- About WIP
- Participating Entities
- Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
- City of Durango Water Commission
- Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
- Dolores Water Conservancy District
- Florida Water Conservancy District
- La Plata Electric Association
- La Plata Water Conservancy District
- Mancos Conservation District
- Mancos Water Conservancy District
- Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD)
- Pine River Irrigation District
- San Juan Water Conservancy District
- Southwestern Water Conservation District
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- Regional Water Projects
- Animas River Stakeholders
- Animas-La Plata Project
- Cloud Seeding Program
- Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir)
- Dry Gulch Reservoir (Pending)
- Florida Project (Lemon Reservoir)
- Jackson Gulch Reservoir
- Long Hollow Reservoir
- Pine River Project (Vallecito Reservoir)
- Rio Blanco Restoration Project
- River Protection Work Group
- UMETCO (Urivan) Water Rights
- Water Information
- Contact WIP
Fall is finally providing some relief after a summer when drought sent half the counties in the United States into disaster status. Images of dry river beds, parched fields and kernel-less corn filled airwaves across the county. La Plata County saw those same images up close as the Animas River shrunk to near-record lows and crops shriveled in parched fields.
A century of water records show that 2002, the year of the Missionary Ridge Fire, was the driest in Southwest Colorado. But 2012 is close behind, in fourth place. Officials have 99 years of flow records for the Animas River, Rege Leach, the Colorado Division of Water Resources engineer in Durango, said Friday.
Six years after the city of Durango’s plan for a whitewater park spurred the creation of a multi-governmental water-use arrangement on the Animas River, La Plata County’s portion of that work is coming to fruition.
Like a good piece of sheet music, the Animas River has its A notes and D notes; its quarter, half and whole notes; its flats, sharps, tempo changes, staccatos, trills and accents. “Basically, a river is a sheet of music,” said Dave Eckenrode, a senior guide with Durango’s Mountain Waters Rafting.
The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a series of water releases Monday from Lake Nighthorse to test the outlet channel to the Animas River. Releases ranging from 15 to 150 cubic feet per second will show how well improvements to the natural stream – Basin Creek – and small check dams work. The total amount of water to be released won’t exceed 500 acre-feet.
Durango city officials hope residents will join them in making water rationing unnecessary this summer through conservation. “The most important thing is to have community awareness and involvement,” city Utilities Director Stephen Salka said Monday in briefing water commissioners about possible drought issues.
Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, toured an old mining area in the San Juan Mountains on Wednesday to familiarize himself with issues involving toxic mine drainage. Tipton spent three hours near Gladstone, now a ghost town, where four abandoned mines are spewing up to 800 gallons a minute of toxic waste into the Cement Creek, a tributary to the Animas River.
The Colorado landscape is looking pretty thirsty these days. Seventy-five percent of the state is under drought conditions, the snowpack is only 19 percent of its average, and forecasts predict the same situation or worse through August.
More restrooms, changing rooms and trash receptacles could go a long way toward improving the behavior of rafters, inner-tubers and others enjoying themselves on the Animas River, city officials said Monday. “We will create amenities so they will behave more legally,” said Cathy Metz, the director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The effort to stanch the toxic drainage from abandoned hardrock mines here no longer faces a takeover by the federal government. “We’ve heard loud and clear that you want a collaborative approach,” Martin Hesmark, acting assistant regional director of U.S.