 2006. Its use is projected to decrease by roughly 50 percent in the next 100 years.

David Steward, professor of civil engineering, and Andrew Allen, civil engineering doctoral student, Manhattan, published those findings in the recent Agricultural Water Management study “Peak groundwater depletion in the High Plains Aquifer, projects from 1930 to 2110.” It is the first paper to look at and quantify peak aquifer depletion.

Researchers looked at the historic and projected future groundwater use rates of the eight states comprising the High Plains Aquifer. The aquifer runs under South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas — eight agriculturally important states. It provides 30 percent of the irrigated water for the nation’s agriculture and is pivotal in food production.

This latest study builds on the 2013 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study in which Steward and colleagues forecasted the future of the Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas. Researchers expanded their projections to include wells in Kansas that were both depleted and steady in their historic groundwater levels as well as the eight states that rely on the High Plains Aquifer. A total of 3,200 Kansas wells and 11,000 wells from the other seven states were studied to understand their water depletion processes.

Allen wrote the computer code necessary to analyze massive amounts of geographic information systems data about the more than 14,000 wells using the aquifer. A logistic equation was developed to apply more than 300,000 well measurements to create a historical record of its water level and also its projected water level through 2110.

“When we did the Kansas study, it really focused on those wells in Kansas that were depleting,” Steward said. “We came up with a set of projections that looked at how long the water would last and how the depletion process would play out over time. With this study, we wanted to learn how the depletion in various locations plays into a larger picture of the aquifer.”

Steward and Allen found that the High Plains Aquifer’s depletion followed a south to north progression, with its depletion peaking in 2006 for the entire High Plains Aquifer. Overall, researchers saw that some portions of the aquifer are depleting while others are not. Texas peaked in 1999, New Mexico in 2002, Kansas in 2010, Oklahoma in 2012 and Colorado is projected to peak in 2023. Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming are not projected to reach peaks before 2110.

“We are on a declining trend right now for water use in irrigated agriculture,” Steward said. “As we project what happens in the future following the existing water use patterns, the amount of depletion and the amount of water that comes out of the aquifer will decrease by about half over the next 100 years.”

Additionally, researchers saw that the water depletion rates for each state in the High Plains Aquifer follow a similar bell-shaped curve pattern as the one for oil depletion in the U.S. modeled by the Hubbert peak theory.

Pump photo via Kansas State University
Pump photo via Kansas State University

While water is a finite resource, Steward said the intent behind the study is not raise alarm, but rather encourage proactivity to manage and preserve this resource.

“This study helps add to the dialogue of how is it that we manage water and the effects of the choices that we make today,” Steward said. “It has the same kind of message of our previous paper, which is that our future is not set; it’s not cast. The projections we show are projections based on the data we have available that show the trends based on how we used water. People have the opportunities to make choices about the way that things are done, and the findings from this study help add to the dialogue.”

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the study. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Kansas Geological Survey contributed decades of information about the High Plains Aquifer and the Ogallala Aquifer for analysis.

Snowpack news: NW #Colorado is drying out with respect to the median, Yampa/White = 79%

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Snowpack: Here today, gone tomorrow?

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

A recent study finds that climate change means less water from melting snow. So what are we doing about it?

By Kim Unger

snowpack measure winter park Denver Water employees stationed in Winter Park take measurements of snowpack in 2014.

Denver Water’s extensive reservoir system helps us monitor water supplies, even as a new climate change study warns of a shrinking snowpack.

A recent study from the Earth Institute at Columbia University found that the snowpack in the Northern Hemisphere has a 67 percent risk of declining — greatly reducing the amount of drinking water available from that source.

The study focused on river basins that rely on snowpack and are not adequately replenished by rainwater. The study identified the Colorado River basin among those at high risk for greatly reduced snowpack in the future, when demand for water will outpace availability. The river provides water to seven states, including Colorado.

As worrisome…

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