“Conservation without storage is not worthless but it’s close to it” — Eric Wilkinson

May 14, 2015

From The Greeley Tribune (Kayla Young):

The complexity, drama and careful planning behind Colorado’s water system took center stage Wednesday afternoon at the Union Colony Civic Center.

The Greeley Chamber of Commerce symposium, “Water: Yours? Mine? Ours?” began with “Water 101,” as panelists explained the ins and outs of Colorado’s management system, and wrapped up with pointed questions from attendees on some of Weld County’s largest water-use dilemmas.

Moderator Nicole Seltzer, executive director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, described the conversation as “moving upstream to downstream,” flowing throughout the diversity of topics and interests that influence resource management.

Harold Evans, chairman of the Greeley Water & Sewer Board, highlighted the challenge of preparing for a Colorado population expected to double by 2050 while maintaining the agricultural economy. Even with supplies flowing into Greeley from four river basins — the Poudre, Upper Colorado, Big Thompson and Laramie — Evans said much more work remains to be done. “We are fortunate to have forefathers who had the vision, courage and understanding of good water planning,” he said, emphasizing that water planners of the future will need to maintain the same dedication.

A message that resonated throughout panelist comments was a call for greater storage capacity and more efficiency in completing reservoir projects.

In years of heavy rainfall and high stream flows, Erik Wilkinson, general manager of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, said Colorado must take better advantage of storing supplies to prepare for times of drought,

“Conservation without storage is not worthless but it’s close to it. If you conserve the water, you have to have a place to store it,” Wilkinson said.

Evans and Wilkinson both attributed the lack of progress in reservoir projects in large part to long and complex federal permitting processes.

Evans pointed to the delays in expanding Seaman and Windy-Gap reservoirs, both sources of Greeley water storage, as prime examples of the lag in permitting.

“These projects are all going in excess of 10 years, and we still don’t have a permit on any of those projects,” Evans said.

During the session’s question-and-answer period, Pierce-based dairyman Charles Tucker turned the conversation toward the issue of agricultural buy-and-dry from municipalities. He described his hometown as “Thornton territory,” referring to the extensive purchase of agricultural water supplies by the Denver Metro-area city in the 1980s.

Seltzer asked the panelists if a silver lining could be found in the situation.

The panel at first struggled to answer the question, with Evans saying, “I don’t know if right now there is a silver lining.”

He later added that perhaps the silver lining is Colorado’s dedicated water planners that are working to address difficult questions.

Charles Bartlett, chairman for the Colorado Ag Water Alliance, said the future of agricultural supplies will depend on the industry’s ability to stay competitive.

“The best way to keep water in agriculture is to keep agriculture profitable,” he said.

For those struggling to find the value in maintaining stable supplies for agriculture, New Cache la Poudre Reservoir Co. manager Dale Trowbridge said we need look no further than our dinner plates. Trowbridge said the importance of Weld County agriculture and its water supply can be seen in Fagerberg onions, Hungenberg carrots, and Petrocco red cabbage, to name a few.

More education coverage here.


Poem: OUT HERE — Greg Hobbs/Emmett Jordan

May 10, 2015

Justice Hobbs was researching a future article about Emmett Jordan’s contributions to the success of the Colorado Water Foundation recently:

OUT HERE

(in celebration of Emmett Jordan and his foundational role in designing the publications of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education 2003-2015)

JordanFamilyrancheastofBriggsdaleColorado

Out here, on the high plains,

walteremmettcarriewyattjordangreghobbs

I marvel at the water trickle
a windmill flows,

windmillgreghobbs

All the possibilities,
all the dreams,
a hundred years or so—

tothsouthaforgottencemeterygreghobbs

To the south,
a forgotten cemetery

cowsnowgrazegreghobbs

cows now graze

claimsahandfulofnamelesshomesteaders

Claims a handful of
nameless homesteaders—

tothewestaditchgreghobbs

to the west, a ditch

That never carried
more than dreams
of irrigation bounty—

To the north, the waterless
Keota water tower—

keotawatertowergreghobbs

to the east, the ruined

Grasslands of
“Government Ground”
busted into lost 160s—

pawneebuttesgreghobbs

New directions
brittle foundations
squeezed from the planet—

pardonmyramblingsgreghobbs

Pardon my ramblings.
In the rhythm of the rivers,

emmettfirstheadwaters2003greghobbs

the west finds its most treasured experience.

Thank you, Emmett!

Poem “Out Here” by Greg Hobbs and Emmett Jordan published in Colorado Mother of Rivers, Water Poems (Colorado Foundation for Water Education 2005, designed by Emmett Jordan).  Photos by Greg Hobbs 5/3/2015


Greg Kernohan, 2015 Emerging Leader

May 7, 2015

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

THIS FRIDAY, May 8th, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education will celebrate water education and water leadership at its annual President’s Award Reception.  This year, CFWE will honor Greg Kernohan with the Emerging Leader Award, and Jim Lochhead with the President’s Award. Join the celebration. Register here to attend at 6 pm this Friday, May 8 at Space Gallery. We’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres, beverages, a famous game of “Wine Toss”, an art giveaway, a photo booth, and a fun evening with friends.

By Justice Greg Hobbs

Greg Kernohan helps farmers and cities address water needs while benefiting waterfowl. For more than 15 years, he has served as manager of conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited in Colorado. He has been both entrepreneurial and innovative in leading the South Platte Wetlands Focus Area Committee, managing the Union Mutual Ditch Company, and participating for the past 10 years as a member of the South Platte Basin…

View original 306 more words


The latest “Headwaters Pulse” newsletter is hot off the presses from the CFWE

April 30, 2015

headwaterspulsecover04152015

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Water scarcity and planning for Colorado’s future

Everyone is talking about water. California is in a drought crisis, Lake Powell is only 45 percent full, and in Colorado, though needed moisture has been falling over much of the state, anything could happen! Although it’s impossible to accurately predict the future, the immediate pressures of drought in the lower Colorado River Basin highlight the importance of preparedness. How can Colorado be ready for whatever the future brings?

Our winter issue of Headwaters takes a close look at the state water planning process’ inner workings, including why we need the plan now, what it took to complete a first draft as of December last year, and where we’ll likely need to go further to achieve success. Plus, we help you chart your water future—looking at elements like climate, population growth and social values that could change Colorado’s future (flip to page 16 of the magazine for this feature). Colorado’s Water Plan won’t be finalized until December 2015, so pick up, flip through or download your copy of Headwaters Winter 2015 issue today to see what we’re planning for.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.


Lawyer, Scholar, River Master: Jim Lochhead

April 30, 2015

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Next Friday, May 8th, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education will celebrate water education and water leadership at its annual President’s Award Reception.  Each year, CFWE bestows the President’s Award on an awardee who has a body of work in the field of water resources benefiting the Colorado public; a reputation among peers; a commitment to balanced and accurate information;  among other qualities. This year CFWE will honor Jim Lochhead with this award. Join the celebration. Register here to attend at 6 pm May 8 at Space Gallery. We’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres, beverages, a famous game of “Wine Toss”, an art giveaway, and a fun evening with friends.

By Justice Greg Hobbs

When I was young the waters sang of being here before I am,
of falling sweet and soft and slow to berry bog and high meadow.

Consider the geography of the Colorado River and Jim Lochhead. Arise each…

View original 1,062 more words


Is The Public Engaged When It Comes To Colorado’s Water Plan? — KUNC #COWaterPlan

April 7, 2015
Colorado Water Plan website screen shot November 1, 2013

Colorado Water Plan website screen shot November 1, 2013

From KUNC (Maeve Conran):

…despite an extensive education and outreach campaign, just how involved is the general public in planning Colorado’s water future?

Kate McIntire, the women in charge of public engagement and outreach for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said they’ve mostly relied on volunteers in a process that goes back 10 years when the Public Education, Participation and Outreach group was established. Later, McIntire said, they engaged the nine basin roundtables to help.

“This is really a grassroots process and so we never intended to or didn’t have millions of dollars to throw into reaching everyone across the state in terms of a more traditional advertising campaign,” said McIntire. “Spreading the word grass roots isn’t something that happens overnight.”

The Water Board received more than 15,000 comments directly and through the nine basin roundtables when creating the draft plan. That’s not enough for state Senator Ellen Roberts, a Republican from Durango. She still thinks there’s a lack of awareness amongst the general public.

“I think that’s the challenge that we saw here at the legislature,” said Roberts. “The Governor and the executive branch of the Colorado government has done a lot of outreach but it’s a topic that most people… all they really care about is when they get up in the morning does water come out of the shower, can they make their cup of coffee or cup of tea?”

In 2014 the senator co-sponsored a successful bill that called for more involvement by the legislature in water planning. That led to a series of public meetings in all the major river basins of Colorado.

“What we were trying to do with Senate Bill 14-115 [.pdf] last year was to go out to the more general public, the kind of people who show up at our town hall meetings, who maybe have no idea about Colorado water law or how complicated it is,” Roberts said. “They’re not following like the people on the basin roundtables.”

Theresa Connelly, a water advocate with Conservation Colorado, is heartened by what she sees as a growing awareness in water issues in the state, even if there’s a lack of awareness about an actual water plan.

“Folks may not know as much that there’s an actual state water plan going on, but folks are very aware of water issues that we’re facing,” she said.

But Connolly, like Senator Roberts, said the public outreach effort needs to be more inclusive. She cites the fact that many of the meetings were in the middle of the workday, which made it difficult for some to attend. People may not have time to attend a meeting, but maybe they’ve sent an email or a postcard, and those voices should also be heard.

“I think sometimes those small actions are disregarded as a form letter or something that isn’t truly meaningful and I think that that’s absolutely not true,” Connelly said.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board has received over 2000 comments in the first few months since the draft was submitted and adds all input received through May 1 will be considered in the second draft, said the board’s McIntire. She points out that the CWCB is responding to all comments received and those responses are available for public review.

“And all those responses are cataloged and available for review by anyone on our website.”

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.


The March 2015 “Headwaters Pulse” is hot off the presses from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education

March 25, 2015

headwaterspulse032015cfwe

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Now Available: Headwaters Magazine on Colorado’s Water Plan

It isn’t every day that concerned citizens, recreation planners, water professionals, elected officials, conservationists, farmers, business and industry leaders, and state agency staff in Colorado put their heads together to draft a state water plan. In fact, a comprehensive state plan for managing, distributing and conserving Colorado’s most precious natural resource has Never. Been. Done. Before. In this day and age, you don’t often get to say that about anything. The scope of the undertaking, combined with the disconcerting forecasts for what’s in store if Colorado doesn’t come up with a plan—and a good one at that—has made for an exciting couple of years for those involved, or even just observing, as Colorado’s Water Plan takes shape.

Depending on where you sit, the best or most challenging part of the whole process is that Coloradans of every stripe are invited to step up to the plate, take a seat at the table, grab a microphone, or dash off an email to provide input and feedback that those holding the wheel in shaping the plan’s content have committed to genuinely consider. Our winter issue of Headwaters, hot off the press, takes a close look at the state water planning process’ inner workings, including why we need the plan now, what it took to complete a first draft as of December last year, and where we’ll likely need to go further to achieve success. Plus, we help you chart your water future and explore how to get involved. Colorado’s Water Plan won’t be finalized until December 2015, so pick up or download your copy of Headwaters Winter 2015 issue today and get equipped to speak up. Bulk sales of additional copies for use in outreach activities are also available by contacting jennie@yourwatercolorado.org.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.


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