The federal under-reach on water

westernriverlaw

OK, so it’s been a while.  It appears my last post was in July 2015.  I would like to say I was out of contact that whole time–maybe a 57-week river trip–but I don’t have an excuse nearly that good.  I did spend a fine four months in Alberta (at the University of Lethbridge), learning about water law and policy issues in a part of Canada that shares many water management challenges with the western U.S.  And I have been spending a LOT of time thinking about reservoir operations in both countries; I will be writing more on that topic in this space, and if all goes well, it won’t take me another 13 months to do it.

One of the more notable moments of my past year was testifying before Congress.  In what has become something of an annual event, the House Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee (of the Natural Resources Committee)…

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New kids on the block — on tour!

Mile High Water Talk

I joined my fellow newbies to get a first-hand look at Denver Water’s collection system.

By Kristi Delynko

Employees board a pontoon boat and head out across Dillon Reservoir to see operations from the water. Employees board a pontoon boat and head out across Dillon Reservoir to see operations from the water.

Did you know the town of Dillon used to be located right underneath where Dillon Reservoir is today? Or that Williams Fork Dam’s hydroelectric plant generates enough electricity to help power the remote mountain communities that surround the reservoir?

These are just a few of the fun facts I learned last week on a tour of Dillon and Williams Fork reservoirs. Not everyone gets to see the inside of a hydroelectric plant, or go behind the scenes at a reservoir, but as a newbie at Denver Water, I was able to join 41 other employees to get a special look inside Denver Water’s operations.

Denver Water offers training programs and tours to help employees through…

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Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper eyes executive order on climate change

Summit County Citizens Voice

Is Colorado a hotspot for global warming? Is Colorado a hotspot for global warming?

Draft document highlights global warming threats to state

Staff Report

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says a “shifting climate” threatens many of the state’s vital industries, including skiing and agriculture, and he wants the state’s power plants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in the next 15 years from 2012 levels. The goals are outlined in a draft version of an executive order on mitigating and adapting to climate change, which spells out some specific threats of global warming that are already well-known, including:

  • Greater air pollution will lead to a more hospital admissions and increased cases of respiratory illness;
  • Changes in precipitation can adversely impact the amount and quality of Colorado’s water resources;
  • Changes in runoff patterns, intense precipitation, and rising temperatures can negatively affect food production and result in greater risk of food contamination and waterborne illness.

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Weekly Climate, Water and #Drought Assessment of the Upper #ColoradoRiver Basin #COriver

Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through August 21, 2016 via the <a href="http://climate.colostate.edu/~drought/">Colorado Climate Center</a>.
Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through August 21, 2016 via the Colorado Climate Center.

Click here to read the current assessment. Click here to go to the NIDIS website hosted by the Colorado Climate Center.

Not your average pledge drive: A revival on the river

Mile High Water Talk

Denver Water and Greenway Foundation team up to provide more water for fishing, farmers and fun on the South Platte.

By Steve Snyder

Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead announces a pledge drive for storage space in the Chatfield environmental pool at a Greenway Foundation event. Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead announces a pledge drive to add storage space in the Chatfield environmental pool at The Greenway Foundation’s Reception on the River event.

Denver, Colorado: the city by the river.

OK, nobody has ever actually said that. Denver isn’t known as “a river town,” like some other U.S. cities.

But Denver does have a storied history with one river in particular — the South Platte River. After all, it’s where the city was founded. Since then, the South Platte has been an important water source, a unique recreational amenity and occasionally, a devastating force of nature.

But the South Platte also has had its share of environmental and water quality challenges. So when Denver Water saw an opportunity to improve…

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Global warming started earlier than you think

Summit County Citizens Voice

New study suggests climate is very sensitive to greenhouse gases

Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies).

Staff Report

Although the rate of global warming has increased dramatically in the last few decades, a new study suggests that human activities have been driving climate change for the past 180 years. The findings suggest that global warming is not just a  20th century phenomenon, and that the climate system is, indeed, quite sensitive to the buildup of heat-trapping pollution.

The study was led by Nerilie Abram, of  The Australian National University, who  warming began during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution and started leaving a fingerprint in  the Arctic and tropical oceans around the 1830s…

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A rancher, a scientist, an angler and a conservationist walk into a room…

Your Water Colorado Blog

By Christina Medved, Watershed Education Director and Heather Lewin, Watershed Action Director at Roaring Fork Conservancy in Basalt, CO.

Mighty Mountains Spring at Mt Sopris Colorado. The Roaring Fork River is in the foreground and located just outside Carbondale CO. Credit: Steve Wiggins

A rancher, a scientist, an angler and a conservationist walk into a room… “Wait a minute,” you say, “I’ve heard this one before! Something about water being for fighting, right? Remind me the punchline again?” Well, this isn’t the same old story with the same old punchline. Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC), currently in its 20th year, is working with an empowered group of stakeholders to rewrite the story of water in the Roaring Fork Valley. The privilege of living with ready access to cold mountain streams, abundant trout, vibrant agriculture and spectacular scenery is one we do not take for granted which is why we continue to work…

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