Denver Water

Nick Cote for KUNC / LightHawk

The Colorado River is short on water. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at a slate of proposed water projects in the river’s Upper Basin states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

The river and its tributaries provide water for 40 million people in the Southwest. For about the last 20 years, demand for water has outstripped the supply, causing its largest reservoirs to decline.

Nick Cote / KUNC/LightHawk

Update 12/20 9:07 a.m.: This story was updated to include comments from Denver Water. 

A handful of environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to halt construction on an expansion of Gross Dam in the Boulder County foothills.

Denver Water is proposing to increase the dam’s height by more than 130 feet to store more water from the Colorado River’s headwaters in the reservoir. The suit filed in Denver’s U.S. District Court alleges the construction project would negatively affect the Colorado River, harming native, endangered fish. The suit also argues the proposal runs afoul of the Clean Water Act.

nicdalic / Flickr

Between growing populations and changing climate conditions, our water sources are only expected to get more crunched. Communities in some very dry states have had to get creative about where to get their water, sometimes purifying sewage into drinking water. More western cities are beginning to get on board, too. But there’s a problem: the ick factor.

Colorado River Basin Watches As Arizona Reboots Drought Talks

Jun 20, 2018
Bret Jaspers / KJZZ

Water leaders in Arizona are again trying to get to “yes” on a deal that deals with drought. This would help prepare the state for future cuts to its water supply if -- and likely when -- Lake Mead drops below specific levels. A renewed effort to achieve an agreement comes after a year of anxiety and gridlock over the future of the Colorado River.

Ryan Lockwood / Colorado Satte Forest Service

The Forests to Faucets partnership originally began in 2010 as a response to a series of wildfires, namely the 1996 Buffalo Creek and 2002 Hayman wildfires. Since its inception, the partnership’s goals have grown to not only reduce catastrophic wildfires, but to also restore forests impacted by reservoirs, erosion and beetle devastation.  On Monday, Feb 27, Forests to Faucets was granted a $33 million extension to continue its ongoing projects.

Maeve Conran / KGNU

At Colorado Harvest Company, one of the state's largest marijuana businesses, pot is grown in coco fiber rather than soil, a substance with no nutrient value. Why? Tim Cullen, the company's CEO, said that allows them to closely monitor all the nutrients going to the plant, all delivered through water.

"We never let water run out of these plants, and if you look in these trays, they're designed to hold water in them," says Cullen. "We don't want any water to run out of the bottoms of the plants because that's just wasted nutrient."

With the legalization of marijuana in various states and forms, conservation groups and others are asking how much legal grow operations affect water consumption. Water managers and researchers in Colorado are working together to answer that question.

Bente Birkland / KUNC

Mike King, the executive director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, is leaving the position at the end of January 2016 to become Denver Water's new director of planning. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland sat down with him to talk about the future of oil and gas and the state's hydraulic fracturing debate, and his time heading the agency.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr-Creative Commons

As Colorado plans for a future with more people and less water, some in the world of water are turning to the problem of lawns.

In the 2014 legislative session, state senator Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) introduced a bill [.pdf] that would limit lawns in new developments if they took water from farms.  Although the bill was changed dramatically before it passed, that proposal opened up a statewide conservation about how water from agriculture and the Western Slope is used – particularly when it is growing Front Range grass.

Denver Water

You don't want to be a clueless hipster. Or a stuck-up jerk with a Pomeranian. Or a brah who doesn't give a damn - about water, that is.

At least, that's the sentiment Denver Water is trying to tap in its latest ad campaign.

Don Graham / Flickr-Creative Commons

Water managers are taking the next steps in formulating a statewide water plan, following a meeting where representatives from Colorado's eight water basins met and presented drafts of their individual plans.

There have been longstanding tensions between the state's Western side and the Front Range over water transfers, and those differences came through in some of the presentations.

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