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I am a student from the Watershed school in boulder working on a project researching the opinions of recreational stakeholders in the Gross reservoir expansion project. Denver Water's plan is to expand Gross reservoir by three times its current size. Most of the water to fill the dam will be pumped from the West side of the divide and stored in the expanded reservoir. So what would be helpful for me to know is:
1. What is your general opinion on this proposal?
2. Are there recreational water rights on South Boulder Creek?
3. What alternatives do you think could be possible?
4. How do you think it will affect the economy? (does kayaking South Boulder Creek have an affect on the economy?)
muchas gracicas
 

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You may want to go to FERC.gov website and use their library feature and look up all the public comments on the proposed changes. I believe Gross is p-2035.
 

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My answers:

1) I'm not a fan of dams and reservoirs, but it's reality and being able to kayak a big river isn't as important as people's water needs. If they put more water in SBC where we can kayak it for a longer season, that's not the worst thing.

2) There are only a few places where there are recreational water rights and those are at the play parks. So, there are no water rights for recreation in SBC, but we certainly have the right to kayak in SBC where there is water.

3) Alternatives to sending more water from the Western Slope to the front range? The main alternative is to get people to move from the Front Range to the Western Slope. I think a bunch of that water is also slated for Farmers. Farmers generally use water very wastefully. But, proposing that farmers use less water is political suicide.

4) Kayaking SBC doesn't impact the economy one bit. Not many people kayak it and they can kayak somewhere else.
 

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I think it sucks, why can't they dig a big hole out on the prairie to store the water in, somewhat like Chatsfield or Cherry Creek, why do they have to flood multiple canyons? Plus I thought I heard concerns from some engineers that extending the existing dam might not be able to be done safely..
 

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One other thing - no one is allowed to swim in the reservoir. Why spend a lot of money to remove waterways that are open to recreation only to close the resulting body of water to recreation?
 

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You may want to go to FERC.gov website and use their library feature and look up all the public comments on the proposed changes. I believe Gross is p-2035.
I looked at the FERC site and saw only that the application had been submitted. Smallie, do you know if comments have been accepted already?
 

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Gross Res?

Hi Mr. Wade,

I have a number of opinions. I live on the western side where the water comes from . Let say on the Fraser river. WE are fighting Denver water and now Ft. Collins and Greeley water becuase they want to do the same thing. See "Windy Gap EIS" Any more water that is taken from the upper Colorado water shed is going to KILL the river system. As of now, Algea is grow at 9000 ft. the fish are being choked out of the rivers, Wetlands are being drained, which means less wildlife. Farmers have less water to irrigate.

(This means less food/more $$$)And least of all, less water to boat in!!!!!
Here is my suggestion....

CONSERVATION!

Not one meeting talks about conservation efforts by the population. You guys want 30% more water for growth. How about conserving 30% more! We can do it when you take all of our water so I figure you can do it as well. Pay attention people!

Thanks and good luck!
 

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^ i agree completely.

why do the western slope rivers need to be pumped over the mountain just so folks in Greely can have extra green lawns?

I think the funniest thing about the entire Western Slope diversion complex is the "movers and shakers" on the Front Range come up all the crazy, grand ideas for diversions, hundreds of new and different proposals every year, but somehow, in all of those proposals over the past forty years, not once has there been a proposal that says: "Stop watering your lawn so much". Or never one that says "Let's NOT build a bunch of new golf courses".

Its always take, take, take, never a "let's see what we can do by ourselves."
 

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I am against expanding Gross Res and any other water pumping schemes but I believe that if you look at the numbers some 75% of the water in CO is used for agriculture, another 15-20% for commercial use and residential use is somewhere around 5-10%. I also wish Denver and everyone else would just institute drought condition water regulations as the norm however I don't know how much this actually helps. At least with the building downturn maybe growth will return to a sustainable pace compared to the level of the last 10 years.

I would like to see a push by the State to get farmers to focus on drought resistant crops, it is amazing how much corn is being grown in the Greely area in the last couple years for ethanol. That alone has to be sucking up the water. It would be nice if the water guys got rid of the "If you don't use it you loose it" mentality with water for irrigation as well. Everyone, residential, agri or commercial users should all be asked to take a look at what and how they are doing things to see if there are ways to save.
 

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^ i agree completely.

I think the funniest thing about the entire Western Slope diversion complex is the "movers and shakers" on the Front Range come up all the crazy, grand ideas for diversions, hundreds of new and different proposals every year, but somehow, in all of those proposals over the past forty years, not once has there been a proposal that says: "Stop watering your lawn so much". Or never one that says "Let's NOT build a bunch of new golf courses".

Its always take, take, take, never a "let's see what we can do by ourselves."
You're off on this. Denver Water has led a very strong marketing campaign with the focus on conservation. Probably one of my favorite and IMO best put-together campaign in the city (and I'm a marketing major). There are signs on the buses, newsletters and flyers, yard signs in all of the zero-scaped yards in my neighborhood, and billboards explaining when it is okay to water.

Further, many of the newer developments in urban areas are being built with zero-scapes, or small yards with a trade off for shared parks with limited and/or gray watering.

That said Denver is a very attractive place to live. Just take a look at all of the license plates that say New Orleans on them. Even if the city continues to conserve water, the amount of growth leads to far more demand than that saved by proper conservation. Until the Front Range (and Colorado in general... think Pagosa Springs, the Ark Valley, GJ, Montrose) stop growing then the demand for water will only increase and the supply won't change.

Although there are plenty of water-wasting sprawl and suburban type developments that keep there lawns way to green in an arid area without trees (Commerce City and Parker), the water isn't being taken from the west slope solely to make green yards. It's taken for people to drink and use inside of there houses. I agree with Basil that water used for peoples needs trump recreation, and unfortunately the environment by the average american. You can stop the diversions by having people move to the west slope, but it won't stop the demand for more than what is available.

But to actually answer the question... 1. I'm against the diversion and hugely against making Gross Res larger. USB is the best hard-man's V+ run on the Front Range. Shortening the length of whitewater and potentially burying RIMBY would suck (there's another post on this). LSB doesn't compare in quality and Eldo is too manky, so even with an extended season on these it still wouldn't be worth it. Not to mention the environmental impact on the forest around Gross, or the longer paddle out.

3. The alternative is to do nothing. Stop supplying more water than what already comes to the front range, and stop all non-zero-scaping developments, and developments away from city centers. Further encourage urban development and urban renewal programs backed by public transit as an alternative to public sprawl. No new lawns.

4. Kayaking doesn't do shit for the local economy. Locals rarely kayak SBC, out of towners almost never kayak it, and there isn't much of an economy up there to start with. It's all dependent on the FR.
 

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why do the western slope rivers need to be pumped over the mountain just so folks in Greely can have extra green lawns?
Lot's of people take this view. But, the water is for farmers and of the water that is used for people (urban use), Front Range people use less per person than West Slope people.

I agree that more can be and should be done with conservation. I wish the West Slope would join in.
 

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So the farmers that are using the water do not live on the front range?? Water over the pass is water over the pass how your peers in the FR CHOOSE to divide up this water is the responsibility of all on the FR...

Funny how all the city folk love to blame the farmer many who have had the rights to that water for generations. They are the evil water user not the new transplant from the mid west who buys a house in the ever expanding blue grass fields of highlands ranch. :roll::roll::roll:

I would like to see our generation push for in basin use only. Only grow as big as your basin can support. Only historical water could cross the divide, no new projects. If the FR wants to grow at this astonishing rate they could buy the water from the farmers and if you pay enough they will sell it. Then grow as big as is possible with the water you just bought. Once this water runs out build some dams or stop growing.. Simple... And a way to slow growth to a reasonable rate..

It is nice that some in the FR choose to conserve but as we all have seen over the past 100 years a quality marketing campaign by Denver water to make some feel better for conserving a small ammount of water is not the anwser. It will not solve the problem.... All it does is make FR water users feel that if they conserve a little bit then they have the "right" to take more w.slope water....... I dont buy it..

In basin use only will never happen.. Front range water has the money and power to do what they choose and unfortunatly what they choose and what the people of the FR go along with is a assult on WS water..
 

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A few points -

First, yes, the farmers do use more water. But I'm pretty sure the growth in usage is not coming from the farmers, but from the suburbs.

Second, for those ripping on Denver conservation efforts...During the 2002 drought, Denver worked hard to reduce consumption, and was able to get is usage down the level it needed to without having the area run out of water. They have a great track record with conservation. (Whether the general usage of water on the FR is at necessary and proper level as a matter of course is a different issue.)

Third, it is patently wrong that they never propose to conserve water rather than build a new reservoir or whatever. The Gross project specifically includes a conservation component of 16K acre-feet to meet the projected need - the reservoir alone doesn't meet that projection. And based on Denver's previous success in that area, I would be surprised if they don't meet it or get pretty close.

Finally, the expansion project didn't come from nowhere:

"Part of the deal when Two Forks Dam was stopped was that the parties had to develop other sources to get the water that would not be produced from TFD, and would do so within 20 years. Alternatives to the Two Forks Dam continue to be considered, including the expansion of Gross Reservoir."

Does it suck? Of course it does, but it is way better than the Two Forks Dam by most folk's reckoning. Is it the least of all possible evils? Maybe, maybe not - but that is what the public comment period is for - suggesting alternative solutions. There have been other options under consideration, and if you submit comments, you can argue for one of those.

As for whether whether RIMBY would be underwater, the current spillway is at an elevation of 7282 feet. The new one would be at 7400 feet, extending the Reservoir about ½ mile up into USB. You can see where this is by finding the where this contour line intersects with the creek on a topo map. Maybe someone who knows the run well can find that and tell us all conclusively whether the expansion would bury good boating?
 
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