October 5th, 2015

What is Reservoir Turnover?

A turnover is when water basically flips in a body of water. Turnovers in reservoirs are from temperature stratifications and can cause taste and odor issues with the water. A turnover can be caused by high temperatures during the day and low temps at night, such as what southwest Colorado experienced in August at both the Vallecito and Town of Bayfield reservoirs. They also can take place later in the fall or early in the spring when air temperatures match the water temperature. When the surface temperature of the water cools below 50 degrees, the water on the top grows heavier, so it goes down to the bottom of the reservoir, and the water on the bottom rises to the top.

Colorado River History

The Colorado River was once called the Grand River, and nearly 100 years ago, on July 25, 2012, Congressman Edward Taylor helped to persuade Congress to officially change the river’s name to what it is now. As Taylor stated of the Grand River, it is "a meaningless misnomer because practically everything in Colorado is grand."

The Great Divide Film Debut and Southwest Colorado Showings

The debut of the much anticipated film The Great Divide occurred on August in Denver. There were more than 600 people in attendance and all proceeds went toward the purchase of a DVD copy of the film for every public library in Colorado. Understatedly, the film, with its wonderful cinematography and original music, was well received not only at the premier but with multiple viewings across the state. In southwest Colorado a showing on September 9th in Cortez yielded more than 100 attendees, September 10th in Durango nearly 200, and September 12th in Pagosa Springs over 100.

Water 101 Seminar

The 9th Annual Water 101 Seminar was conducted in Bayfield this year and was another success. Including presenters there were over 60 in attendance.

Pilot October 23rd Water and Land Use Planning Session (Durango, CO)

The pressures of reduced water supplies intersecting with increased population and the need for adequate housing are prompting a more urgent look at the water and land use planning connection. To these ends there will be a pilot water and land use planning work session for land use planners, water utility personnel, local government officials, and other interested parties on October 23rd from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the La Plata County Administration Building (1101 East 2nd Avenue in Durango).

Book Review: The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi, 2015

The following book review is provided by Laura Spann, with the SWCD:

What would happen if the American Southwest experienced a prolonged drought in the very near future? How would the metropolitan water managers of Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles respond? What does compact curtailment look like in a world where water is not just power but survival? From our distant worries, Paolo Bacigalupi extrapolates an apocalyptic future in which the Southern Nevada Water Authority “water witch” Catherine Case will do anything--including sending hitmen and air attacks on water treatment plants--to ensure no junior users get a drop more than their water rights dictate. Blue Mesa Dam is bombed by Lower Basin water magnates, annihilating the Aspinall Unit, flooding Delta, and sending the State of Colorado’s allocation downstream. Nothing is off limits.

WIP’s Participating Entity, SWCD, Update

At their June 9th Board meeting the following 9 grants were funded by the SWCD:

USGS Study Points to Fracking’s Thirst

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in partnership with the American Geophysical Union, indicates that hydraulic fracking operations in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the last 15 years, consuming more than 28 times the water they did a mere decade and a half  ago.

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs Steps Down

After almost two decades on the bench, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs officially retired on August 31st. When Governor Romer appointed Hobbs to the state’s highest court in 1996, it was the realization of a career-long goal for the attorney. But Greg jokes a little about the day he learned he would be Romer’s pick. When asked why he should appoint Hobbs to the Court, Greg replied that he holds the institutional knowledge of the various panels that work on natural resources issues, he’s drafted bills for the Legislature, and he has worked collaboratively with citizens’ boards and commissions. That’s what Romer wanted—someone who knew how to get along with what was then a fractious group. Upon appointing him, however, Romer said “Get a tie—a real tie.” Twenty years later Greg is still known for wearing his characteristic bolo ties. “Like Sam did!” says Greg. While counsel for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District for 17 years, Greg worked closely with Frank “Sam” Maynes on many pieces of state and federal water legislation affecting the state.

U.S. Forest Service & Wildfires

According to a recently released report, costs to battle ever-increasing and massive wildfires have “decimated” the budget of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) charged with fighting the blazes. For the first time in its 110-year history, the USFS reports it spends more than 50% of its annual budget on firefighting at the expense of other programs to prevent the infernos.