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Old 03-15-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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Aurora's new water facility is taking a step in the right direction, part of a scheme to reuse water over and over, reducing reliance on snowmelt runoff and aquifers. The plant is coming in on-time and almost $200M under budget.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Seems like a great idea to me Mike, but the negaholics will find SOMETHING to complain about in regard to this risky scheme!
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
Seems like a great idea to me Mike, but the negaholics will find SOMETHING to complain about in regard to this risky scheme!
I'll rise to the bait. The only reason that Aurora has embraced this project is a result of their compadres in Arapahoe County getting their *** handed to them in court when Arapahoe County tried to claim water in the Upper Gunnison Basin for diversion. An old acquaintance of mine wrote the court decision that protected that water from that water grab, and his decision withstood a challenge all the way through the courts. Score one for the Western Slope. Too bad it took Arapahoe County getting **tch-slapped in order for Aurora to embrace reuse and conservation. Case here: http://www.loislaw.com/advsrny/docli...te=14+P.3d+325

Last edited by jazzlover; 03-15-2010 at 09:30 PM..
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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[3] "Specifically, we hold that the United States has an absolute decree for the Aspinall Unit water rights and has historically put the full decree to beneficial use."
- BOARD, COMM'RS v. CRYSTAL CREEK, 14 P.3d 325 (Colo. 2000)


I read part of that legal argument, and if doing so correctly it seems part of the determination in such things is whether the water rights holder is seen as using all their water "to a beneficial use." In other words, it may not be enough just to legally own one's water, but some argument in how it is best applied lest someone else attempt to steal it.

If so, this doesn't bode well for our native lands and waters, which often work best in being left alone, and more usually assigned last priority on the totem pole of 'progress.' But other inhabitants of this Earth use these resources, not only us. In any event, I welcome this court's decision. Hopefully Aurora will find recycling water works well, perhaps even in incentive inclined to use less overall.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
[3] "Specifically, we hold that the United States has an absolute decree for the Aspinall Unit water rights and has historically put the full decree to beneficial use."
- BOARD, COMM'RS v. CRYSTAL CREEK, 14 P.3d 325 (Colo. 2000)


I read part of that legal argument, and if doing so correctly it seems part of the determination in such things is whether the water rights holder is seen as using all their water "to a beneficial use." In other words, it may not be enough just to legally own one's water, but some argument in how it is best applied lest someone else attempt to steal it.

If so, this doesn't bode well for our native lands and waters, which often work best in being left alone, and more usually assigned last priority on the totem pole of 'progress.' But other inhabitants of this Earth use these resources, not only us. In any event, I welcome this court's decision. Hopefully Aurora will find recycling water works well, perhaps even in incentive inclined to use less overall.
You can have the best water right in the world in Colorado, but if you do not put the water to beneficial use, that right can eventually go on the abandonment list and be lost. That's Colorado water law, like it or not. There was great consternation among many water users, including the municipal water buffaloes, when the courts basically validated the Federal government's right to water to assure minimum streamflows--determining that did constitute a beneficial use.

What will really be interesting is when the Lower Basin states and Mexico file suit against the Upper Basin states of the Colorado River--and specifically those who have diverted the pure headwaters of many Colorado rivers to the Eastern Slope of Colorado--over the quality and not necessarily the quantity of water being delivered to the Lower Basin. It probably doesn't take genius to see who will win that one when the day comes--30 million thirsty Californians sick (maybe literally) from drinking contaminated river water from the Lower Colorado River vs. 3 million Front Range Coloradans whose municipal minions have been diverting the purest of the Colorado River Basin's water supplies to mostly water bluegrass along the Front Range.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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I know this wasn't your central point, Jazz, but I have a (rather earnest) question. How do we convince people to stop planting and sustaining bluegrass? Other than modifying our own behaviors, what can we do to discourage such practices and get people to understand the ways we are affecting both quantity and quality of water in Colorado? And how can we re-allocate that water so that we're not losing it under our own laws -- potentially the lower basin states? What can we do better?

Would be curious to hear anyone's suggestions or answers to the question(s).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
You can have the best water right in the world in Colorado, but if you do not put the water to beneficial use, that right can eventually go on the abandonment list and be lost. That's Colorado water law, like it or not. There was great consternation among many water users, including the municipal water buffaloes, when the courts basically validated the Federal government's right to water to assure minimum streamflows--determining that did constitute a beneficial use.

What will really be interesting is when the Lower Basin states and Mexico file suit against the Upper Basin states of the Colorado River--and specifically those who have diverted the pure headwaters of many Colorado rivers to the Eastern Slope of Colorado--over the quality and not necessarily the quantity of water being delivered to the Lower Basin. It probably doesn't take genius to see who will win that one when the day comes--30 million thirsty Californians sick (maybe literally) from drinking contaminated river water from the Lower Colorado River vs. 3 million Front Range Coloradans whose municipal minions have been diverting the purest of the Colorado River Basin's water supplies to mostly water bluegrass along the Front Range.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:47 AM
 
8,006 posts, read 15,624,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenkonami View Post
I know this wasn't your central point, Jazz, but I have a (rather earnest) question. How do we convince people to stop planting and sustaining bluegrass? Other than modifying our own behaviors, what can we do to discourage such practices and get people to understand the ways we are affecting both quantity and quality of water in Colorado? And how can we re-allocate that water so that we're not losing it under our own laws -- potentially the lower basin states? What can we do better?

Would be curious to hear anyone's suggestions or answers to the question(s).
My first suggestion would be to require that municipal water providers adopt progressive rate structures that increase water cost per 1,000 gallons rapidly as a customer uses more water. That would do more to encourage conservation than almost anything else. I would also suggest legislation that makes new water projects be funded by from the new growth they promote and the costs not be socialized upon existing ratepayers or the taxpayers in general.

There are not easy answers to the Upper Basin/Lower Basin issues. For decades, the Upper Basin states used less than their allocated share under the Colorado River Compact of 1922. That has changed--most all of the Upper Basin water is fully or even over-appropriated. Also, for most of those decades, the Lower Basin has used more than its allocated share. Both basins suffer from the fact that the allocation of acre-feet of water made back in 1922 was based on estimated flows that turned out to be quite over-optimistic. That has further complicated things. There have been some limited negotiations between the Upper and Lower Basin states, brokered by the Dept. of the Interior, that have at least broached some of the issues. Still, the Upper Basin states have much to fear if the Colorado River Compact is ever opened to full renegoiation. Simply stated, the Upper Basin states lack the political power to stop the overpopulated and thirsty Lower Basin states from claiming a bigger share of the Colorado River flows if the Compact was ever to be fully opened for renegotiation.

One sure thing, there is no "free" water left in the Colorado River Basin. To the extent that cities demand more water, it is going to come at the expense of streamflows, wetlands, and agriculture--simple as that. There are things that can be done at the margins with improved irrigation efficiency, more storage, etc. that can help make water use more efficient, but those things increasingly become an exercise of diminishing returns with ever-more unaffordable costs. Like so many other natural resource issues, we have reached a point that either the population size or our living standards are likely going to have to decline. We have run out of other choices.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:54 AM
 
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Here's a link on water usage in COLO. A few excerpts:
- Over 90% of water consumed through human activities in Colorado occurs in agriculture.
- Roughly half of municipal water deliveries in the summer are for landscape irrigation, particularly Kentucky blue grass.

ONLY 10% of the state's water goes to municipal users. Of that 10%, half is used for lawns, BUT that's only for half of the year, so I'd peg lawn sprinkling as only 3.33% of total statewide usage on an annual basis. Such low overall usage begs the question of why bother fussing and fuming about it. IMO it's not a big issue. If it becomes a real issue, we can cut down the amount of water used for lawns by changing HOA guidelines which now require X amount of grassy area, trees and shrubs. The state can issue guidelines that overrule HOA covenants and thus move towards more xeriscaping.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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Wink Water & climate

Having mentioned this before, I will again, namely that there will be even less overall water in the Colorado river for all to fight over in years to come. This is due our rapidly changing climate.

It could be my imagination, but it seems that the snow pack of north central Colorado is presently below normal, and apparently unlikely to improve much this year. In fact the snow is busy melting, and if memory serves the rivers here are beginning their noisy spring thaw earlier than before.

Next year could, will, be different. But the trend is not good.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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Article says that Pueblo reservoir is up quite a bit, will have to release billions of gallons of water starting 01 May. Article has a list of snow pack for major watersheds. Though statewide average was at 86% of normal, a major storm is now dumping in the high country.
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