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Old 02-07-2007, 12:30 PM
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JG ... tfox is technically correct, but functionally ... most of the water in the North Platte heading toward Seminoe comes out of the Medicine Bow drainage within Wyoming.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:52 PM
Location: The 719
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The problem as I see it is that the birth rate slightly outnumbers the death rate right now....I don't believe anybody really has a clue what tomorrow will bring.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 02-07-2007 at 04:06 PM.. Reason: Remove off-topic remarks.
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:57 PM
Location: Colorado
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Originally Posted by tfox View Post

It likely will be a serious problem not just for Colorado, but for the nation as well. As you know, we're the only state in the lower 48 that must rely entirely on water sources within our own boundaries -- every other state has the option to steal water from elsewhere but we won't be able to do so. Believe me the scientists at NOAA in Boulder realize the risks we face.

As for how it will likely impact Colorado, I think you're going to see a race by municipalities in the next few decades to buy up farming water rights -- which will then make it less profitable to actually farm. As bidding wars over water increase, utilities and municipalities will pass on the costs to the consumers. It will be a long time before this impacts growth, however.

There's been a consistent lack of foresight into water resources in many areas. One of the most striking examples is the city-sized subdivision of Highlands Ranch, which relies primarily on a non-renewable supply of groundwater underneath the subdivision. Since a municipality is not legally allowed to continue to pump groundwater when it starts impacting the water table of adjacent communities, Highlands Ranch essentially has a finite amount of time until its water supplies drop to a very low level (it does have some claim on South Platte River water as well, but only as a secondary source). If I were running Highlands Ranch or other communities in the same boat, I'd straightaway start bidding for farming water rights because these rights are going to get really expensive some day.

More trivia for all --Colorado and only ONE other state in whole 50 states only have water running out. None in,------Hawaii is the only other. Nadine

Last edited by Nadine; 02-08-2007 at 07:58 PM.. Reason: Forgot my name
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:03 AM
Location: Colorado
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Default Water Shortage In Colorado?

Can anyone tell me about the water shortage in CO?
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:25 PM
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lookingup ... there is a functional water deficiency in Colorado due to population growth in certain areas outstripping available supplies.

Many municipalities or developments do not have adequate water suply or storage for the people they serve to use water indiscriminately.

Coming from areas of the country at lower elevations where water is abundant, and Kentucky bluegrass lawns are in everybody's yard, and you can wash your car all the time and hose down the driveway and sidewalks to clean them and there's still water in the lakes and streams, or in the ground to pump out ... well, it's quite different in Colorado.

We don't get anywhere near the rainfall total you might expect. Most of the state's water comes from the winter snowstorms and subsequent snow melt which feeds surface and ground water. Surface water is captured in resevoirs for later use through the year, but Colorado has agreements with downstream states to allow substantial amounts of water to flow in the rivers to supply those states.

In drought year cycles, like Colorado has been in for a few years now, there simply isn't enough water to go around for domestic, industrial, and agricultural uses.

The net effect is that you should be careful about where you buy in Colorado, as the area may or may not have enough water to supply your domestic needs. There's been some water districts where people had to truck in domestic water in recent years, or been very close to running out of water and had to severely restrict water use and consumption.

Does this help you understand the general nature of the problem? Or, are there other concerns?
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:39 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado
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here's 2 cents from a Colorado native. My family arrived in 1963 and i've lived all over the front range and western Colorado. Anyone who was here "back then" will agree with me that the weather patterns have changed enormously. Winters used to begin in mid October and we would get snow clear through May. It would snow gently every few days, and then of course the sun would come out and melt most of it. It seems now the snow doesn't even begin falling until January, and when it does, it hemorrhages...dumping 3' or more in one storm. Natural cycles or human activity induced?

I haven't seen Al Gore's movie yet. But just a bit of research reveals the almost exponential global population explosion that has occurred in the last 20 years or so. It's mind boggling to think that 75 million people are being added to the earth every year since 2000 (according to pbs.org NOVA website). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this rate is not sustainable.
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:17 PM
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Which areas of Colorado are experiencing water shortages? Or can you tell me where I can find this information? TIA.
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:26 PM
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The whole state is now experiencing a drought cycle, despite several major snowstorms.

If you look at the data on stream flows, levels in reservoirs, you'll see the areas where the problems remain most severe. The state publishes snowpack and moisture levels, and you can check them in the Denver newspapers, among many other sources for this information.

I moved to Colorado in 1964, and have seen several "normal" cycles of moisture ... running around 7-9 years duration, alternating with 7-9 "drought" years of below normal moisture totals. Some cycles/years, we had endless skiing in boot deep powder every morning throughout the season, and some years ... we were looking for snow to cover the ground in December and January. We even sailed on Dillon reservoir on Jan 1st a few times. To say that the climate cycle is completely changed to dumps/drought now from prior years abundant & consistent moisture is not corrrect. We're only seeing a repeat of historic and well documented moisture cycles in the region.

For the most part, the cities that bought up water rights in the 1800's (like Denver), are the ones with the most adequate water availability (including surface water, storage, and treatment plant capacity). It's taken a long time before they needed to develop all their water resources, but population growth has forced the issue.

Towns or water systems that have marginal availability are at risk; when you look at an area for a home purchase, ask the local water supplier/district what their outlook is for water supply and delivery.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:36 PM
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I don't know of any one source in which you can get a comparative survey of the water situation in each municipality. If anyone finds one, I think it'd be really interesting to look at it.

As a rule of thumb, a community that has been around for a long time (100+ years) AND is stable in terms of population usually has ample water supplies for the foreseeable future. Examples would be areas within the limits of cities/towns like Denver, Fort Collins, and Pueblo. Places that may (though not necessarily) have problems tend to be newer towns, subdivisions in unincorporated areas, and towns that have grown rapidly and/or are projected to grow rapidly.

I would suggest you research the community in which you plan to settle and find out their water supplies, availability, reservoir usage, and water growth plan (if any). Beware of any community that relies too heavily on groundwater for supplies, as future water shortages are virtually guaranteed in a situation like that.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:49 PM
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tfox ... refer to the USGS web site for Colorado water flows and drought updates: http//co.water.usgs.gov/

a complete reporting and links to stream flows, water tables, drought assessment, and comparative charts of historical data, in some cases a century worth of data base.

we also use this site to report virtually live in-stream flow data for rafting.

even with the extreme snowstorm in SE Colorado this season, the reporting stream flows are in a drought condition compared to historic levels. this may change, of course, when all the snow gets melting off.
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