Save the date: Friday, September 15, 2017  our Annual Water Seminar

Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main Street, Grand Junction, Colorado 


2016 Water Seminar Highlights

“Colorado River, Waves of the Future: Fitting the West to the River’s New Normal”

The Colorado River District’s Annual Water Seminar was held on Friday, September 16th in Grand Junction, Colorado

Speakers addressed how water leaders in the seven states on the Colorado River are addressing ways to adapt their use of the river to deal with low storage levels at Lakes Powell and Mead through techniques that reduce demands. After looking regionally, speakers discussed Colorado-specific challenges such as the confusion over the “use it or lose it” doctrine in Colorado water law and how the new Colorado Water Plan can be put into action, especially with financial obstacles before it.

Presentations and video footage: 

2016 CO River District Water Seminar, GJT

Jeff Lukas, Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado-Boulder

Temperatures Matter (pdf of PowerPoint)

For Western Colorado, 2015 turned out to be the third warmest year since 1900. Seven of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000. Temperatures matter – to what form the precipitation comes in, to how much is stored in the snowpack, to how efficiently the snowpack is converted to runoff and to when runoff reaches users.
Written summary of presentation (pdf) 
Video recording of Mr. Lukas
    

Suzanne Ticknor, Central Arizonia Project

Suzanne Ticknor, Central Arizonia Project

How the Lower Basin is Attacking the Structural Deficit  (pdf of PowerPoint)

Low reservoir levels at Lake Mead are forcing Arizona, California, and Nevada to plan for reduced water draws, to fit water use to water supply. The “structural deficit” is 1.2 million acre-feet.The states are working to adapt the “Law of the River” to new realities of supply and demand, compounded by prolonged drought and climate change.
Written summary of presentation (pdf)
Video recording of Ms. Ticknor 

Eric Kuhn, Colorado River District

Eric Kuhn, Colorado River District

How the Upper Basin is Attacking Low Level at Lake Powell / Demand Matters  (pdf of PowerPoint) 

Low reservoir levels at Lake Powell threaten the ability to generate power and ultimately the ability of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to meet Colorado River Compact/ “Law of the River” obligations to the Lower Basin.Demand management is a key tool that will require adaptation of water law to shepherd water savings to Powell.
Written summary of presentation (pdf)
Video recording of Mr. Kuhn

Dave Kanzer, Colorado River District

Dave Kanzer, Colorado River District

Sorting Through Demand Management Weapons: Water Banking, System Conservation – Who’s Doing What? (pdf of PowerPoint)

The science and the mechanisms for agricultural fallowing and deficit irrigation are being tested across the West. What is what and who is who; and when will it be ready for action.  With Agricultural producer, Tom Kay.
Written summary of presentation (pdf)
Video recording of Mr. Kanzer and Mr. Kay

Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

Lunch Keynote: “Killing the Colorado”

The author of an extensive ProPublica series on western water use will discuss perspectives from his series and the Discovery Channel film of the same title. Part of his focus is on agricultural water supplies and how those rights are targeted to provide supply for urban growth. An excerpt of the film was shown and may be viewed by launching the hyperlink below.
Written summary of presentation (pdf) 
Video recording of Mr. Lustgarten

Justice Gregory Hobbs

Justice Gregory Hobbs, Colorado Supreme Court (retired)

Use it or Lose it – Separating Truth, Myth and Reality (pdf of PowerPoint)

How to properly exercise and protect water rights is wrapped up in a hot and topical discussion of what’s waste, what’s not and what does “Use It or Lose It” really mean in Colorado water law.
Written summary of presentation. (pdf)
Video recording of Justice Hobbs

COLORADO’S WATER PLAN
– WHAT NOW?
Panel discussion on financing, legislation, adaptation of water law and the public implement Colorado’s Water Plan.
Written summary of presentation (pdf)
Video recording of Panel Discussion

Discussion on Colorado's Water Plan

L to R: Fellow at Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado Boulder, Anne Castle; Colorado State Representative Don Coram; Director of Colorado Water Conservation Board, James Eklund and Director of Community Affairs, Colorado River District Jim Pokrandt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Water Seminar

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El Nino: Is it as Big as They Say? Does it Matter?
Klaus Wolter, NOAA-Earth System Research Lab & University of Colorado at Boulder-CIRES

What climate conditions have led to drought; El Nino predictions for winter snowpack in 2015-16; a review of the “Miracle May.”

Video recording of Dr. Wolter

Pat Mulroy

What is happening in California will not be staying in California:

The Colorado River connection means challenges for all the West Pat Mulroy, Senior Fellow for Climate Adaption and Environmental Policy at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West Institute

Video recording of Ms. Mulroy

Everything is Connected Jennifer Gimbel, Principal Deputy Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

California drought, low levels at Lakes Powell and Mead; contingency planning, and more. Video recording of Ms. Gimbel

John Fleck

Beyond the Cadillac Desert John Fleck, Faculty member and Writer in Residence for the University of Mexico

Video recording of Mr. Fleck

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The Colorado River – Just the Basic Facts Eric Kuhn and Dan Birch, General Manager and Deputy General Manager, Colorado River District

Why a new, big transmountain diversion is not the immediate threat to Western Colorado but protecting current water uses are. Video recording of Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Birch

Nowak Moving Forward

Moving Forward: Agricultural Water Conservation, Productivity, and Water Transfers Workgroup

Ken Nowak, Hydrologic Engineer, Boulder Canyon Operations Office, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Documenting trends in agricultural water conservation and transfers of Colorado River Water; identifying opportunities and challenges for expanding agricultural water conservation. Video recording of Mr. Nowak

Astor Boozer

Astor Boozer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Opportunities for agricultural water efficiency through recent Farm Bill legislation. Video recording of Mr. Boozer

Lower Gunnison Project

Lower Gunnison Project: Increasing Agricultural Water Use Efficiency Dave Kanzer, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Colorado River District

The Lower Gunnison River Project and agricultural water use efficiency improvements and modernization. Video recording of Mr. Kanzer

Recap of the  day: Panel Discussion Dave Kanzer, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Colorado River District, moderator

Jennifer Gimbel, Department of Interior Pat Mulroy, Senior Fellow for Climate Adaption and Environmental Policy at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West Institute Astor Boozer, Natural Resources Conservation Service Tom Kay, Agricultural Producer Patrice Alonzo, Agricultural Producer and Ditch Rider Cary Denison, Trout Unlimited Video recording of the panel discussion

Highlights from the 2014 Annual Seminar
“Growing the River: Is It All About Ag?

As long-term drought, future population growth and greater demands on the river dominate the news, all eyes are turned to agriculture as a way to find so called new water for municipal uses. Ag is also a target for solving operation issues at the two big reservoirs, Powell and Mead. These issues and more were discussed at our 2014 water seminar.

Cimate and CO River thumb

Climate and The River: Findings, insights and uncertainties from the Updated Climate Change in Colorado Report

Jeff Lukas, Senior Research Associate at the Western Water Assessment and co-author of a Colorado Water Conservation Board climate change report to assist water managers, reports on additional nuances of the projected future climate and hydrology. Video recording of Mr. Lukas

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Over-Allocation of the River: Now It Means Something

Brad Udall, Senior Water and Climate Research Scientist and Scholar at the Colorado Water Institute, Colorado State University, will turn back the clock to illustrate how the Colorado River got to its over-allocation diet and will relate that history to current events concerning the low reservoir levels at Powell and Mead. Video recording of Mr. Udall

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Panel Discussion: Is it all about Ag?
Interpreting What We’ve Heard – Chris Treese, Colorado River District External Affairs Manager moderated a panel including speakers Brad Udall, Perry Cabot, Aaron Citron, Marc Waage and Mark Harris. They were joined by two agriculture producers, Dixie Luke of the North Fork & John Harold of the Uncompahgre.  Video recording of the panel

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Harvesting the Water: A Western Colorado Perspective

Mark Harris, Manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association in Mesa County, surveys the landscape of water banking, ag conservation and what the future portends for agriculture in Western Colorado. Video recording of Mr. Harris

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The Colorado River System Conservation Program: What Is It?

Marc Waage, Manager of Resource Planning for Denver Water, will report on how the Central Arizona Project, Denver Water, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority are partnering with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to contribute $11 million to fund pilot Colorado River water conservation projects. Video recording of Mr. Waage

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Guest speaker: Kevin Fedarko, author of The Emerald Mile

Kevin Fedarko talks about his novel, The Emerald Mile – The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, and his current concerns for survival of the Grand Canyon as we know it. Video recording of Mr. Fedarko

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The Colorado Basin Can’t Afford to Lose Ag

Aaron Citron, Project Manager and Attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Colorado River Project, based in Boulder, Colorado, addresses the view from the environmental community that the buying and drying of agriculture is a sure way to wither more than the land. Video recording of Mr. Citron

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Can Ag Be Efficient, Can Ag Be Sustained?

Dr. Perry Cabot, Research Scientist and Extension Specialist, Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, digs into the topics that have everyone hoping that ag efficiency and conservation can save the day without losing ag in the process. He will also explain the nuances between conservation and efficiency. Video recording of Dr. Cabot

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