December 24, 2011--Rocky Mountain region water districts investing in cloud-seeding (Denver Post)

With the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District facing steep revenue declines, district manager Frank Kugel realized the season's cloud-seeding budget could fade. So in his recent pitch to continue the district's $26,500 contribution to the region's $92,000 cloud-seeding program, Kugel told his board to trim a consultant's expectations for snow by 90 percent. "Even if we see 10 percent increased snowfall that the consultant has projected, it's an incredibly beneficial investment," Kugel said. "We took a long, hard look, but in the end my board felt the bang for the buck was worth it. There's no other place to find water for $11 an acre-foot." Since 2002, when the state was parched at the peak of a drought, water districts and water managers across the state have trimmed spending on cloud-seeding operations. In recent years, however, a larger contingency is spreading the cost of the program across the entire Colorado River basin. Water districts in Nevada, Arizona and California have joined eight districts that make up the Front Range Water Council and a few ski areas in funding Colorado's cloud-seeding program in a widespread effort to load passing winter storms with moisture-wicking silver iodide molecules.

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