The Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District has begun a program to reward local residential property managers for water conservation efforts. District Manager Jay Gallagher told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday that multi-dwelling complexes are some of the largest water users in the district - and the summer months see the district's highest consumption levels of the year.
"We want to reward the property managers who have made this community-wide issue a high priority," Gallagher said.
The district awarded ResortQuest Steamboat with a silver-level conservation award on Tuesday, saying the company complies with at least seven of 12 conservation standards. The district will award companies who meet five standards with a bronze certification, and companies who meet nine or more with a gold certification.
For more information on the program, call the district at 879-2424 or e-mail: email@example.com
Steamboat Springs As Steamboat Springs water-lovers gear up for this weekend's Yampa River Festival, city and county officials are taking steps to protect the quality of that river for decades to come.
Tuesday night, the Steamboat Springs City Council gave final approval to a watershed protection ordinance that will keep pollutants out of Steamboat's municipal water supply by regulating future agricultural and construction-related activities in rural areas near city water sources. When first introduced in December, the ordinance drew significant criticism from rural landowners and ranchers, who argued the proposed regulations were excessive and overlapped with existing state and federal regulations.
But a committee appointed by the City Council worked with Boulder water attorney Glenn Porzak to create a revised, improved ordinance that sailed through on first reading May 15 and final approval Tuesday night.
"The ordinance passed without public comment on final reading, and I think that is really due to the thoroughness of the committee," City Manager Alan Lanning said.
The revised ordinance includes an increased "grandfather clause" that allows all current ranching activities to continue. In addition to current activities, 11 additional activities are exempted and do not require fees or a permit from the city.
Those activities include noxious weed or insect control; normal farming and ranching activities; normal maintenance of water areas such as ponds and irrigation ditches; removal of dead or infected trees; construction of farm or ranch roads; riparian habitat restoration; and emergency firefighting activities.
The ordinance also clarifies which activities now require city approval.
Regulated activities include oil and gas development; construction or installation of new surface or subsurface tanks that store chemicals, petroleum products or industrial waste; feedlots; and creation of "impervious surfaces of certain size" - such as large parking lots, Porzak said - that would direct pollutants toward a water source.
Areas affected by the ordinance extend five miles from the city's Fish Creek Municipal Water Intake east of city limits; and five miles from Steamboat's Municipal Well A, south of city limits along portions of Colorado Highway 131.
"At the end of the day, the ordinance that was produced is a really good product. It will be a really good instrument for us," Lanning said. "The difficulty is going to be staffing and permitting."
Lanning said city officials will handle watershed protection matters in-house until the fall, when Lanning plans to use next year's budget to fund a full-time staff member who will handle water-related issues.
"That's where we're headed down the road," Lanning said.
Also this week, the Routt County Board of Com-
missioners began consideration of 1041 regulations, which would increase local control and governance of "areas and activities of state interest in Routt County."
Such areas usually involve large-scale projects such as oil and gas development or trans-basin water diversions.
"There's a laundry list of things that can be regulated," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "Only issues that would have a significant impact would be required to meet these regulations."
Oil and gas development is booming in Western Colorado, and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is investigating a massive pipeline project to pump Yampa River water across the Continental Divide to the Front Range.
"We are an area that a lot of eyes are on for these kind of projects," Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said.
Commissioners will continue their review of 1041 regulations in coming weeks.