Colorado

July 4, 2014--Web page urges Lake Nighthorse protest (Durango Herald)

A Facebook page is promoting a protest at Lake Nighthorse Saturday, but it’s unclear who is behind the page and if people will show up. The page said the goal of “Occupy Nighthorse” is to have Lake Nighthorse open to recreational use by residents.


July 3, 2014--Durango water rights in danger (Durango Herald)

State officials alerted the Durango City Council on Tuesday of two ballot initiatives that could impact the city’s water rights.


July 3, 2014--Drought disaster for S.W. Colorado (Durango Herald)

Severe drought conditions spurred the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue disaster designations for 10 counties throughout Southwest Colorado and San Luis Valley, including La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. The designations mean that local farmers and ranchers will be eligible for financial assistance from the Farm Service Agency.


Annual Children’s Water Festival

The 19th Annual Children’s Water Festival was successfully conducted on May 7, 2014 at Fort Lewis College. This was the largest festival to-date, with more than 900 fifth graders attending from 44 classes in the Dolores/San Juan River Basin. Classes came from Aztec, Bayfield, Cortez, Dolores, Dove Creek, Ignacio, Mancos, Pagosa Springs, and Silverton. More than 100 volunteers, in the form of student guides as well as presenters, made the festival possible. Most of the presenters represented area natural resources and water-related agencies. Thank you volunteers and the Southwestern Water Conservation District--the annual sponsor of the festival for an educational, fun, and successful day and event!


Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Training Workshop

Complete with a pair of bald eagles closely flying overhead, the 3rd Annual Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Training Workshop was successfully conducted June 26th and 27th in the Cortez/Dolores area. The workshop was partially funded with a grant from the SWCD. The Water Information Program cosponsored the event with Mountain Studies Institute and the San Juan Mountains Association. The workshop was well received by all participants, as one comment illustrates: “I have been to a lot of workshops, so I am really particular about the ones I choose to attend. Forests-to-Faucets was excellent. Well done.” The goal of the two day intensive, in-the-field workshop is to provide tools and resources for teachers to help them educate their students about various water issues and topics. The workshop qualified for one continuing education credit for educators from Adams State University, as well as 11 contact hours. Thank you everyone who participated and helped!


WIP’s Participating Entity, SWCD, Update

At their June 10th Board meeting the following grants were funded by the SWCD: 


Southwest Basin Roundtable

At their May Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, John McClow, Colorado Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission, gave a presentation on the history of the compacts guiding the administration of the Colorado River. John detailed the Lower Basin apportionment and Upper Basin compliance requirements resulting from these agreements, the sustained regional drought, and how the Law of the River has been adapted through the 2007 Interim Shortage Guidelines, and Minute 319 to temporarily address shortages. John explained the hydropower and operational impacts should Lake Powell’s elevation fall below the minimum power pool (see ‘Hydropower Production Threatened’ story under the water and energy section of this newsletter), and contingency plans currently being discussed to address those impacts. Roundtable members asked questions about the presentation. 


McElmo Flume

Flumes are a method to divert water to a desired location. In contrast to a ditch or trench, a flume is man-made channel for water, in the form of an open declined gravity chute whose walls are raised above the surrounding terrain. Most flumes were wooden troughs elevated on trestles, often following the natural contours of the land. In 1878 a ditch company was formed in Montezuma Valley for the purpose of diverting water from the Dolores River for agricultural irrigation purposes. Canals were dug and flumes were built, and by 1889 the project was complete. In April of 1888, the Montezuma Journal called the system, “…one of the greatest irrigation enterprises, not only in the state, but in the West.”


Goosing the West Slope

“The Western Slope needs to be goosed,” says Chris Treese, of CRWCD. “Frankly, the Front Range has led most of the water-conservation efforts in Colorado to date.” In an effort to rectify this, numerous mountains towns in Colorado are devoting more attention to water conservation and efficiency. Altogether, Colorado is talking more about efficiency and conservation and in Denver; three separate bills were introduced into the Colorado Legislature this winter.


Southwest Colorado Small-Scale Hydro

If you are interested in developing small-scale hydro projects in southwestern Colorado, particularly ditch drops and pressurized irrigation (including center pivots), visit the Colorado Small Hydropower Association website. At a workshop held in Durango on May 19th, it was clear there are many agricultural hydropower opportunities in southwestern Colorado, thanks in part to new federal and state incentives.


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