Community Funding Partnership awards nearly $500,000 to West Slope water projects

Five grant awards to benefit agricultural, municipal, and recreational water users across Western Colorado 

Community Funding Partnership projects like the Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Water, Nutrient, & Salinity Management Project in Mesa County will support the advancement of precision agriculture as we move forward into a hotter, drier climate on the West Slope.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado — From enclosing irrigation canals to precision agriculture research; from creating reliable water storage to building redundancy in municipal water sources, the Colorado River District’s Community Funding Partnership is directly helping Western Colorado water users. 

At its most recent Board meeting on July 21, the Colorado River District awarded a total of $494,350 to five projects across the West Slope. Since the beginning of 2021, a total of approximately $1.9 million has been awarded to thirteen different water projects, all of which benefit multiple stakeholders.  

“In the midst of exceptional drought on the West Slope and increasing pressures on our rivers, our Community Funding Partnership continues to demonstrate the need for water funding to ensure our communities thrive into a hotter, drier future,” said the Colorado River District’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Amy Moyer. “Developing solutions across a diverse geographic area and across diverse water uses is key. These projects advance multiple benefits to support our farmers and ranchers, recreators, and economies on the West Slope.” 

Funded Projects: 

Cedar Mesa Ditch Piping Project – Cedar Mesa Ditch Company 
Delta County 
$45,000 in funds awarded 
Just outside of Cedaredge, this project will pipe 3.5 miles of the lower Cedar Mesa Ditch that passes through Mancos Shale to avoid losing a significant amount of water to seepage. By preventing this water loss, particularly in drought years, the ditch users will face fewer cutbacks in the production of hay and fewer declines in the quality and quantity of crops such as fruit, hemp, vegetables, and greenhouse flowers. It will also improve water quality by eliminating salt and selenium returns to the Gunnison River and the broader Colorado River Basin.  

Lake Irwin Valve and Piping Project Design and Engineering – Town of Crested Butte 
Gunnison County  
$42,000 in funds awarded    
This project will fund the necessary geotechnical and structural investigations required to better understand the infrastructure of a crucial source of water for the Town of Crested Butte. From this information, an engineered design will be developed to replace the valve structure, valve, and pipeline which conveys water from Lake Irwin. In addition, the project will conduct a condition assessment of the upstream portion of the tunnel which was originally installed in 1877 and is assumed to be timber set construction. Failure of this inlet tunnel would restrict the drinking water for the town and result in costly emergency repairs.  

Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Water, Nutrient, & Salinity Management in the Western U.S. – Colorado State University 
Mesa County 
$50,000 in funds awarded  
This project will construct and equip the Western Colorado Research Center at Grand Valley (WCRC-GV) with an overhead traveling sprinkler system on a 12.5-acre field to support research on digital and precision agriculture. A significant body of research into precision agriculture supports the improvement of crop yields, efficient irrigation, and reduced fertilizer use. This infrastructure addition will support emerging technologies and ensure cutting-edge research has a grounded presence in the Colorado River Basin for our communities to test and learn from.  

GH Lateral Enhancement Project – Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association 
Delta County   
$57,350 in funds awarded    
The GH Lateral Enhancement Project includes the construction of a 70 acre-foot in-system, regulating reservoir to provide a more reliable water supply to farms served by the northern portion of the Uncompahgre Project. This funding will support the land acquisition for the reservoir and a permanent easement for the GH Lateral Pipeline, leveraging approximately $14 million in federal funding. This area experiences high diurnal fluctuations, and the regulating reservoir will allow for water storage during peaks and the subsequent release during low flows. The project will allow water managers to optimize water diversions from the Uncompahgre River and minimize spills from the project.   

Roaring Fork Pump Station Pipeline Connection Project – City of Glenwood Springs 
Garfield County   
$300,000 in funds awarded   
The project consists of the construction of a raw water transmission line from the City of Glenwood Springs’ existing Roaring Fork Pump Station to the Red Mountain Water Treatment Plant. Constructing a new pipeline connection will expand the City’s water supply capabilities, creating redundancy within the water system. This redundancy will not only mitigate drought and wildfire hazards, but will also mitigate increased hazards for sediment, debris flow, and rockfall issues within the No Name and Grizzly Creek watersheds caused by the August 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire.  

Resources 

More information about the Colorado River District’s Community Funding Program is available by clicking here. 

To review the Colorado River District’s Board Documents related to the program, visit www.coloradoriverdistrict.org/quarterly-board-meetings 

 

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