Salida: Town hall meeting discusses water issues

March 25, 2015
Salida Colorado early 1900s

Salida Colorado early 1900s

From The Mountain Mail (J.D. Thomas):

State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) and Terry Scanga, general manager of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, hosted a town hall meeting to discuss water issues Sunday in city council chambers.
Scanga opened the meeting by describing changes in Colorado water plans since 2002.

He said in 2011 a gap analysis of the various water basins showed the Arkansas River Basin will have a projected shortage of 54,000 acre-feet per year by 2035 or 2040.

He said various water conservancy districts are looking into conservation, identifying projects and processes, alternative transportation methods of water and new water supplies.

Another option being considered is rotational land fallowing and water leasing, which would lease water rights for irrigation from a section of land and transfer it to a municipality temporarily, which would increase water to an area that is experiencing a population growth, he said.

An issue raised involved poor irrigation and watering practices by agricultural users, which Scanga said is difficult to compare to poor watering practices of lawns in a municipality.

Another attendee asked about worst-case scenarios for future water shortages. Scanga said water conservancy groups in Arizona and Nevada have already started preparing for worst-case scenarios and have begun offering monetary incentives for users taking less water than before.

Donovan said she had been to Paonia and Delta Saturday and Crested Butte and Salida Sunday as part of her town hall meetings to obtain comments and gauge concerns of local residents about water in their basins.
She said feedback gained from meetings such as the one in Salida will be used to take the voices of locals to Denver.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

2015 Colorado legislation: HB15-1225 (Federal Land Coordination) makes it through Senate Local Government Committee

March 25, 2015
Federal land and Indian reservations in Colorado

Federal land and Indian reservations in Colorado

From The Durango Herald (Peter Marcus):

House Bill 1225 – which already made its way through the House with overwhelming support – made it through the Senate Local Government Committee unanimously.

The legislation would require that the state assist local governments with coordinating with the federal government over land-use issues. Local governments would be able to apply for a grant through the Department of Local Affairs asking for technical assistance on such issues as drafting a memorandum of understanding.

“By driving it at the local government level, you have the communities who are impacted by the federal lands surrounding them, you have that flavor that local government brings to it,” said Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The bill comes as sportsmen and conservationists are calling on the Legislature to reject efforts that would transfer federal lands over to the state’s authority. They believe HB 1225, by requiring federal land coordination, is a way to keep lands public.

Sportsmen and conservationists held a rally at the Capitol in February opposing Senate Bill 39, which would allow Colorado to have some legislative and taxing authority over federal public lands. The federal government currently holds exclusive authority over its public land. SB 39 would allow Colorado to exercise authority along with the federal government.

Opponents say Senate Bill 39 is a slippery slope towards transferring federal lands over to the state’s authority, which they fear would result in a mismanagement of the lands acquired by the state. That could cut into the economic benefits Colorado gains from hunting, fishing and other outdoor tourism activities, critics said.

SB 39 has been delayed, as its sponsor, Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, works on a few issues. He said the purpose is simply to establish clear jurisdictional authority.

Lambert said lines are blurry in several instances, making it unclear who has the authority, either the federal government, or local jurisdictions. That could impact even criminal investigations, he said.

“What is now part of the state may still be under federal jurisdiction,” he said. “So, if there’s a crime committed there, the state may not be able to prosecute the crime because it’s a federal jurisdiction.”

Another measure addressing federal lands, Senate Bill 232, was introduced Monday. The bill would create a commission to study transferring public lands from the federal government to the state.

Roberts said her bill, HB 1225, has more to do with how to best coordinate when it comes to such issues as forest management, water rights and energy and other issues.

“As we struggle with poor forest health, energy development, water issues – all of this is recognizing that it hasn’t been a level playing field,” Roberts said. “The local governments could use some technical assistance … which is incredibly complex and often far removed.”

More 2015 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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

March 25, 2015


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

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

The economic impact of water — and how technology can help — Denver Business Journal

March 24, 2015

From the Denver Business Journal (Jack Brewer):

Water is a valuable resource and we need to understand the financial reality of failing to address its importance.

Across the world there are examples of degraded water systems, and it is essential that innovations come to the forefront of this issue and present viable options to address this resource.

According to the World Health Organization, addressing both water supply and sanitation would bring about significant economic benefits. For every $1 invested in water supply and sanitation, there’s an economic return of between $3 and $34, depending on the region…

Promising technology

As we have seen in the cholera outbreak in Haiti and Malawi, and the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, we are witnessing examples of nations across the world that have had their infrastructures devastated by natural disasters and epidemics. These diseases are increasingly difficult to treat in the face of poor sanitation and a lack of adequate drinking water. Technology needs to step up to be able to provide this basic human right to nations in need.

One such technology that is making great strides in this effort is the patented Plasma Arc Flow technology by MagneGas Corp. While many of the major wastewater treatment plants take years to construct, MagneGas is a portable, easily operated technology that can be used to process these waste streams in a highly efficient manner.

The beautiful benefit of this technology is that the water becomes completely sterilized, and can then be brought back into the system for sanitation or irrigation needs. The other byproducts of this process are a fertilizer substance (if treating municipal waste) and a high-performance gas that can be used for heating or cooking.

Take time to reflect on what we stand to lose if we ignore the issue of improper treatment of the water we rely on. How we treat the water that we use has a direct impact on our personal health as well as the health of the entire ecosystem.

More water treatment coverage here.

The @NOAA Spring Climate Outlook is hot off the presses

March 24, 2015

Water Values podcast: Behind the Headgates of Colorado’s Water Plan with CWCB Director James Eklund #COWaterPlan

March 24, 2015
Governor Hickenlooper and James Eklund at the roll out of the Colorado Water Plan December 11, 2014 via The Durango Herald

Governor Hickenlooper and James Eklund at the roll out of the Colorado Water Plan December 11, 2014 via The Durango Herald

Atlantic circulation weakens compared to last 1,000 years — Scientific American

March 24, 2015

Click here to read the article.


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