Fall 2012

Top Stories

Groundbreaking for Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project

On June 2nd, federal, state, and tribal officials gathered in western New Mexico to break ground for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project.

La Plata Water Conservancy District’s Long Hollow Reservoir Groundbreaking

There was a long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony for Long Hollow Reservoir on July 10th.

People & Organizations

Senator Gary Hart

Former U.S. Senator Gary Hart has come out with a new book entitled Durango. The novel is the story of the Animas-La Plata Project written from the perspective of an elected proponent with firsthand knowledge of the story.

Mitchell New CWCB Water Supply Planning Section Chief

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is pleased to announce that Rebecca (Becky) Mitchell is the new Water Supply Planning Section Chief, a position formerly held by Eric Hecox.

Clay Vern Bader

Long time Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) Board member Clay Vern Bader passed away on August 24th; he was 91. Clay served on the MWCD Board for 28 years and will be sorely missed. Condolences go to all of Clay’s colleagues, family, and friends.


Colorado Water Conservation Board 75th Anniversary

 n 1937 the Colorado General Assembly approved the act creating the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Governor Ammons and the General Assembly recognized the need for a state agency to protect Colorado’s interests in the interstate streams that originated in the state by negotiating interstate compacts if possible, by defending against litigation if not.

Colorado River Water Conservation District 75th Anniversary

The Colorado River Water Conservation District (CRWCD) also celebrates their 75th anniversary th

10th Anniversary of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education (CFWE) was founded in September 2002 and is celebrating 10 years of providing balanced and accurate water informat

Dolores Water Conservancy District

The Dolores Water Conservancy District (DWCD) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a permit for feasibility studies (e.g., economic, engineering, environmental, etc.) related to a pump-back water storage project on Plateau Creek, a tributary of McPhee Reservoi

La Plata-Archuleta Water District

The La Plata-Archuleta Water District (LPAWD) and the Town of Bayfield signed an agreement at the end of July to expand the Town’s water-treatment plant. Under the agreement, the LPAWD will pay for the estimated $5 million plant expansion--a more cost effective solution than building its own treatment plant.

Animas La Plata Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement Association

The new Animas-La Plata Operations, Maintenance, and Replacement (ALP OM&R) Association building was finished and moved into in July.

Current Events

Tipping Point

According to a recent Science Daily article, a group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere.

Dying Southwest Trees Causing Erosion and Water Loss

In another Science Daily article, new research indicates that a combination of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of

Colorado Finalizes ALP Contract and Provides Recreation Grant

In June, the State of Colorado finalized a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to buy water from the Animas-La Plata Project. Colorado lawmakers authorized $36 million for the state's allocation of 10,460 acre-feet from Lake Nighthorse.

Pagosa Springs Geothermal Resource

The Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Department (CSM) released results of research recently conducted throughout the Pagosa Springs area. The research, conducted on the geothermal aquifer, resulted in evidence indicating a much larger and more complex system than had been previously suspected.

Water Quality / Conservation

Deadly Amoeba Found in Tap Water

According to a Los Angeles Times report, investigators at the Center for Disease Control recently found the amoeba, naegleria fowleri, when they swabbed the plumbing in the houses of two people who died of primary

New Toilet Turns Waste into Electricity and Fertilizer

According to a recent Science Daily article, researchers have invented a new toilet system that turns human waste into electricity and fertilizers. It also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 percent compared to current toilet systems. Dubbed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, it has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes.

Norwood, Mountain Village Impose Water Conservation Measures, While Water Call Threatens Ouray

In May the Norwood Water Commission and the Town of Norwood posted water restriction notices asking customers to begin saving. In the Telluride area, the Town of Mountain Village also set limits on residential water usage.

Water Law

Federal Funding Cuts for Water Programs

At the end of June, the House Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2013 spending bill with significant cuts for water infrastructure and water quality programs. Overall spending for the U.S.

Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2012 (H.R. 6060)

 In an effort to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act for over 1,600 water projects that withdr

Navajo Nation Rejects Water Rights Settlement

In July, Navajo lawmakers rejected, by a vote of 15-6, a settlement to recognize the tribe's water rights from the Little Colorado River basin. The vote also puts a stop to legislation in Congress to move the settlement forward because it needed the blessing of both the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

'Year of Water' for Colorado

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet introduced a resolution in May recognizing 2012 as the ‘Year of Water’ in Colorado.

Colorado River Cooperative Agreement

Colorado's largest water utility and two western counties have ratified a deal aimed at balancing the Denver-area's demand for water with the needs of mountain communities and avoiding costly legal battles.

Roundtable Update

Southwest Basin Roundtable

At the July 11th Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, it was reported that their account balance is $290,304.

WIP News


Explore Southwestern Colorado with the latest edition of Headwaters, published by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Workshop

The WIP, in conjunction with the Mountain Studies Institute and the San Juan Mountains Association, conducted their first, pilot, Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Workshop June 26-27th.

Water in the West Art Show and Speaker Series as Part of Water 2012

In an effort to raise awareness about vital water issues, the WIP, in conjunction with the Durango Arts Center (DAC), conducted a month-long Water in the West Art Show. The gala opening was August 10th at DAC.

Water 101 Seminar

Save-the-date for the 7th Annual Water 101 Seminar to be conducted October 26, 2012 in Durango.

Water History

Colorado Geologic Survey Finds Acid Drainage Predates Mining

An award-winning study by the Colorado Geologic Survey has found that highly acidic surface water preceded mining activity by thousands, perhaps millions of years. The report was recently given an award by the Geological Society of America as the best environmental publication of 2011.

Miscellaneous Facts

Colorado River Water Future

Consider some of the following High Country News numbers to provide a sense of the Colorado River water future: