New lake planning on stealing western slope water from Green. - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-10-2009   #1
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
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New lake planning on stealing western slope water from Green.

Seriously scary! They've dug the hole in the ground with no water to fill it at this point. Now these bureaucrats will be heavily invested in finding the water.

Reservoir under construction south of Denver, but there's no water to hold

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Posted: 11/10/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 11/10/2009 08:22:24 AM MST

A line of scrapers works the ground. No water has been secured for the south metro reservoir, and Western Slope interests are balking at proposals to pump water over the mountains. (John Prieto, The Denver Post)


An armada of giant yellow earthmovers on the prairie south of Denver is racing to dig one of Colorado's biggest water-supply reservoirs in decades a hole 180 feet deep across 1,400 acres designed to wean suburbs off waning aquifers.
But the water to fill this reservoir?
Not yet secured.
The prospect of what critics call an empty bathtub is generating anxiety around Colorado as water managers clash over the last unclaimed mountain river flows.
Most water to fill the Rueter-Hess reservoir "will have to be imported," said Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, who for 25 years has led the effort to supply 450,000 suburban residents.
Importing water would
Doug Voss, project superintendent, left, and Frank Jaeger, district manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, stand at the site of the reservoir's dam. (John Prieto, The Denver Post)

require multibillion-dollar pumping and piping from rivers running down the western side of the Continental Divide, such as the Colorado, back across mountains to Front Range residents, Jaeger said.
Though huge, the costs likely would be less than for alternatives such as trapping and treating contaminated water from the South Platte or Arkansas rivers, he said.
The option Jaeger and a Colorado-Wyoming coalition of municipal suppliers favor one of four being considered by state natural resources officials would divert water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in western Wyoming along Interstate 80 to Colorado.
Groundwater dropping
If water can't be imported to the reservoir, an estimated 190,000 Front Range residents who currently rely on groundwater face an uncertain future, as water tables are dropping 30 feet a year.
Douglas County communities "need to wean themselves off groundwater because it is finite. You don't want to have your lifestyle depend on a resource that is finite," said Bob Raynolds, a Denver Museum of Nature & Science researcher who for years has monitored aquifers. "We know we're falling down the slope of diminishing returns."
Suburban municipal wells, drilled over the past 20 years as deep as 2,745 feet through bedrock, today produce far less than they did a few years ago.
Yet Colorado Western Slope leaders see the $230 million Rueter-Hess reservoir as folly and bristle at talk of diverting more water across the mountains to fill it.
The reservoir "is 20 times more expensive, and 10 times as big as they need. It's going to be a little bit of water in a big bathtub," said Eric Kuhn, manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, based in Glenwood Springs.
The financing, based on tap fees from anticipated housing construction, "is the water equivalent of a Ponzi scheme," Kuhn said.
State demographers project Colorado's fastest growth will be on the Western Slope, with populations in the Colorado and Yampa river basins nearly tripling by 2050. Water demands to meet urban and energy industry needs there are expected to double.
A "fairy tale"
"There's a very good chance that, in the long run, there's not going to be any more water available on the Western Slope. And, if they're having trouble now paying for Rueter-Hess, how are they going to pay for moving water from the Western Slope? That's why I say this is a fairy tale," Kuhn said.
The push to build the reservoir began in 1985 when Parker obtained a required federal permit for construction in Newlin Gulch. Then other south metro suburbs signed up. The size was quadrupled, with federal approval.
It was presented as storage for recycled water and Cherry Creek storm runoff during wet years water that normally would be lost downriver.
Now the emerging hole is sufficient to store 72,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons of water, or enough to supply two families of four for a year. Rueter-Hess will be ready for water by 2012, said Doug Voss, project superintendent for Weaver General Construction Co.
Revolt over cost
South metro residents ultimately will have to pay for the project and for water, Jaeger said.
"There's no cheap way out of this situation," Jaeger said.
That's touchy. Parker-area residents revolted this year. A proposed 28 percent hike to cover operating costs prompted a recall campaign to oust water board members. An election is set for Dec. 15.
"All the providers recognize the cost of water is going to be significantly more," said Rod Kuharich, director of the 13-member South Metro Water Supply Authority.
This month, more construction vehicles are rolling into action to build up the 7,700-foot-wide Frank Jaeger Dam at the reservoir.
Critics "can make their claims," but the reservoir will be crucial to sustain population growth, Jaeger said.
Paying off the debt for the construction now underway all depends on tax revenues from future growth, he said.
"To say, 'We'll just shut off growth' will only exacerbate problems," he said. "If you don't pay off debt, what do you do? What does that do to the economy of the whole state? We need steady, controlled growth. All our needs for a reasonable lifestyle are tied into this."
Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700 or [email protected]

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Old 11-10-2009   #2
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Greater tri cities metro area, Colorado
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Can't we just bomb that fucking city?

It's just a big pile of parasites that keeps stealing resources from the rest of the state.

This makes me sick.
Discover Denver, stay there!
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Old 11-11-2009   #3
Park City, Utah
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I certainly would like to see the area impliment a low water grass policy and landscaping regulations in advance of an agenda to de-water a classic western river. Lots of Kentucky Blue grass driniking the water all through the front range.

I thought the deal with the pipeline out of the green was dead. Looks like Denver politicians don't see it that way. I will be heavily invested if this pipline ever gets going. There are so many alternatives.
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Old 11-11-2009   #4
Denver, Colorado
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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?

Caleb,I can totally understand why you hate [major understatement] the f'ing traffic on I-70,but the water belongs to everybody not you or even necessarily Colorado.People gotta' live somewhere,but they shouldn't be so wasteful of resources.Doesn't your pet creek steal it's water from the Williams Fork.Not trying to pick a fight,you're cool .I hate the sprawl as much as anyone.
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Old 11-11-2009   #5
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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See that guy in the photo above? He's wearing a pink shirt. You know what that means? He's got power and money, unlike you. So he's gonna take what he wants and there's nothing you can do about it.
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Old 11-11-2009   #6
Park City, Utah
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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?

The original pln as I saw it was to pull water out of the green in Wyoming. That puts it above all readily run portions of the green. Probably piping it straight out of Flaming Gorge Res. Last I saw on this, wyoming wildlife said al of the analytics on the amount of surplus water in the Res were off., and thus the whole project was in doubt. Apears the officials in this piece were not in agreement. The reality is they are picking the fight in Wyoming because they have the best chance of pulling this off in an unpopulated state. I would give this a less than 10% chance of ever happening. When the interest of downstream users along the colorado saw momentum on this, Phoenix and Vegas and LA, etc.. will pour money into the battle and quash it. At least thats how I hope it happens.
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Old 11-11-2009   #7
Durango, Colorado
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Now, I'm not trying to encourage this and I certainly do not support a pipeline taking more western slope water to the front range. It's BS.

But I did want to point out that municipal water use accounts for a rather small portion of the entire Colorado River water use. something like 10% to 15%, golf courses and fountains included. And that is with cities like Las Vegas, L.A., Phoenix, etc taking that water. the other 85%-90% is used up by agricultural interests. Industrial Ag should be far more regulated than it is at this point.

This does not make another pipeline for municipal supply ok though. I think cities should encourage water conservation. that should do more to ensure water for future growth (another issue). It just seems like a few people are in line to get rich because of this pipeline (which at the beginning was privately funded. I don't know if that is still the case), and (relatively) low volume lake. Those same people would not make any money if people conserved water.
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Old 11-11-2009   #8
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Durango, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Canada View Post
Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?
Flaming Gorge Reservoir is in southeast Utah and Wyoming, so both states should have a say, right? It's over 400 miles away from Denver. How can they justify pumping water over 400 miles?

Digging the hole for the lake is akin to the overpass they recently built here in Durango. They think that if they start the project and spend the money, it will have to be approved and completed. So far, that is not the case with our overpass- it goes nowhere because the state couldn't secure the land on the other side to continue building the highway. We need to look at this lake the same way- just because they've dug the hole, doesn't mean they are automatically going to get the water.

We can still fight it.
"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 11-11-2009   #9
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I wonder if any of these guys have considered confined aquifer storage as a better option in lieu of building a big pond with high evaporation rates. Just seems very costly in terms of the environment and efficiency. Thanks for the word.
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Old 11-11-2009   #10
Denver, Colorado
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I know where Flaming Gorge is,meant where near Parker.Reread it,mentions Newlin Gulch where ever that is.
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