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Old 05-19-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Agriculture is indeed a huge user of water. Not surprising--they're growing crops that evapotransporate at lot of water. Too, many ag people are still using unlined ditches and flood irrigation systems that are not efficient. They simple don't have the money to invest in more efficient systems.

Finally, when it comes to water rights, Colorado is a "use it or lose it" state. The state's water rights laws, which date back to statehood, actually can encourage inefficiency. If you don't use a water right for a specified period of time, it goes on the "abandonment list." Once abandoned, someone else can file on the right.

As I have posted earlier, Colorado water law is a gnarly business.
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fpbear View Post
Is there any region on the front range stretching from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs that has plentiful water, or is it all desert on this side of the moutains? How far west is the cutoff point where the snowfall and afternoon rain storms provide an unlimited native water supply?
There is no place in Colorado that has plentiful water: there are only places that have secured ample water supplies and have stable enough growth to not need additional water supplies.

As for the cutoff line, that's approximately the 100th meridian west -- that's the approximate line beyond which moist air from the Gulf of Mexico rarely travels. It's also roughly the dividing line between tallgrass and shortgrass prairie, and west of that line it is difficult to consistently farm without irrigation, even using dryland farming techniques. The 100th Meridian runs through central Nebraska and Western Kansas, and forms the border between the Texas Panhandle and the main portion of Oklahoma.
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tfox View Post
There is no place in Colorado that has plentiful water: there are only places that have secured ample water supplies and have stable enough growth to not need additional water supplies.

As for the cutoff line, that's approximately the 100th meridian west -- that's the approximate line beyond which moist air from the Gulf of Mexico rarely travels. It's also roughly the dividing line between tallgrass and shortgrass prairie, and west of that line it is difficult to consistently farm without irrigation, even using dryland farming techniques. The 100th Meridian runs through central Nebraska and Western Kansas, and forms the border between the Texas Panhandle and the main portion of Oklahoma.

So being that going for a property with septic/well-water is risk how about something like that in Golden colorado further up in the front range? Does Golden water come from the Denver Basin acquifer as well?
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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If you are talking about Golden's city water, most of it comes from the Clear Creek drainage. Rural Jefferson County is mostly on wells from several different acquifers. There has been a lot of controversy in rural Jefferson County about well problems--wells drying up, etc. There is a division of opinion as to whether that is being caused by excessive wells being permitted, an overall decline in acquifers due to the ongoing drought, or well spacing just being too close together. Combine those water problems with the continuing infestation of the ponderosa forests in rural Jefferson County with mountain pine beetle (making for some real fire-prone areas), and I find that area a very unattractive spot to own a home in the woods. I believe the Hayman fire of a few years ago in rural Jefferson County (as well as Park) is just a preview of coming attractions. You only have to see one of these big fires "blow up" once to put the fear of God into you about what they can do. I have--I sure wouldn't put everything I own (as well as my own safety) at the kind of peril.
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
If you are talking about Golden's city water, most of it comes from the Clear Creek drainage. Rural Jefferson County is mostly on wells from several different acquifers. There has been a lot of controversy in rural Jefferson County about well problems--wells drying up, etc. There is a division of opinion as to whether that is being caused by excessive wells being permitted, an overall decline in acquifers due to the ongoing drought, or well spacing just being too close together. Combine those water problems with the continuing infestation of the ponderosa forests in rural Jefferson County with mountain pine beetle (making for some real fire-prone areas), and I find that area a very unattractive spot to own a home in the woods. I believe the Hayman fire of a few years ago in rural Jefferson County (as well as Park) is just a preview of coming attractions. You only have to see one of these big fires "blow up" once to put the fear of God into you about what they can do. I have--I sure wouldn't put everything I own (as well as my own safety) at the kind of peril.
Jazz,

Thanks. Sound advice that I will heed. Coming from you that is good enough for me. It probably explains the home I saw online for such agreat rpice. Surrounded by pondeBullBoxer31 and well water. I think we will look more down in the Evergreen area/conifer for mountain homes
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:30 AM
 
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galaril,

The Evergreen/Conifer area also has the beetle-killed timber problems. Personally, there are subdivisions around that area that scare the hell out of me as far as fire goes. There have been major fires all around that area of rural Jefferson County in the last few years--Hayman and Buffalo Creek to name two.

Ponderosa pine forests are actually designed to burn. If fire is not artificially suppressed (which they have been for a century), fires will periodically burn through a ponderosa forest. The burns up the "duff" on the ground and a lot of the smaller trees. The bark of the bigger trees can withstand the fire and they survive. When fire is suppressed, however, the undergrowth builds up, and the smaller trees grow to compete with the larger ones. The overcrowding stresses the trees which makes them more susceptible to pine beetles. So, one now has a forest with a lot of underbrush, and dead or dying overcrowded trees. When that ignites, the fire can climb into the forest canopy ("crowning out" in forestry jargon) and you now have a fire that will burn everything in its path--big trees, little trees, houses, etc. If conditions are right, it will become a "mega-fire."

Unfortunately, fire HAS been suppressed most of the forests for a long time. The development of rural subdivisions in many of those areas has made fire suppression a continuing necessity. So, the "tinder box" just gets more flammable. The Evergreen area has--so far--dodged a direct hit of a mega-fire, but I sure wouldn't bet the farm that its luck holds out.

I have watched the forests in Colorado for over 50 years. Never in my life has there been so much dead and dying timber. Also, the last several years have, in total, been some of the driest that I can remember.

Last June, I was down around La Veta, Colorado. It was a very warm morning as I drove through the forest there. The forest smelled "ready to burn." I casually remarked to a friend that, "I'll be surprised if this forest isn't on fire by tonight." About 11 or so that morning, a tiny thundershower passed through the area. It only threw a few lightning strikes. One started a fire that mushroomed into several thousand acres in short order (named the Mato Vega fire by foresters), burned for a week or more, scorching 14,000 acres in the process.

A good document about the health of Colorado forests has been published on the web by Colorado State Forest Service. It can be accessed here:

http://csfs.colostate.edu/library/pdfs/fhr/06fhr.pdf (broken link)
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:59 AM
 
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Interesting read. I can see that buying a home anywhere in the front range forested areas is a big risk. I have also decided to rethink moving into the exurbi sprawl type communities that you had mentioned are killing the environment slowly. So wherever we live will be a seperate home out of the tract house/suburban areas probably. How is the the monument area and larkspur as for as the forests go? What type of trees do they consist of and is it similarly at risk for fire?
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:20 AM
 
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Monument and Larkspur are in the Ponderosa forest community. Just about all of the Front Range area between roughly 6,500 feet to around 8,000 feet is in the "montane" zone which includes a lot of ponderosa forest. Above that there is a lot of lodgepole (to around 9,000 to 10,000 feet in many areas), particularly north of the Palmer Divide (lodgepole is less common south of Colorado Springs). Lodgepole can be a true "fire" forest, since lodgepole cones won't open and release their seeds unless the cone's temperature exceeds something like 180 degrees. Thus, lodgepole forests tend to burn, reseed, grow up and burn again--a la Yellowstone in 1988. A forester friend of mine once quipped that there are only two kinds of lodgepole forests--the ones that are going to burn, and the ones that are burning.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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hey minute, it probably depends on the area and city council regulated. If you're looking for water, go live near tranquil Grand Lake (http://mtnlodging.com/grandlake.aspx - broken link). The tourism board's official page (http://www.grand-county.com/Grand_Lake.aspx - broken link) says it's the largest body of water in the state.

clo
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