Colorado seeks to close water gap
From the Wasatch Front in Utah, to the ponderosa pine forests of Northern Arizona to the irrigated hay meadows of Northwest Colorado, peoples’ lives are linked by the scarcity of water.
With snowpack at levels well below average, local water providers Wednesday announced water restrictions that will go into place May 1.
Zach Smith, attorney for the Colorado Water Trust, told the board members of the Conservancy District Wednesday that while no decision has been made to supplement the Yampa’s flows again this summer, they want to have agreements in place by late May.
Reservoirs in the Yampa/White River drainages are among the strongest in the state, averaging 112 percent after heavy rainfall in July, August and September.
The new virtual whitewater float comes at a time when the future of the Yampa and the canyon it flows through in Dinosaur National Monument are growing topics of discussion.
A referendum on the local ballot next week will ask the residents of Steamboat's Tree Haus Metropolitan District to approve an increase in their mill levy to help pay off the cost of improving its sewer system.
A year after the city of Steamboat Springs was grappling with the potentially enormous cost of improving its stormwater system, the city has started to revamp its stormwater maintenance program without busting its budget or assessing property owners a new fee to help cover the cost.
"What it comes down to, is that local communities want to be treated with dignity and respect if water from their basins is moved out and they no longer have that water for their own uses." — Jeff Devere, Rangely resident
State water plan meeting affords a chance to speak directly to a state legislator about Colorado's future water supply.
The predators become the prey when fishermen like Craig Preston cast into Stagecoach Reservoir southeast of Steamboat Springs. “I think it’s the big-fish allure,” Preston said. “The chance of catching that monster.” And the big fish are definitely out there. The official state record pike was pulled out of Stagecoach in 2006 by Thornton resident Tim Bone, who was using Powerbait with the intention of catching trout.
The newest study deems it likely that trout and other species of fish travel up Trout Creek from the Yampa River to spawn.
The precautionary advisory to boil drinking water was issued May 30 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment as the Yampa River flowed over its banks and inundated the Tree Haus water system.
“Currently Lake Mead and Lake Powell are 42 percent full. Does that make us nervous? Yeah that makes us very nervous.” — Eric Kuhn, general manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District.
Senate Bill 23, which provided incentives for Western Slope water efficiency measures, will have to be reworked and revisited in another legislative session.
Streamflow forecasters say the total volume of flows in the Yampa in Steamboat Springs in June and July will be 118 percent of average, and maybe more if precipitation is abundant.