Why saving water makes sense, and how one Front Range utility does it award-winningly well

The first draft of Colorado’s Water Plan was delivered to Gov. John Hickenlooper last week, moving the state one step closer to having a comprehensive plan for meeting future water demand while protecting the state’s many water values. As we continue to explore the way people care about water in Colorado here on the blog, we shine the spotlight this week on Front Range efforts to value water by using it wisely. We invited Patrice Lehermeier of Colorado Springs Utilities to share their water conservation successes.  

By Patrice Lehermeier

If you work with water, you get it. Increasing demand and supply challenges in Colorado are placing even more importance and value on water. As stewards of this resource, the greater test—and opportunity—comes as we work to educate and influence individuals and communities on the wise use of this limited and invaluable resource.

Ann Seymour, Colorado Springs Utilities' water conservation manager, receives the award Oct. 9, 2014

Ann Seymour, Colorado Springs Utilities’ water conservation manager, receives the WaterSence Partner of the Year award in October, 2014. The award recognized the utilties’ 88 million gallons of water savings in 2013, achieved through programs like rebates and equipment exchanges. That same year, Colorado Springs Utilities also set a water-saving goal to rebuild supply during the drought and, surpassing that goal of 5.8 billion gallons, saved 7 billion gallons through watering restrictions, conservation, rate surcharges and other measures, that’s the equivalent of 21,480 acre-feet.

In October, Colorado Springs Utilities was recognized with a 2014 WaterSense Partner of the Year award, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiative that honors partners’ commitment to promoting WaterSense and wise water use. The 2014 award marks Colorado Springs Utilities’ third consecutive recognition by WaterSense. (we previously received the 2013 Excellence Award for Strategic Contribution and 2012 Promotional Partner of the Year award.)

Along with eight other exemplary WaterSense partners across the nation, the EPA gave Colorado Springs Utilities the 2014 award based on our efforts over the course of 2013 to help low-income and nonprofit housing providers improve efficiency with WaterSense retrofits, support apartment owners and managers in property upgrades, help builders incorporate WaterSense certification, and educate customers through events, classes and a K-12 education program. That year, we surpassed our annual water savings goal of 84 million gallons, reaching 88 million gallons saved, or the equivalent of 270 acre-feet.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion in water and energy bills


So how do you motivate a community of water users to take pause and think before turning on a faucet or spigot? Before the programs, the incentives, and the eventual savings comes a rigorous amount of work and planning that strikes a balance between people and science, so to speak.

“Conservation isn’t a passive game. It requires on-the-ground, face-to-face community interactions with customers where they live, do business, meet and learn together,” says Frank Kinder, senior water conservation specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities.

Kinder is a walk-the-walk kind of guy. Proof?

A new efficient water-saving valve nozzle replaced old valve nozzles.

A new efficient water-saving valve nozzle replaced old spray nozzles in commercial kitchens.

“In 2010 through 2012, we offered a free pre-rinse spray nozzle exchange program to our commercial kitchen customers, provided they picked up the equipment at our location, but they’re very busy and couldn’t make the time to pick them up,” Kinder explains. “So we filled a backpack, took our rebate summaries, and went directly to the customers, offering them these free nozzles on site.

“It worked wonders. Customers had an immediate chance to see the product, understand its ability to save them money, and gain additional savings information. This method provided confirmed product installs and delivered guaranteed savings, while raising our measured customer service responses.”

Kinder emphasizes the importance of personal, tailored customer outreach, with a leave-no-group-or-person-behind approach. On any given week, he or any one of his coworkers (the group of nine full- and part-time employees serve a community of more than 440,000 people) are presenting at a variety of professional organizations, such as property-owner and manager groups, homebuilders associations, facility management organizations, restaurant associations and more.

“It’s crucial to learn their industry and speak in their terms,” Kinder says. “We also gain industry credibility through local participating businesses that vouch for results, influence their peers, and help replicate success in additional projects and programs.”

An old, less efficient valve nozzle.

An old, less efficient valve nozzle.

In 2013, Kinder and his coworkers spent some of their time and energy assisting low-income and nonprofit housing communities. Building on the utilities already-strong community presence and relationships, the water conservation team partnered with groups such as the Salvation Army, Partners in Housing and the Colorado Springs Housing Authority to retrofit properties. The effort did more than save water. It helped organizations like these save money, extend their limited funding, and serve more people.

While industry can reel in big efficiency savings, other customers have responded enthusiastically to programs designed for them.

In 2013, more than 4,800 people took advantage of free classes and presentations on xeriscape basics, irrigation efficiency and drip irrigation, and also participated in Xeriscape Garden Tours. It’s another example of the benefit of partnerships. Colorado Springs Utilities leans on local landscape experts and its own experienced staff to provide their expertise at no cost to customers, who get the benefit of classroom learning and one-on-one advice.

A pile of shower heads that Colorado Springs Utilities collected, swapping them out for more efficient models.

A pile of shower heads that Colorado Springs Utilities collected, swapping these out for more efficient models.

Home efficiency rebates are another way the utility incentivizes customers, but Kinder adds that all creative ideas are considered. Some that have made their way to customers include free showerhead exchanges and a utility presence at the local running club during WaterSense’s annual Fix a Leak Week.

Currently, an interactive efficiency demonstration home is nearing completion at the utility’s Conservation and Environmental Center, which is open to the public. Customers can learn about water and energy efficiency, low-water landscapes, and renewable energy through hands-on displays. Most times, staff is available to help folks who drop in with specific efficiency questions.

Connecting with customers trickles down to some of the littlest ones and future water ratepayers themselves—K-12 students. In 2014, Colorado Springs Utilities water educators interacted with 58 organizations (mostly public and charter schools, and some scout troops as well) and reached 10,652 participants, which represents about 40 percent of all second- through sixth-graders in Colorado Springs. Students get the chance to learn about the water cycle, drought, ecosystems and more through hands-on experiments and presentations. High school seniors can opt for more intensive work such as water law 101, and most programs are aligned with Colorado Department of Education academic standards.

Colorado Springs Utilities educates customers both in the classroom and at the utilities' offices. This wall of water helps people visualize water savings.

Colorado Springs Utilities educates customers in the field, in the classroom and at the utilities’ offices. This wall of water helps people visualize water savings.

With that focus on people also comes time spent on research, strategy and planning. Scott Winter, senior water conservation specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities, leads the number-crunching and analysis that points the team to the options that will help achieve the greatest results.

“Each program is evaluated annually to determine appropriate goals, budgets, targets, and other related issues. Periodic program analysis is also performed to refine savings estimates, comprehend factors influencing participation, identify new targets and understand penetration rates,” Winter says.

Implementation of and improvements made in automated meter technology has been a boon for Winter and his research. Using customer meter data, he is able to better pinpoint water use patterns and apply them to the planning process. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to provide the largest long-term savings for the least amount of investment,” says Winter.

The investment part is crucial given the organization’s commitment to ratepayers as a nonprofit municipal utility. “We seek to understand our customers and deliver solutions that make sense in the most effective manner,” says Winter.

Kinder echoed his teammate’s thinking: “We combine genuine enthusiasm, performance and strong business cases into customer-friendly solutions. Trust, motivation and results get people interested and on board, then they become our best advocates, nudge their peers to participate, and together we all win.”

plehermeierPatrice Lehermeier, APR, has served as a senior communications specialist at Colorado Springs Utilities for more than 12 years. Patrice particularly enjoys connecting with customers and helping them better understand how using water wisely positively affects our collective quality of life. Her dream is to one day help build clean water systems in developing countries. Although a transplant from California, Patrice has long called Colorado home and can be frequently found hiking or camping with her husband and dog.

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Filed under Colorado's Water Plan, Water Education and Resources, Water Supply

To Gov’s Office with Colorado Water Plan

CWCB director James Eklund with manager in Water Supply Planning, Jacob Bornstein bring  a box containing the draft water plan to the Capitol.

CWCB director James Eklund with manager in Water Supply Planning, Jacob Bornstein bring a box containing the draft water plan to the Capitol.

December 10, 2014, that was yesterday, and it’s already history. At 1:30 pm, the draft of Colorado’s Water Plan was handed to Gov. John Hickenlooper. Colorado Water Conservation Board staff smiled proudly, along with CWCB board members, Interbasin Compact Committee members and others at the hand-off of their work. The plan reflects efforts to meet the water needs of a growing population, expected to double by 2050, in a semi-arid state, faced with a changing climate. The Statewide Water Supply Initiative estimates that Colorado will need between 538,000 and 812,000 acre-feet of additional water to meet municipal and industrial needs by 2050, and the plan looks at water portfolios, cooperative management of water, tools and other mechanisms to meet that demand.  Find the draft plan here.


CWCB director James Eklund hands Colorado’s Water Plan over to Governor John Hickenlooper.

“This collaboration and delineation is a look at how Colorado can secure that water future,” the governor said, upon receiving a binder full of studies, recommendations and plans for Colorado’s future. “This is the first draft of the first state water plan, and it’s a great starting place,” Gov. Hickenlooper said.

And of course, though years of effort and thousands of hours of staff and volunteer time went into the draft, it is just a start. The water plan will be finalized next year, and before next December, multiple public comment periods along with public meetings by both the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Legislature’s Water Resources Review Committee (read about the meetings conducted last summer) are slated. Then, even in 2015, when the first water plan is finalized, planners will be looking down the road to 2019, the year Colorado’s Water Plan receives its first update.

Some have fresh comments and concerns already. From the Denver Post:

Critics were lining up, calling the draft plan a good first step that could help launch discussions but far too vague, lacking specifics that can serve as a basis for action.

State officials encourage all to review and submit their comments directly through the Colorado Water Plan website, and those with comments don’t have to wait until a deadline is looming, submit your feedback anytime.

From our most recent blog post on the water plan:

Whether or not this is the first time or the 100th time you’ve been invited to participate, it’s important to remain cognizant of what the plan is meant to do and why it’s so important to stay engaged. We’re talking about a tangible way to impact our collective future as Coloradans and protect the many things we hold dear, which all eventually wind their way back to water. To understand what’s at stake, simply look back at Gov. Hickenlooper’s May 2013 executive order directing the CWCB to prepare the state water plan. In it, he articulated a set of values the plan should support. These include:

  • A productive economy that supports vibrant and sustainable cities,
  • Viable and productive agriculture,
  • A robust skiing, recreation and tourism industry,
  • Efficient and effective water infrastructure promoting smart land use, and
  • A strong environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams, and wildlife.

“Colorado’s Water Plan is by Coloradans for Colorado,” said James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. It might not be possible to involve every person in the state but the CWCB and Legislature are trying. Between September 2013, when work began on the first draft, through October 10, 2014, the end of the most recent public comment period, the CWCB received over 13,000 unique comments to be considered in the plan. Those comments included over 780 unique email submissions, 120 web forms through the water plan’s website, 121 handwritten comments and 322 typed letters containing input related to the development of Colorado’s Water Plan. The Water Resources Review Committee also submitted 164 comments to the CWCB, received through their public hearings last summer. CWCB staff has met with over 100 organizations, agencies, and other partners statewide regarding their involvement in the development of the plan.

Of course, those looking to learn more can visit the Colorado’s Water Plan website. And stay tuned to the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. CFWE will release a new issue of Headwaters magazine in February 2015 on Colorado’s Water Plan. It will dig into some questions about the past and future of Colorado’s water, planning in other states, Basin Implementation Plans, ways to get involved and more.

Can’t wait? Here on the blog, we’re running a series of posts featuring various water values and users in Colorado. See our first posts to read about the many tangible reasons why water is important across the state. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective by reading this introduction to the series, with a reminder of why the water plan matters; and recreation on the Yampa. And of course, if you have unofficial comments on the water plan, share them here. What do you think?



Filed under Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Colorado's Water Plan, Headwaters Magazine, Water Supply

Powerful new film “Warm Springs” tells story of boating on the Yampa River

It’s not everyday you get the experience of rafting through a powerful, Class IV rapid, on the peak of a free-flowing river’s annual runoff, in an epic water year. Although I’m not suggesting it’s a replacement for the real thing, a new film from Steamboat Springs-based Rig to Flip has made it possible to vicariously experience the power and awesomeness of one of the West’s most notable rapids through its recent release of a 20-minute film called “Warm Springs.” If you’re like me, the footage from their 2011 Yampa and Warm Springs run, when the river topped out at twice its average peak flow, is guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush. That combined with historical footage of Yampa River rafting dating back as early as the 1950s and interviews with renowned river runners such as George Wendt, founder of commercial outdoor outfitter O.A.R.S., make this film a must-see.

To kick off CFWE’s series looking at the many and varied values of Colorado water, we aim the spotlight on this recent project of Rig to Flip, a small group of river enthusiasts and videographers who aim to inspire engagement by telling stories, stories that remind people of their connection to place. In this case, the Yampa River’s long history of river running and the dramatic birth of one of the West’s most notable rapids set the stage for a powerful film that will remind anyone who’s been down the Yampa why they love it so much, and will expose anyone who hasn’t seen or even heard of the Yampa to its rare and powerful charm.

“We want this video to remind us about history, about where we come from and why the Yampa offers an experience few others rivers in this region do,” says film director and co-founder of Rig to Flip Cody Perry.

Unlike most things, Warm Springs rapid was literally created overnight. Wendt, who would found O.A.R.S. four years later, lived through the storm and witnessed the debris flow that hurtled down a side canyon and into the Yampa creating Warm Springs rapid in 1965. Prior to that time, the river through that section was smooth sailing for boaters. When the landslide came down, Wendt narrowly escaped with his life. The next day, one of the first guides to tackle Warm Springs flipped, and then failed to resurface. His body was found 17 days later.

“The river has such a deep story,” says Cody. “The people who witnessed this debris flow that created Warm Springs saw a rapid be born.” Due to the Yampa’s wildly fluctuating streamflows, Warm Springs has changed over the years. “Warm Springs is a rapid that was once formidable, but over time has been made less so. It has to do with the river operating on its own hydrograph,” says Cody. “That’s the specialness of the Yampa.”

Cody personally experienced Warm Springs for the first time in 2011, when the Yampa hit 27,000 cubic feet per second at high water, twice its average peak. “I was hooked at that point.” I met him a few years later, in June 2014, at the Yampa’s Deerlodge Park put-in just inside the eastern boundary of Dinosaur National Monument. The river, which had recently peaked at 17,000 cfs, was just beginning to drop off. Cody was serving (and still does) as secretary of Friends of the Yampa, a river advocacy group formed in 1981 that hosts an annual awareness-building river trip, the reason we were there. Cody was in the process of phasing out his professional outdoor education work at Colorado Mountain College in order to pursue Rig to Flip full-time with fellow river enthusiast and videographer Ben Saheb. During the course of our trip, the two invariably could be seen aiming their cameras at the rest of the group as they captured footage while perched, often precariously, on the rigging or tubes of their own raft.

Some of that footage appears in the recently released film, which is the result of nine months of work to widely share the story of a place where, says Cody, the potential exists for issues to become contentious, especially at a time when the state is using Colorado’s Water Plan to identify future water needs and sources, and transbasin diversions are part of the discussion.

Explains Cody, “What we’re trying to do is say, ‘Here’s this amazing river. There are reasons for us culturally to maintain it, on many levels.’”

“Warm Springs” was produced by Rig to Flip with support from Friends of the Yampa, American Whitewater, American Rivers and O.A.R.S. Watch the full film for yourself, and share your comments or personal experiences with the Yampa River on the Your Water Colorado blog.

To read more about issues facing the Yampa, check out past CFWE coverage in the January 2010 issue of Headwaters magazine, “No Longer a Valley Too Far.



Filed under Colorado's Water Plan, Recreation

Colorado’s Water Plan: Hickenlooper to receive draft after re-election…and a reminder of why the plan matters to us

The 2014 Colorado gubernatorial election was an exciting one, deemed too close to call throughout election day and into the next morning as counties tallied their final votes. In the end, Coloradans granted Gov. John Hickenlooper his bid for a second term.


“We embark on Colorado’s first water plan, written by Coloradans, for Coloradans.” — Gov. John Hickenlooper, speaking on May 13, 2013, the day he directed the CWCB to prepare a state water plan.

Regardless of who the many folks engaged in drafting Colorado’s Water Plan voted for, there is a sense of continuity now that the results are final. Whether or not gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez would have changed the direction of the water plan is speculative, but certainly possible. And with less than a month before the plan’s first draft is due on the governor’s desk, I’m betting the staff and board of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the hundreds of members of the state’s basin roundtables are happy to be handing it off to Gov. Hickenlooper, the original architect of the idea. In the meantime, drafts of the eight basin implementation plans (BIPs), which were submitted by the basin roundtables in July for incorporation into the state plan, are posted online, as are the plan’s draft chapters. These are available for anyone to review at coloradowaterplan.com, and the CWCB and roundtables continue to actively seek input from the public.


Whether or not this is the first time or the 100th time you’ve been invited to participate, it’s important to remain cognizant of what the plan is meant to do and why it’s so important to stay engaged. We’re talking about a tangible way to impact our collective future as Coloradans and protect the many things we hold dear, which all eventually wind their way back to water. To understand what’s at stake, simply look back at Gov. Hickenlooper’s May 2013 executive order directing the CWCB to prepare the state water plan. In it, he articulated a set of values the plan should support. These include:

  • A productive economy that supports vibrant and sustainable cities,
  • Viable and productive agriculture,
  • A robust skiing, recreation and tourism industry,
  • Efficient and effective water infrastructure promoting smart land use, and
  • A strong environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams, and wildlife.

As interested community members and stakeholder groups gear up to respond to the draft plan’s release on Dec. 10 with a new round of public commenting (which will extend through July 2015), CFWE will spend some time in upcoming posts looking at the many tangible reasons why water is important across the state. We’ll explore the upcoming plan in the context of water’s many uses for everything from growing food to providing habitat, producing energy, sustaining gardens and parks, playing on, and, of course, drinking.

Watch for our first post in this series early next week, highlighting the value of river recreation. A study recently commissioned by Protect the Flows, a coalition of more than 400 businesses from the seven-state Colorado River basin, estimates that recreation in all its forms along the Colorado River and its tributaries had a $9.6 billion economic impact in Colorado in 2011 and supported 79,600 jobs. According to the Colorado River Outfitters Association, commercial rafting alone generated an impact of $145 million in 2013.

Those are big numbers that, when explored, reveal an entire community of people working and playing together. Coming soon, we’ll highlight a recent example of how that passion can manifest itself to bring to life the beauty and awesome power of Colorado’s wild rivers. Stay tuned!

And in the meantime, check out our latest issue of Headwaters magazine online, where water for crops and livestock in the heavy-hitting agricultural region of Colorado’s Eastern Plains takes center stage.





Filed under Colorado's Water Plan, Water Supply

Water For Energy: Challenges to Produced Water Reuse

HW 32 coversmallThe water required for oil and gas production is a hot topic in Colorado, and nationwide. We took a close look at it last fall in The Energy Issue of Headwaters magazine, exploring Colorado’s energy mix, oil and gas drilling, and the water market for power and energy. And although, compared to state-wide water usage, water for oil and gas only accounts for a small amount (as of 2011, the Division of Water Resources estimated that .47 percent of the state’s water withdrawals went to thermoelectric power generation; .03 percent to coal, natural gas, uranium and solar development; and .04 percent to hydraulic fracturing), in our water-limited state, where the energy industry could continue growing, players are competing for the same water. Reusing water and produced water is improving every year, and could make the water demands of the oil and gas industry less of a concern.  From Caitlin Coleman’s Headwaters article, Power in the Marketplace:

For oil and gas, recycling and reuse of water are improving. On the Western Slope, Encana recycles more than 95 percent of water used for or produced during drilling– this waste water cycles through the company’s four water treatment plants and is piped through a 300-mile network of pipelines to reach wells where it’s reused for hydraulic fracturing. Each barrel of water is reused an average of 1.33 times before disposal, says Encana spokesman Doug Hock.

“Everybody talks about what can we [the oil and gas industry] do to save water, and we’re doing it,” says Doug Flanders, director of policy and external affairs for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. “We’re becoming more efficient with our water, we’re recycling more water, we’re doing everything.”

Others say the industry could still do better, arguing that the state’s current deep well injection rate of 51 percent of contaminated drilling waste fluids removes a substantial amount of water entirely from the water cycle.

The Produced Water Reuse Initiative: Rocky Mountains will be held October 29-30 in Denver and recently conducted an industry poll to determine the biggest obstacles to reusing produced water. These were the results:

Many conference sessions are linked to these specific topics that are of concern to those who deal with water in the oil and gas industry, and as the report, displaying poll results says, “reusing produced water helps relieve the burden on fresh water and on the environment.” Of course, fresh water is important to all Coloradans and all industries.









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Colorado’s Transbasin Diversions: Perspectives

“The interesting thing about all of these tunnels is you look through them and you can see a pinpoint of light at the end,” says Wayne Vanderschuere, the general manager for water and wastewater planning at Colorado Springs Utilities.  Vanderschuere was talking about transbasin diversion tunnels.

Participants on the Colorado Foundation for Water Education's transbasin diversion tour hear from Lynn Brooks with the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District beside the outlet of the Homestake Tunnel near Turquoise Reservoir.

Participants on the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s transbasin diversion tour hear from Lynn Brooks with the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District beside the outlet of the Homestake Tunnel near Turquoise Reservoir.

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education returned from our transbasin diversion tour last week, exploring the Fryingpan-Arkansas, Twin Lakes, and Homestake projects with experts and a great group of about 30 tour participants from different organizations, interests and geographical locations. Find photos here.  We heard about and saw the sights and workings of these important and major water diversion projects. Reporter, Dennis Webb with the Grand Junction Sentinel joined us and, in an article published this week, wrote:

Those interests met in the middle here last week, at this point where the Ewing Ditch crosses the Continental Divide, on a transbasin diversion tour presented by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. It was a chance to consider the past of water development in Colorado while also pondering its future. And where better to look back at the history of transbasin diversions than at Ewing Ditch, the oldest diversion of Western Slope water to the Eastern Slope?

This straightforward, unassuming dirt conduit seemingly defies gravity, diverting water from Eagle River tributary Piney Gulch just a short walk from Tennessee Pass, and just high enough up the gulch that the water can follow a contoured course crossing basins and head into the Arkansas River Valley.

“It’s simple, but I love simplicity. It fits my mind,” Alan Ward, water resources manager with the Pueblo Board of Water Works, joked about the ditch, which the utility bought in 1955.

Buried in Snow

Alan Ward stands at the Ewing Ditch headgate,

Alan Ward with the Pueblo Board of Water Works stands at the Ewing Ditch headgate.

It was built in 1880 and also is called the Ewing Placer Ditch, which Ward believes suggests early use of the water in mining.

As transbasin diversions go, it’s a minuscule one, delivering up to 18.5 cubic feet per second, or an average of about 1,000 acre-feet in a year. It diverts about five square miles of melt-off from snowpack that can leave the ditch buried beneath 10 to 20 feet of snow in the winter. David Curtis is in charge of clearing that snow and maintaining and operating the ditch during the seven months out of each year that he works out of Leadville as a ditch rider for the utility.

The utility says Ewing Ditch is about three-quarters of a mile long.

“I think it’s a little longer,” Curtis said, adding that at least it seems that way when he and others are busy clearing spring snow.

A chartered bus delivered more than two dozen tour participants to view the ditch, including Boulder County resident Joe Stepanek. He found last week’s two-day tour to be highly informative. He’s interested in Colorado’s history of water development, and is retired from a U.S. Agency for International Development career that had him traveling abroad.

“I come back and join this water tour and learn a lot about Colorado,” he said.

Sonja Reiser, an engineer with CH2M HILL in Denver, likewise was finding the tour to be eye-opening.

“I’m learning so much about how complicated Colorado water law is,” she said as the tour bus moved on from this tiny diversion point to the outlet of the five-mile-long Homestake Tunnel, which goes under the Continental Divide from Homestake Reservoir in Eagle County and is capable of delivering a much more massive 800 cubic feet per second to help meet municipal needs in Colorado Springs and Aurora.

CFWE published the new Citizen's Guide to Colorado's Transbasin Diversions last month. flip through or order your copy .

CFWE published the new Citizen’s Guide to Colorado’s Transbasin Diversions last month. flip through or order your copy.

Read another tour participant’s impressions and thoughts from the tour on the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments’ Water Quality and Quantity Blog.

For me, just being around the diversions was exciting. Only a month ago, CFWE released it’s newest publication, the Citizen’s Guide to Colorado’s Transbasin Diversions–  I wrote much of it. After reading about these projects, pouring over maps trying to understand collection and distribution systems and working with the Division of Water Resources to determine how much water flows through these projects, I was seeing some of them, and hearing about them again.

The guide explores the history, negotiations and future of water supply planning in Colorado. It’s a lot of information condensed into 32 pages and drawn largely from other great resources including the three books and author perspectives found at the end of the guide. And it comes at an important time, as the draft of Colorado’s Water Plan collecting input and nearing completion, water supply and the history of water supply planning in Colorado are particularly relevant. But what didn’t make it in the guide, primarily because it is a reference guide and there was an abundance of other content, were the many great interviews I conducted with water managers, leaders, planners, advocates and others about projects all across the state. The tour brought life to the Citizen’s Guide, just like those interviews, as will our upcoming webinar series (more about that two paragraphs down).

These are such important stories, and interesting people who told them,  so CFWE will be publishing excerpts from those interviews here on the blog. If you have a piece of the story that needs to be told, or wish we spoke with someone different, let us know– we welcome additional posts.  Stay posted for a great series of interviews and additional transbasin diversion programming.

If you want to hear from experts yourself, register for one or all of our upcoming transbasin diversion webinars, hosted in partnership with Colorado Water Congress. The first of the series will be held on November 12 from 9-10 am on the Technical, Political and Environmental Requirements of Transbasin Diversions. Learn more and find out how to register here.

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Filed under Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Colorado's Water Plan, Events, Staff, Water Education and Resources, Water Supply

Havey Productions Kick Starts The Great Divide…

Final funding for feature documentary to be raised through grassroots campaign

Havey Productions' Great Divide film on water in Colorado will debut in Spring 2015.

Havey Productions’ Great Divide film on water in Colorado will debut in Spring 2015. Final funding for the film will be raised through a Kickstarter campaign. View the campaign and film trailer here.

Havey Productions announced in early September that final funding for The Great Divide, a feature length documentary on the history of water in Colorado, will be raised through a grassroots Kickstarter campaign. The campaign kicked off September 8, but there’s still time to contribute! The Great Divide will raise public understanding and appreciation of Colorado’s water heritage while inspiring personal responsibility and informed discussion concerning the vital challenge confronting the state and region with increasing urgency — forging collaborative solutions for managing this most precious resource for a prosperous and sustainable future.

The Great Divide from the Emmy award winning team of Havey Productions, in association with Colorado Humanities, will illustrate the timeless influence of water in both connecting and dividing an arid state and region. From Ancestral Puebloan cultures and the gold rush origins of Colorado water law to agriculture, dams, diversions and conservation; the film will reveal today’s critical need to cross “the great divide,” replacing conflict with cooperation.

Millions of people, billions of dollars and an enormous amount of economic activity are all dependent on rivers born in the mountains of Colorado. The Department of Natural Resources predicts that Colorado’s population will double by 2050 .

“The information in this film needs to be heard now, and with a statewide tour of Colorado screenings in partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office, 9News as our media sponsor and PBS broadcasts throughout the west – it will be heard,” director Jim Havey said. “We’ve been raising money from the water community in Colorado for the past year and they have responded generously, representing a broad base of support.  With the public’s help through this Kickstarter campaign, we will meet matching grant requirements and complete the fundraising.”

Timing is everything, and Havey Production’s goal is to have a complete film in the Spring of 2015, in advance of  Colorado new State Water Plan. A diverse group of sponsors throughout Colorado are already contributing to the production, including, the Colorado Office of Film Television & Media,  the Gates Family Foundation, Poudre Heritage Alliance,  Denver Water, Colorado River District, Northern Water, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Colorado Water Conservation Board,  Linda Boden, Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority, Molson Cooors, City of Greeley, Hydro Resources, Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, Republican River Water Conservation District, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, Upper Gunnison River Conservancy District, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, Deere & Ault Consultants, Inc., Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Southeastern Water Conservation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority, History Colorado, Consolidated Mutual Water, Northwest Council of Governments, Tri-County Water Conservancy District, Water Information Program(WIP), American Rivers, City of Fort Collins, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Colorado Water Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Hendricks Financial Services, Bancroft-Clover Water & Sanitation District, Delores Water Conservancy District, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, San Luis Valley Irrigation District, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Trout Unlimited, Platte Canyon Water & Sanitation District, Southwest Metro Water & Sanitation District. 9News–KUSA-TV is the media sponsor and PBS stations throughout the west will air the completed film.

Havey Productions produces emotionally rich and uniquely powerful films that inspire audiences to act. The Emmy Award-winning team has produced many films on the people, places and stories of Colorado and the American West including Centennial Statehouse: Colorado’s Greatest Treasure, Union Station: Portal to Progress and Molly Brown: Biography of a Changing Nation.

To contribute to this Kickstarter campaign, or to learn more about The Great Divide, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/haveypro/the-great-divide



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Filed under Colorado's Water Plan, Water Education and Resources