2016 #coleg: Rain barrels soon legal in #Colorado — The Colorado Springs Gazette

Photo from the Colorado Independent.
Photo from the Colorado Independent.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Joan Nusbaum):

With the approach of legal use of rainwater collection on August 10th, Colorado residents are asking a lot of questions. Before you try reading the actual legislation, we’ll cover some of the basics.

New laws allow for the collection and storage of rainwater for use on the property from which it is collected. Specifically, this water is to be used for outdoor purposes, including the watering of lawns, plants and/or outdoor gardens. It excludes human consumption, filling hot tubs, and providing water for animals, along with a few other uses.

Two laws were enacted which establish allowances for the limited collection of rainwater from rooftops of residential dwellings. It’s important to follow the restrictions before you use rain barrels legally in Colorado. These two laws are HB16-1005, which speaks to the city homeowner, and SB09-080, which applies to the rural resident that qualifies for exempt wells. More information about these laws can be found in the publication http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/natural-resources/rainwater-collection-colorado-6-707/.

#Colorado awards 1st grants for collaborations with Israeli companies — @9News

Subsurface irrigation via NETAFIM
Subsurface irrigation via NETAFIM

From the Denver Business Journal via 9News.com:

Colorado Economic Development Commission members offered the first three matching grants on Wednesday to companies participating in a new program that helps to fund research-and-development projects if they are working collaboratively with businesses or universities located in Israel.

Announced in April, the program comes from a close relationship that Gov. John Hickenlooper has developed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through several visits overseas in recent years. It’s meant to foster even deeper work between companies working on advanced-industry projects in areas such as technology and water conservation.

Rain barrel workshop Aug. 2 — The Pueblo Chieftain

Rain barrel schematic
Rain barrel schematic

From Colorado State University via The Pueblo Chieftain:

Colorado State University Extension will offer the Yard and Garden Series, Rain Barrel Workshop scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 2 at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, 31717 E. United Ave.

The cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple sharing materials.

The workshop will include learning about the new rain barrel law, how to use rainwater in your landscape and how to make your own rain barrel.

Register by mail with check payment, payable to Extension Program Fund, 701 Court St., Suite C, Pueblo, CO 81003 or in person with cash or check payment at the extension office at 701 Court St. Participants also may register online through Eventbrite, http://pueblo.colostate.edu/hor/upcoming-rain.shtml, payable by credit/debit card.

Preregistration with payment is required by July 26. No walk-ins accepted. Seating is limited.

For more information, call 583-6566.

New seven-year water #conservation plan to be reviewed Tuesday by the Montrose City Council

View along Main Street in early Montrose (between 1905 and 1915). Shows a horse-drawn carriage, bicycles, and two men talking. Signs include: "The Humphries  Mercantile Co. Dry Goods, Clothing, Hats & Shoes" "Montrose National Bank" and C. J. Getz, Pharmacist, Druggist." via http://photoswest.org
View along Main Street in early Montrose (between 1905 and 1915). Shows a horse-drawn carriage, bicycles, and two men talking. Signs include: “The Humphries
Mercantile Co. Dry Goods, Clothing, Hats & Shoes” “Montrose National Bank” and C. J. Getz, Pharmacist, Druggist.” via http://photoswest.org

From The Montrose Daily Press:

Montrose City Council will consider the 182-page document at its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Public comment will be accepted and following the hearing, a resolution to adopt the plan may be considered.

Drawing the plan began shortly after the Colorado Water Conservation Board determined each public entity distributing 2,000 acre-feet per year or more of water to encourage efficient use of water, according to city documents provided in Tuesday’s council agenda packet.

In the document, the city spells out how the plan will be implemented, monitored, reviewed and revised over the next seven years. It also estimates how much water will be conserved by implementing the plan.

“The goal of the City of Montrose Water Conservation Plan is to increase the efficient use of water throughout the city by identifying challenges and methods for overcoming each,” an executive summary of the plan says…

A complete copy of the plan is available at http://www.cityofmontrose.org/300/Water.

Urban Water Conservation Through Native Landscaping. A Colorado River Day Webinar — Audubon

Photo via Audubon (Abby Burke).
Photo via Audubon (Abby Burke).

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register. From the website:

You Can Help Rivers: Create Habitat!

Urban Water Conservation Through Native Landscaping. A Colorado River Day Webinar.
Thursday, July 21, Noon – 1 p.m. MT
Register here.

Co-presented by:
Abby Burk, Western Rivers Program Lead, Audubon Rockies
Don Ireland, Habitat Hero Award Winner and Volunteer HOA President, Cherry Creek 3

Did you know native landscaping can save both significant water and money? When we say significant, we mean it! Find out how a neighborhood in southeast Denver saved 15 million gallons of water and $100,000 annually by transforming to native landscaping and incorporating water efficiency into everyday life.

The Cherry Creek 3 Homeowner’s Association (HOA) won the 2015 Colorado WaterWise Conservation Award for their efforts! HOA Volunteer President Don Ireland will talk about how he and fellow volunteers led this 251-condo development into a new era of water conservation while simultaneously establishing a new landscaping plan that has attracted many new birds and pollinators into the neighborhood. This HOA, without formal training in water conservation but with a burning desire to “do the right thing,” has been a poster child for water conservation and Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Hero program around the Front Range and beyond.

Register for this webinar today.

You may also be interested in these upcoming webinars from Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network:

  • Wednesday, July 20, 1 – 2 p.m. MT: Lake Mead Structural Deficit and Why it Matters
    Presented by Kevin Moran, Senior Director of Water Programs, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Wednesday, August 7, 1 – 2 p.m. MT: Diversity and Inclusion in Conservation and Advocacy
    Presented by Chandra Taylor Smith, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, National Audubon Society
  • Wednesday, September 21, 1 – 2 p.m. MT: River Funding and Restoration Efforts
    Presented by Jennifer Pitt, Director – Colorado River Project, National Audubon Society and Scott Deeny, Arizona Water Program Lead, The Nature Conservancy
  • #COWaterPlan: Colorado Ag Water Alliance workshop recap — The Fort Morgan Times

    South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia
    South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

    Here’s part one of a recap of the meeting in Brush yesterday from Stephanie Alderton writing for The Fort Morgan Times:

    The Colorado Ag Water Alliance, along with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the Colorado Water Institute, hosted a three-hour workshop for producers to help explain the new Water Plan’s application to agriculture. Speakers with various roles in water and agriculture talked about the new state plan’s emphasis on alternative transfer methods (ATMs) to conserve water, how the plan will be implemented in the South Platte Basin in particular and how farmers can increase water efficiency. People came from all over the state to hear and discuss details in the plan.

    “A good Colorado plan needs a good South Platte plan,” Joe Frank, of the South Platte Basin Roundtable, said. “Nine out of the top 10 ag producing counties are in this basin.”

    During his talk, the first of the day, he explained that the area has an increasing water supply gap as the population grows, which the Water Plan seeks to address. Frank’s group is in charge of implementing the plan in South Platte by coming up with a balanced, pragmatic program for farmers that is consistent with Colorado law. He said that program will focus on maximizing the use of existing water, encouraging farmers and other organizations to use ATMs in order to share water more effectively and promoting multi-purpose water storage projects, among other things.

    Mike Applegate, of the Northern Water Board, talked about the status of current storage projects all over the state, while MaryLou Smith of Colorado State University gave a list of reasons why producers should want to use their water differently in an effort to conserve more. Phil Brink, of the CCA, reported the results of a survey on farmers’ opinions of ag water leasing, while Dick Wolfe, an engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources, explained the problems with the “use it or lose it” mentality farmers tend to have toward their water rights. John Schweizer, a producer from the Arkansas Basin, talked about the success of the Super Ditch near his hometown, an ATM project that recently started seeing results. After a final panel made up of people involved in various ATM projects, including Morgan County dairy farmer Chris Kraft, the audience spent more than an hour trading questions and comments with the speakers.

    The purpose of the workshop, according to a CAWA press release put out beforehand, was to bring people together to discuss the “opportunities and barriers” the Water Plan presents. The speakers in the second half of the day presented many opportunities in the form of ATMs and other projects. For example, Schweizer said the Super Ditch, though it’s taken many years to be completed, has the potential to help many farmers conserve water without new legislation or complicated water rights battles.

    “We’ve had a lot of people say this wouldn’t work,” he said. “We’re starting to prove them wrong…I see nothing but a glorious future for this project.”

    But it was clear that many people at the workshop saw many remaining obstacles to water efficiency. During the question and answer session at the end, several people pointed out that, while ATMs can make it easier for farmers and other organizations to share water, they can’t solve the problem of water shortages by themselves.

    “We are concerned that the state Water Plan talks so much about these ATMs, and a lot of policy makers around the state are counting on them,” Smith said while moderating the discussion. “Part of what we want to do is get the message of what you guys are saying back to some of those policy makers.”

    #COWaterPlan: Pueblo area lawmakers weigh in

    Photo via the Colorado Independent
    Photo via the Colorado Independent

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Colorado’s Water Plan was ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013, and completed last year by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

    It built on 10 years of efforts by nine basin roundtables and the Interbasin Compact Committee, a 26-member panel representing diverse political and geographic areas across the state.

    One hiccup in the plan came in 2014, when some members of the state Legislature demanded a more active role, perhaps ignoring that the engine driving the train was conceived and constructed by lawmakers in 2005. In the end, most lawmakers have concrete ideas on how to move the plan ahead in years to come in a cooperative way.

    In the final plan, the emphasis is on both state and local responses to water needs, it calls for new revenue — $3 billion by 2050 — which will certainly require cooperation from the Legislature. Sprinkled throughout the plan are recommended regulatory changes as well, all of concern to lawmakers.

    The Pueblo Chieftain, working with the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, reached out to state lawmakers from the Pueblo area to get their ideas on how the water plan will be implemented. Responding were Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo; Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa; Rep. Clarice Navarro, RPueblo; and Rep. Daneya Esgar, DPueblo.

    How do we fill the gap in the Arkansas River Basin within the Colorado Water Plan and Basin Implementation Plan?

    Garcia:

    “It depends on the basin, because each one is different.

    “As I talk to my colleagues, everyone has a unique perspective in the state Legislature. I think there’s a lot to be celebrated. The state has put forward a good plan, but it’s a challenge because each basin is different.”

    Crowder:

    “With a projected population of 10 million people in 2050, Colorado’s Water Plan attempts to study and prepare for the future. Since agriculture uses 86 percent of the state’s water, the pressure for transfer will increase. A 560,000 acre-foot shortage is predicted by 2030 for municipal and industrial uses. Conservation, storage, transfers, and other issues are an ongoing discussion.

    Recreation in this state is estimated at $7 billion-8 billion per year on nonconsumptive use of our water. . . .

    “There are issues in which need continuing monitoring such as, in 2013 alone, more than 13,500 acre-feet of water was lost in Denver, Aurora and Colorado Springs due to faulty infrastructure. Broken water mains, leakage, malfunctioning meters and waste caused nearly 4 billion gallons of water to be lost before it ever reached these cities’ 2.1 million residents. . . .

    Therefore, it is my strong belief that upgrading the metro areas’ antique water delivery systems is the better way to ensure urban residents have an adequate water supply.”

    Navarro:

    “The water plan talks about three main objectives which will all help meet the gap between our current water supply and our projected need. Efficiency is one of those components and we, indeed, need to get better at efficiency.

    Conservation is another component which would help. Everyone needs to be aware of how to better use their water.

    “For example, when people are watering their yards or businesses we shouldn’t see water running down pavement.

    The third component is storage. We can become more efficient, and we can conserve, but if we have no place to keep that water for future needs, we have done it all in vain. Although new storage is an option, so is expanding existing storage and we should not forget about underground storage. All three are key to meet our future water needs.”

    Esgar:

    “I’m not sure that we will ever ‘fill’ the gap in the Arkansas River Basin. The water in the basin is already spoken for and appropriated, and the population of Colorado just continues to climb. I’m not convinced that we will ever be able to fill the supply of water that we need to sustain this growing population, so we must find ways to keep the water we do have, and to keep the gap from spreading even more.

    “We need to be creative and diligent when it comes to the Arkansas River Basin. We need to be able to find innovative ways to conserve, store and repurpose the water we do have in our basin.

    “One of the ways I’ve heard to accomplish this goal is to really look at responsible storage and flow for the entire area.

    Agriculture depends on the water for farms and livestock, consumers depend on the water for their gardens and lawns, and our economy and Colorado lifestyles depend on the water for recreation throughout the entire Arkansas River Basin.”

    What projects do you plan to fill the gap?

    Garcia:

    “Every approach will depend on the basin, and I don’t have any specific projects in mind. It will take a robust conversation.

    In general, I would say we need to look at fixing the gap when it’s smaller, because that’s easier than watching it grow.

    “I was talking to someone about the evaporative losses in Lake Pueblo. I’m a big fan of the reservoir and it’s no secret I use it to go fishing and boating with my boys and wife.

    Lake Pueblo is a unique community gem that’s a destination for the entire state of Colorado.

    “People take for granted the valuable resource we have and we need to be prepared so we don’t lose it to other uses. I think increasing storage could be a huge economic benefit.”

    Crowder:

    “It may easier to expand existing storage capabilities than creating new storage, and this is being looked at under the plan. I would like to see how the mitigation of Fountain Creek by Colorado Springs is going to prevent the devastation to the Arkansas River.

    “Transferring water out of the basin is certainly not in the area’s best interest. A continuation of funding in water conservation districts is imperative under the circumstances.

    Navarro:

    “There are a number of opportunities for efficiency and conservation projects that can, and should be used by residents as well as businesses. Those would not only help with the water shortages, but it would also save money.

    Many people are already realizing the benefits of xeriscaping and droughtresistant lawns, and as others see the results, the trend will be to do the same.

    “When it comes to projects regarding storage, there are a number of small projects that have been talked about for years. Our basin roundtable is already talking about which options may be best to try and move forward on, and as to how to incentivize efficiencies and conservation. They are the experts and I will listen to them on how to best prioritize our water gap.

    Esgar:

    “As a state representative, I plan to work closely with the experts on water in Colorado, farmers, ranchers, and the conservation community to find the right projects to help stop the gap from getting bigger for the Arkansas River Basin. We have to have honest conversations and collaboration to keep the water in our basin.”

    How do we keep the gaps for agriculture and municipalities from becoming bigger?

    Garcia:

    “Agriculture has a big target on its back, and I don’t think people appreciate the benefit it has to downstream users. We need a regional approach that involves the entire basin.

    Crowder:

    “Snowpack is always the predominate issue. “1. Municipalities need to make sure that their replacement decrees are in place to adequately serve their purposes. Inhouse water will always be available, but domestic use may not “2. Technology and advanced water practices for consumptive use should be studied and implemented.

    “3. The conduit should be promoted for better quality water needs and conservation.

    “4. The number one water right should be protected and that is the interstate compact.

    “5. The prior appropriation rule of law for Colorado users should be adhered to.

    “6. Updating canal by-laws is a very useful tool in protecting water transfers.”

    Navarro:

    “The water plan outlined those problems and those three main ideas are important for both agriculture and municipalities. Water storage needs to be that leveling factor to help us keep the water that we are entitled to use. When the river runs high, we need to keep that water so that we can use it when the river is limited.

    It makes absolutely no sense to send extra water to Kansas when we have needs here.

    “While agriculture has led the charge in becoming more efficient, they will need to find ways to produce more with less.

    Incidentally, agriculture has done that very well over the last century.

    Municipalities have also done a good job at creating incentives and finding ways to be more efficient. However, both will need to do even more in the future to meet the growing demands.”

    Esgar:

    ”We need to depend on science to help us better use water that is allocated to Colorado’s important agricultural needs. As water shortages across America continue, there will be new and innovative ways to water crops and livestock. Colorado needs to be sure that we really look and see if these new methods could work here.

    “When it comes to municipalities, we need to do a better job of educating consumers when it comes to conservation.

    Folks didn’t completely understand why the rain barrel bill was so important to me. The simple tool of a 55-gallon barrel that collects rain that would have ran directly to the gutter, helps people understand how much water they may actually be consuming. Also, we need to be innovative when it comes to landscaping. I know that Coloradoans love their lawns, I do, too, but we have to have real conversations about more water-conscious ways to landscape our beautiful neighborhoods.”