Colorado

WIP’s Participating Entity, SWCD, Update

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


Colorado Water Plan

The first draft of Colorado’s new water plan offered plenty of background information about the state’s water, but didn’t say exactly what can be done to avoid a looming water-supply gap. By 2050, the state could be short billions of gallons per year. Lawrence MacDonnell, a natural resources law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, led an academic review team that issued a report on the Draft Colorado Water Plan, finding that it offers little in the way of specifics.


Dolores Conservation District Changes Name

According to a recent Mancos Times article, the Dolores Conservation District (a WIP participating entity) is changing its name and embarking on a marketing campaign to raise awareness of its agricultural services. The first step is the name change to High Desert Conservation District. "The old name has been confusing for people," said district manager Judy Garrigues. "It's hard to promote ourselves when the public isn't clear about what we do." The High Desert Conservation District provides farmers and ranchers with resources to better manage their operations.


La Plata-Archuleta Water District

Bayfield's water treatment plant will get a major expansion in the next few months, but the town won't be paying for it, the La Plata-Archuleta Water District (LAPLAWD) will. LAPLAWD is also a partner in the Water Information Program. Town trustees approved the low bid of $7.1 million from Integrated Water Services on May 5, and the LAPLAWD board approved it on May 14. The rural water district serves customers with water treated in the Bayfield plant through a joint agreement signed in 2012. The 1 million gallons per day water plant expansion paid for by LAPLAWD is part of that agreement.


Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District

In April our WIP partner, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD), water loss report update indicated that the district’s total water loss fell to nearly half of the prior month. Much of that improvement is contributed to a significant water break that was discovered and repaired.


Lawn Gone: Durangoans Remove Grass to Save Water and Make a Statement

On May 15th, local water engineer Steve Harris and his wife Lourdes, conducted a ceremonial lawn removal party at their home in Durango. They invited a few other concerned residents to join them, and together they made a statement: It’s time to stop wasting water. One place to start is on lawns we don’t need. “If the only time you walk on your lawn is to mow it, you probably have more lawn than you need,” has become the mantra of Harris. Or another way to think of it, stated Harris, “Unneeded lawn is the like tamarisk." Of course, one lawn is literally a drop in the bucket in the overall picture, but it’s a reasonable start, Harris said.


Dolores Water Conservancy District: Water Law and Legislative Expert David Robbins to Review Dolores NCA Proposal, by Mike Preston

A recently released draft bill would ask Congress to designate portions of the Lower Dolores River as a National Conservation Area (NCA) and Wilderness Area. The much-anticipated proposed legislation was created over a five-year period by a legislative subcommittee put together by the Lower Dolores Plan Working Group.


New Water Rights Transfer

The non-profit Colorado Water Trust and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) have unveiled a creative new way for agricultural water rights holders to be compensated for sharing their water to meet conservation goals. The two organizations have collaborated to restore late summer flows to a 5-mile stretch of the Little Cimarron River in the Gunnison River Basin by sharing an agricultural water right.


Landmark Legal Decision Protects Instream Flows

In April the Colorado Supreme Court rendered a landmark decision upholding the instream water right for the San Miguel River in Southwest Colorado. The court deemed that a senior water rights holder, Farmers Water Development Company, is unaffected by the State of Colorado’s instream water rights on the San Miguel river and affirms that state water rights are a legitimate and essential tool to protect Colorado’s fish and wildlife.


Animas River Water Quality

As reported in an early June Durango Herald article, about 20 concerned people gathered at the Durango Public Library to hear one woman’s answer to an effortlessly gripping question: “Who pooped in the river?” According to Melissa May, a natural resource specialist for San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District, who analyzed microbial source tracking results for the Animas River in Colorado and New Mexico--the answer is, in short, humans pooped in it.


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