City water supply could be tested by climate change — The Aspen Daily News

Smuggler Mine back in the day via GregRulon.com
Smuggler Mine back in the day via GregRulon.com

From The Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):

If climate change renders the Western Slope warmer and drier, and if historic growth rates keep up, then Aspen’s water utility could have trouble meeting consumer demand without depleting minimum in-stream flows in Castle and Maroon creeks over the next 50 years.

Aspen City Council on Monday heard a presentation from consultants hired to evaluate the adequacy of the municipal water supply. Wilson Water Group put together a report forecasting demand and available supply over a 50-year outlook, and found that in the worst-case climate change scenario, the city could miss in-stream flow targets on Castle and Maroon creeks by between 4 and 9 cubic feet per second during the “irrigation months” of June through September.

The city has committed to a 13 cfs minimum flow in Castle Creek, and 14 cfs in Maroon. Both creeks are tapped to feed municipal needs through diversion structures that send water to Thomas Reservoir, a holding bay for the city’s treatment plant.

Even if the worst-case scenario projections come to pass in terms of climate change and population growth — demands on the city’s water system historically have risen by about 1.2 percent a year, according to special projects utilities engineer Phil Overeynder — the city has other ways to shore up its water supply.

One project that has been on the drawing board for years would pump treated wastewater uphill from the sanitation plant to irrigate the city’s golf course.

The city also controls three wells in town drawing from the local aquifer. If irrigation for city parks increasingly relied on those wells, then more water could be left in Castle and Maroon creeks.

Combined with more water conservation, or restrictions in drought years, depletion of in-stream flows could be avoided, consultants report.

City council agreed to adopt the 2016 Water Supply Availability Study, and continue monitoring hydrologic conditions.

Council also heard a presentation on Monday from another consultant that analyzed threats to the water supply and water quality. Given that Aspen’s water originates in high mountain valleys, wildfire poses perhaps the most imminent and hazardous threat. A bad fire in the Castle or Maroon watersheds could be detrimental to water quality in those streams, and subsequent mudslides could also cause problems.

There is also the abandoned Pitkin Iron Mine above Ashcroft that drains into Copper Creek, a Castle Creek tributary.

The Colorado Rural Water Association conducted a study for the city assessing the best ways to mitigate these threats.

Creating a buffer zone against wildfire near the diversion structures on Castle and Maroon creeks, while continuing to develop plans to limit wildfire debris flow into Thomas Reservoir, were among the study’s top recommendations.

More work to control erosion at the Pitkin Iron Mine site was also recommended. However, the consultant noted that the Pitkin Iron Mine did not make the list of the state’s 200 most pressing mine cleanup needs.

Denver: 20th Annual WateReuse Research Conference, May 22-24

Denver photo via Allen Best
Denver photo via Allen Best

From the Water Reuse Foundation website:

The latest research focused on helping communities develop resilient water supplies will be presented at the 20th Annual WateReuse Research Conference in Denver, CO on May 22-24, 2016. The Research Conference provides a unique opportunity for water professionals and researchers to interact, network, and discuss current research and future trends. This solutions focused event will provide water professionals and industry with tools to address water scarcity and sustainability challenges.

Click here to register.

WISE water project honored — Castle Rock News-Press

WISE Project map via Denver Water
WISE Project map via Denver Water

From the South Metro Water Supply Authority via The Castle Rock News-Press:

The South Metro [Water Supply] Authority received a 2016 Metro Vision Award from the Denver Regional Council of Governments for the WISE Partnership.

The Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership (WISE) is a regional water supply project between Aurora Water, Denver Water and members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. First conceived in 2008, the partnership combines water supplies and system capacities to create a sustainable new water supply for the region.

The WISE Partnership will benefit roughly 2 million people and it will bring a sustainable water supply to south metro communities. When water deliveries begin in early 2017, some of Colorado’s fastest-growing communities will be able to partially replace non-renewable groundwater.

DRCOG’s Metro Vision awards are presented to individuals and programs who contribute outstanding efforts to the Denver region and its communities, and to DRCOG’s programs and activities. The regional council has been honoring outstanding achievements for more than 30 years.

EPA Announces $3.3 Million in Funding for Water Reuse and Conservation Research/Research will measure health and ecological impacts of water conservation practices

Here’s the release from the Environmental Protection Agency (Cathy Milbourn):

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding to five institutions to research human and ecological health impacts associated with water reuse and conservation practices.

“Increasing demand for water resources is putting pressure on the finite supply of drinking water in some areas of the United States,” said Thomas A. Burke, EPA Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The research announced today will help us manage and make efficient use of the water supply in the long term.”

Water conservation practices that promote water reuse are becoming increasingly important, especially in the western United States, where factors such as climate change, extreme drought, and population growth are decreasing water availability. To help promote sustainable water reuse, this research will evaluate how reclaimed water applications such as drinking water reuse, replenishing groundwater, and irrigation can affect public and ecological health.

EPA announced these grants in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, which was held to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology.

The following institutions received funding through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program:

Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Alexandria, Va. to actively identify contaminant hotspots, assess the impact of those hotspots on human and ecological health, and quantify the impact of water reuse and management solutions.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Ill. to develop a new framework to understand how adaptive UV and solar-based disinfection systems reduce the persistence of viral pathogens in wastewater for sustainable reuse.

Utah State University, Logan, Utah to assess the impacts and benefits of stormwater harvesting using Managed Aquifer Recharge to develop new water supplies in arid western urban ecosystems.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nev. to quantify microbial risk and compare the sustainability of indirect and direct potable water reuse systems in the United States.

University of California Riverside, Riverside, Calif. to measure levels of contaminants of emerging concern in common vegetables and other food crops irrigated with treated wastewater, and to evaluate human dietary exposure.

More information on these grants is available at: https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/591/records_per_page/ALL

artificialrechargeusgs2011

Bureau of Reclamation Funding Opportunity for Water Reclamation Research Under Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program

Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.
Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.

Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation has made a new funding opportunity available for water entities in the Western United States to conduct water reclamation research under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program.

This cost-shared funding opportunity, available at http://www.grants.gov as opportunity number R16-FOA-DO-011, helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve water reuse facilities, or upgrade new facilities with state of the art technology.

It is expected that up to $2 million will be available for this funding opportunity. Research sponsors must provide 75 percent or more of the study costs.

Funding will be awarded in three categories. Funding group I will be for projects up to $75,000 per agreement for a research study up to 18 months; funding group II will be up to $150,000 per agreement for a research study up to 24 months; and funding group III will be up to $300,000 in federal funds for a research study that can be completed within 36 months.

State, regional, or local authorities; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; or other entities including water districts, wastewater districts, or rural water districts, will be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must be located within the 17 Western States or Hawaii. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on April 20, 2016.

Title XVI projects provide communities with a new source of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Title XVI supports the President’s “Climate Action Plan,” and the “Executive Order—Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.”

This funding opportunity is also an important part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program, which supports the White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation. For more information about Title XVI or Reclamation’s WaterSMART program, http://visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart.

Recycled water system celebrates 10 years

Mile High Water Talk

The Denver Water Recycling Plant, pictured here, celebrates a decade of service.  The Denver Water Recycling Plant, pictured here, celebrates a decade of service.

Water is a precious resource here in the West, much too precious to use just once. That’s why Denver Water started a program to treat and recycle wastewater. There are more than a dozen wastewater recycling programs in Colorado, and Denver Water operates the largest recycled water system in the state.

And, the system is celebrating a milestone birthday …

Recycled water system celebrates 10 years

By Ann Baker, Denver Water Communications and Marketing

When Denver Water’s recycled water system opened a decade ago, it distributed water through nine miles of pipe to 12 large water users.

Since then, the system has grown seven times that size, sending water through 65 miles of pipe to more than 80 customers, including parks and golf courses, the Denver Zoo, schools, homeowners associations and industrial complexes, and has plans to…

View original post 254 more words

Reuse: The WISE Partnership gets approval from the Denver Water Board

prairiewaterstreatment.jpg

From the Denver Business Journal:

Denver Water last week approved the WISE partnership agreement that clears the way for the utility to delivery treated water to the area’s southern suburbs.

Approval of WISE, which stands for Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency, formalizes the regional cooperative water project. The agreement calls for the permanent delivery of 72,250 acre-feet of treated water from Denver and Aurora to members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority (SMWSA).

SMWSA was formed in 2004 from the banding together of smaller water utilities in south Denver.
With the agreement now in place, some of the water that currently flows down the South Platte River and out of the state would be recaptured by Aurora’s 34-mile Prairie Waters Pipeline and pumped back to the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility near the Aurora Reservoir. There, the water would be treated and piped to the southern suburbs.

The water delivery will begin in 2016. Members of the SMWSA must have infrastructure in place to move the water from the purification facility. The cost of the water and infrastructure for its delivery is estimated at $250 million over the next 10 years. Each member will independently determine how to finance their share of the project.

The participating members of SMWSA are the town of Castle Rock, Dominion Water & Sanitation District, Stonegate Village Metropolitan District, Cottonwood Water & Sanitation District, Pinery Water and Wastewater District, Centennial Water & Sanitation District, Rangeview Metropolitan District, Parker Water & Sanitation District, Meridian Metropolitan District and Inverness Water & Sanitation District.

More WISE Partnership coverage here.