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Weekly water roundup: Flaming Gorge pipeline, Nestle gets permit for operation in Chaffee County

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Short takes from the week in Colorado Water:

Colorado Water Congress: Annual Summer Meeting

The Colorado Water Congress folks held their annual summer meeting last week up in Steamboat Springs. Attendees heard some of the same old stuff, that is, Colorado will be running short of water in the next few decades, the costs of new supplies runs to hundreds of millions, most of the growth will be along the Front Range, residents of the west slope don't want any additional transmountain diversions, it's time for the CWCB to settle on one large project, get it funded and delivering water. Everyone was also celebrating a good water year for most of the state.

Mercury in fish widespread across the U.S.

The USGS released a study last week citing detectable levels of methyl-mercury in all fish populations samples. Elemental mercury is released primarily from coal-fired power plants. It enters the food chain after reacting with organic substances in the aquatic environment which changes it to the more dangerous form. The methyl-mercury then accumulates in the tissues of fish.

Chaffee County Commissioners approve Nestle Water's permit

Water Court is next for Nestle Waters -- they need a decree for their augmentation plan. The bottled water company passed the permitting hurdle for their project designed to move 200 acre-feet or so per year out of basin to Denver for bottling. The Chaffee County Commissioners added conditions to the permit and then blessed the project last week.

Plans are moving forward for Clear Creek Whitewater Park near Lawson

Clear Creek Open Space, Clear Creek County and the Federal Highway Administration via the Colorado Department of Transportation are pooling $400,000 or so to fund the new park. They intend to use strategically placed boulders to create chutes and waves. The partners also plan spectator seating, parking, changing station and environmentally friendly comfort stations.

The Northern Colorado Water Association hopes to get new groundwater basin designated

The provider association is hoping to show that their pumping operations are not harming senior rights holders on the South Platte River. They're seeking designation for the Spring Creek which runs from Wyoming southeasterly to the South Platte river.

Colorado Springs Utilities fined $35,500 over Fountain Creek spills

The Sierra Club's lawsuit against the utility for repeated sewage spills ended last week with U.S. District Judge Walker Miller citing the CSU's record of cleanup and mitigation actions since the spills. He did not order any specific actions on the part of the utility with respect to prevention and the fine was the only sanction.

Flaming Gorge pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period for the proposed Regional Supply Project. The deadline is now September 28.

The pipeline is slated to bring water from a point on the Green River along with a pump station on Flaming Gorge to the Front Range. So far the promoter, Aaron Million, has failed to name any customers for the water.

Opponents cite the privatization of a large amount of Colorado's undeveloped water and the effect on fish and wildlife as reasons for denying the permit.

For more info: I follow Colorado water issues at Coyote Gulch.