Winter 2009

Top Stories


Doris BrennanHaving served 12 years on the Animas-La Plata (ALP) Water Conservancy District Board of Directors, Doris Brennan stepped down from that position this past summer.

People & Organizations

Randy Seaholm

Randy SeaholmAfter more than 36 years working for state government, 33 of which were with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Randy Seaholm, Chief of the Water Supply Protection Division retired on November 6th.

La Plata Water Conservancy District--Long Hollow Update

The Long Hollow Reservoir (Reservoir) project took a significant step forward on October 23, 2009, when the Notice to Proceed was issued to GEI Consultants, Inc. to begin the design alternative study for the Reservoir.

La Plata West Water Authority Update

The La Plata West Water Authority (LPWWA) is starting to unveil a plan to the public to provide drinking water to the dry western side of La Plata County. At build-out in 20 to 40 years, the system would have 35 million gallons of water a day available for an estimated 8,100 taps. Thus far, a $5.7 million intake structure has been built on Lake Nighthorse.

Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD)

A conservation district is a policy-making body chartered by the General Assembly of Colorado to protect and develop the water resources within the district’s boundaries. Districts can hold water rights, fund water projects, litigate, and lobby for legislation. The necessary operating revenues for districts come from a mill levy established during the yearly budget cycle.

Interbasin Compact Committee and Southwest Basin Roundtable Update

The Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) was established in 2005 in response to a Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) study that showed an 18-percent “gap” in municipal water supplies by 2030. It proposed a grass-roots solution by forming basin roundtables after a $2 billion top-down funding proposal was soundly defeated by state voters in 2003.

Current Events

A Matter of 10,000 Acre-Feet

As many are aware, the Animas-La Plata (A-LP) project, which was authorized in 1968 through the Colorado River Basin Storage Project Act at 191,200 acre-feet (AF) of depletion[1], was reduced to 57,100 AF in 2000 as part as part of the Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act.

Dealing With Drought--Adapting to a Changing Climate

The Colorado Water Conservation Board, National Integrated Drought Information System, and Western Water Assessment conducted a series of three Dealing with Drought—Adapting to a Changing Climate workshops in October.

Water Quality / Conservation

United States Using Less Water Than 35 Years Ago

The United States is using less water than during the peak years of 1975 and 1980, according to water use estimates for 2005. Despite a 30 percent population increase during the past 25 years, overall water use has remained fairly stable according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report.

EPA Releases Final WaterSense Specification For New Homes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released its final WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification, creating the first national, voluntary specification for water-efficient new homes.

California Approves Retrofit on Resale Legislation

According to an article from the Alliance for Water Efficiency, if you buy a home, condo, or commercial property in California in the coming years water efficient toilets and urinals will be part of the deal.

Water Law

Father of Water Law--Delph Carpenter and the Colorado River Compact

Steve Harris, Harris Water Engineering, was kind enough to provide the following book review and comments on Delph Carpenter—father of water law and his legal work on the Colorado River Compact:

WIP News

Fourth Annual Water 101 Seminar Another Success

Similar to previous years, if workshop evaluations are any indication, the Fourth Annual Water 101 Seminar, held in Telluride on September 25th, was a resounding success. More than 65 participants attended to hear from a host of talented and diverse water experts on a variety of water-related topics.

New Educational Materials Available

The 20+WIP educational brochures continue to be re-designed and updated. Three: (a) Water Information Program, (b) Southwestern Water Conservation District, and (c) Water Conservation and Conservancy Districts were finished in 2007. Saving Water Indoors, Saving Water Outdoors, and San Juan Xeriscape were complete in 2008.

Water History

History of Water Conservation

As the ancients and natives would attest, water conservation theory has been around since the beginning of time. Most societies that deal with a limited resource learn to use it wisely. The Anasazi were perfect examples. As rain catchers and chasers, they were a culture of true conservationists.  

Miscellaneous Facts

Colorado Interstate Compacts

Why can’t Colorado use every drop of water that falls in the state? The following provides a list of interstate compacts that limit how much Colorado can use from each basin: