Category Archives: Environment

World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water?

Today is World Water Day 2017!wold waterday

In 1993, March 22 was designated as World Water Day by the United Nations (U.N.), thus setting aside a day for the world to focus its attention on finding solutions to the world water crisis.

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Photo Credit: Oxfam

Currently, 1.8 billion people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water, resulting in nearly 1 million annual deaths. Launched in 2015, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to Transform the World include the goal of all people having access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2030.

 

World Water Day is a great day to concentrate on making that goal a reality!

The emphasis of this year’s campaign is wastewater—the water that runs down the drain after washing your hands or out into the street when you water your lawn. Wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture, most often finds its way back into the ecosystem untreated, contributing to pollution, and without being reused, wasting a limited resource.

Wastewater Treatment Stages

           Wastewater Treatment Stages             Photo Credit: Annabel

There are ways to treat and reuse wastewater responsibly and safely in order to return it to the environment. In doing so, water can be stretched to its maximum potential.

Why waste water when it has so much left to give? To learn more about wastewater and its place in the water cycle, check out the  2017 Fact Sheet.

Water DropWorld Water Day is a day to educate ourselves on what we can do today, and throughout the year, to secure our collective water future—making water work for everyone. You can join the global conversation and share your water story using the hashtag #MyWaterStory.

Together, we can make a difference when we protect our most precious resource—WATER!

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A Plan for Our Drinking Water

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Photo Credit: USDA

In 2012, city officials in Flint, Michigan, began to investigate the possibility of saving money by switching water providers. Projecting a savings of $200 million over the course of 25 years, they decided to build their own pipeline to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) instead of continuing to receive water from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). Officials then searched for an additional water source to bridge the gap between the loss of water being provided by DWSD and the completion of their connection to KWA.

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Flint River

They settled on using the Flint River.

On April 25, 2014, Flint—a city where 40 percent of its people live in poverty—began drawing water from the Flint River for public use. Officials did not implement corrosion control treatment at the Flint Water Treatment Plant—a standard practice that prevents supply pipes from leaching lead. Shortly after switching the water supply, residents complained about water quality, but it was not until early 2015 that city tests verified what people had suspected—levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. An independent test done by Virginia Tech found lead levels at 13,000 parts per billion (ppb). The EPA limit for led in drinking water is 15 ppb and water is considered hazardous waste at 5,000 ppb.

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Photo Credit: Ildar Sagdejev

The decisions officials made in Flint brought to light the environmental struggles faced by poor, rural and underserved communities across the nation, forever changing the perception of public drinking water, and prompting people to ask one very pertinent question that they had not previously considered:

How do I know if my drinking water is safe?

550px-environmental_protection_agency_logoOn November 30, 2016, EPA published the results of its six month review of the nation’s drinking water strategy in their report, Drinking Water Action Plan. This plan includes six priority areas, along with recommended actions to improve water quality and health in the United States.

The six priority areas are:

  • Drinking water infrastructure financing and management in low-income, small and environmental justice communities
  • Oversight for the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Strengthening the protection of water sources
  • Addressing unregulated contaminants
  • Improving overall transparency, public information and risk communication
  • Reducing lead risks
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Photo Credit Steve Johnson

Circle of Blue, an online news source affiliated with the Pacific Institute and founded by journalists and scientists who conduct data analysis and document emerging and recognized crises, states that approximately 27 million Americans are served by public water utilities that are in violation of federal drinking water standards. Millions more draw their drinking water from unregulated, contaminated, household wells. And while 99 percent of Americans have access to an improved water source, underserved communities sometimes receive water from sources that present a health hazard.

These priority areas and actions for improvement would have an impact on Colorado’s rural water supplies, which have seen their own fair share of struggles when it comes to ensuring that the water is safe and free from contaminants. Headwaters magazine article, “The Rural Water Conundrum,” speaks to that exact issue. According to the article, 98 percent of Colorado’s water systems serve communities smaller than 10,000 people. These small communities could benefit from the improved support outlined in EPA’s new action plan.

Implementing change will not only require billions of dollars to be spent in order to update inefficient and outdated infrastructure, but will also call for the cooperation of government officials, water utility services and the public. Currently, the future of the Drinking Water Action Plan is in question, and only as time passes will we know if EPA’s suggestions will take shape in the form of solid action.

Until then, the public will continue to ask: Is my drinking water safe?

hw_fall_2016_final_coverKnowing what is in your water and how policy makers can impact public health is the first step being able to make decisions that will have a positive impact on your personal well-being. Read more about water and its connection to public health in the latest issue of Headwaters magazine, Renewing Trust in the Safety of Public Water.

Not a Headwaters subscriber? Visit yourwatercolorado.org for the digital version. Headwaters is the flagship publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and covers current events, trends and opportunities in Colorado water.

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Water Challenges for Young Western Farmers

When you hear the word “farmer,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Most people have a preconceived notion of what farming looks like, as well as what is involved in the actual practice of farming. While the average age of an American farmer is 58, and farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under 35 by a ratio of six-to-one, the next generation of farmers is emerging across the country. Their work is yielding joys and challenges previously not experienced, as young farmers face a future impacted by drought, climate change and increasing municipal demands on water supplies.

This recent crop of innovative young farmers is featured in the newly released short film Conservation Generation, presented by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), an organization that “represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success.” The four young farmers featured in Conservation Generation are working hard to run successful farms in the arid West, with two of them farming on Colorado’s Western Slope; Harrison Topp of Topp Fruit in Paonia, and Tyler Hoyt of Green Table Farms in Mancos.

One of the major struggles for farmers in this part of the country is the ever-increasing scarcity of water. This challenge requires that farmers find innovative solutions to the water shortages that they face. In blog posts they’ve written for the National Young Farmers Coalition to accompany the video, Topp and Hoyt each explain that picking the right land to farm was a crucial component for ensuring that their farms will have access to water.

“Water needs to be at the forefront of how we operate because it will (hopefully) help to keep us in business,” Hoyt says in the film. Both farms are located close to the headwaters of the rivers and streams that Hoyt and Topp draw from, ensuring that the water used for irrigating their crops is less likely to be contaminated by pollutants than it might be if they were further downstream.

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Tyler Hoyt         Photo Credit: NYFC

The farmers employ irrigation techniques that allow them to conserve and make the best use of the water that they are able to use. For Topp, this involved improving the method for transferring the water they are allowed to take from the Fire Mountain Canal to the orchard.

“We had a beautiful (but totally inefficient) network of hand-dug ditches that delivered water across the orchard,” says Topp, in one of his blog posts about the original irrigation system on his farm. “Stones, dirt, shovels, tarps and metal fragments were used to get the water to flow where I wanted. It could take hours to get the right amount of water kind of close to where I needed it to go.”

According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems. While Topp notes that their new method of irrigation—use of a gated pipe—is not as efficient as he would like, it works well for the orchard, and is an improvement.

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Photo Credit: NYFC

On Green Table Farms, Hoyt employs a host of methods that allow him to make the most of the water that he has access to. “I grow a lot of indigenous crops; those varieties that have been grown out here under dry land conditions for a very long time,” Hoyt explains in the film. “[The use of] drip tape is definitely a huge way that we manage our water so that in those years when we get very little, we can still irrigate.”

The face of farming in the United States is changing. With those changes come new challenges, some of which are the result of  climate change and increasing water scarcity. Young farmers across the country, like those featured in Conservation Generation are optimistic that by working hard, and applying their own creative ingenuity, they can find ways to overcome the issue of water scarcity and keep agriculture alive and growing in the arid West.

Additional information about the Conservation Generation can be found in NYFC’s report, Conservation Generation: How Young Farmers and Ranchers Are Essential to Tackling Water Scarcity in the Arid West; a survey of 379 young farmers in the arid West and recommendations on how their work can best be supported.

If are interested in learning more about managing agriculture and water in Colorado, check out Managing Agriculture and Water Scarcity in Colorado (and Beyond) , a report released by CFWE, in partnership with CoBank, last year.

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Filed under Agriculture, Climate and Drought, Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Environment, Water conservation, Water Supply

Valuing Water

When we don’t witness water treatment plants in action, infrastructure being maintained and the sale and trade of water rights, it can be easy to forget that the cost of water involves more than our personal usage wrapped up neatly in a monthly bill. In reality, what we pay each month may not appropriately reflect the true cost of water. As Colorado’s population grows, the demand on already limited water resources will rise and the cost of water will likely increase—with higher totals often transferred to your water bill.

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Colorado Springs  Credit: Jasen Miller

Beginning Jan. 1, water rates will increase in some towns and cities around the state ̶ including Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver and Louisville. Depending on where you live, and how your water bill is broken down, utilities may use those monies for standard water treatment and delivery costs, conservation and education programming, infrastructure construction and maintenance, upgraded treatment systems, or even securing new water supplies. Read more about why Denver Water bills are increasing in this new post on Mile High Water Talk.

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Charles Howe. Credit: Maeve Conran

“As water becomes increasingly scarce, prices are going to go up,” says Charles Howe  professor emeritus in the Department of Economics, Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Howe joined KGNU’s Maeve Conran for an interview to discuss economics and the value of water on Connecting the Drops, our collaborative radio series between CFWE and Rocky Mountain Community Radio stations.

“Any new [water] use is going to face increasing prices,” Howe says. This is seen in the trade of water rights and reflected in users’ water rates. For water providers and town councils setting rates, the need to stretch scarce water supplies among multiple users and valuable uses increases the necessity of efficient water use and higher levels of conservation. Rates can be an effective tool for encouraging water conservation.

“It is very well established that users are sensitive to water prices. We know that as prices go up, users of every class do reduce use,” Howe says. “They gauge their usage of water so that they are not dumping costly water onto low value uses.”

How can rates encourage conservation? Conservation water rates send a price signal to customers to conserve—a variety of rate structures can accomplish this or can be mixed and combined. Many municipalities including Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Walsenburg and Westminster use some form of tiered or increasing rate structure. In a tiered or increasing rate structure system, cost to the user increases in steps and is dependent on the amount of water used. Lower pricing steps exist because low-income customers and small households cannot afford to pay high prices for essential water usage. As use increases, price increases per thousand gallons of water used. Very high volume users—whether households, industry, or businesses—are charged the highest prices because their demand determines the peak capacity of the system.

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Denver Water  Credit: Jeffrey Beall

In Denver, the pricing structure moved from a four tier to a three tier system in which anything beyond “essential” use sees a significant increase in price. This, Howe notes, is a mechanism for encouraging conservation. Although prices are on the rise, Howe is of the mindset that municipalities are not charging enough to urban users. An increase of $25-30 per month would better reflect the value of the raw water that is being treated and distributed to the average urban customer, he says. Howe suggests that attention should also be focused on large-volume users in the commercial sector. They can be motivated to conserve water through increased pricing, therefore placing an appropriate value on the amount of water that they are actually using, he says.

hw_summer_coverwebListen to the full interview here and read more about the economics of water in the Summer 2016 issue of Headwaters magazine “Accounting for Water.” Check out the following articles for more information on the value of our most precious resource: A Price for the Priceless and Paying for What’s Ahead.

Not a Headwaters subscriber? Sign up here, or visit yourwatercolorado.org for the digital version. Headwaters is the flagship publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and covers current events, trends and opportunities in Colorado water.

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Interested in water conservation and efficiency? Order your copy of CFWE’s Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Conservation for information on efficiency water use in homes and cities, in commerce and industry, and in agriculture.

 

 

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Reducing abandoned mine water pollution in Colorado

By Skip Feeney, Water Quality Scientist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Water Quality Control Division

Recently, I stayed at the Polar Star Inn, a hut in the 10th Mountain Division Hut system. Within an hour of arriving several children reported back that they had found a large hole in the ground that went really deep! It turned out to be a mine. Actually this hut got its name from an abandoned silver mine named the Polar Star Mine. It is not hard to stumble upon abandoned mines in Colorado. In fact there are an estimated 23,000 abandoned or inactive mines in Colorado alone.

Colorado and mining have a long history together. According to the History Colorado website, “The Pike’s Peak Gold Rush brought unprecedented numbers of people into the region…culminating in the admittance of Colorado to the Union in 1876.” Most Colorado hard rock mining activity predates the passing of current environmental regulations in the 1970s and 1980s. Before this time many mining companies did not restore the mined area,  leaving physical hazards and human and environmental impacts.

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Credit: Ashley Bembenek, Coal Creek Watershed Coalition

One key environmental impact to water quality is acid mine drainage. This occurs when oxygen from the air and water react with sulfide minerals, increasing the acidity of the water. The acidic solution dissolves metals and flows into streams, lakes and groundwater. Acid mine drainage is exacerbated by mining practices when excavated materials leave voids in the moutain, increasing surface area for the acid mine drainage reaction to occur.  

High levels of metals harm fish and aquatic ecosystems. These contaminants also impact drinking water and agricultural water sources. This problem is significant with 1,800 miles of Colorado streams, not meeting water quality standards due to acid mine drainage related pollutants.

Unfortunately solving the water quality issues related to abandoned mines has its share of challenges. Abandoned mines are expensive to address—often in the millions of dollars with ongoing treatment costs. Many historic mining companies are no longer in business and therefore are not able to pay for restoration costs, and existing government funding sources are not sufficient to clean up all of the abandoned mines. Plus, liability concerns over treatment of mine drainage to Clean Water Act standards prevent many agencies and environmental groups from volunteering to clean up abandoned mines.

After the Environmental Protection Agency inadvertently caused a discharge at the Gold King mine, one year ago, a spotlight was shone on the statewide problem of abandoned mines. The Colorado Water Quality Control Division launched the Mine Impacted Streams Task Force to determine the extent and magnitude of abandoned mine impacts to water quality. The task force is made up of staff members from the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, the Water Quality Control Division and the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety. The task force supports two initiatives: 1) An abandoned mine inventory and 2) a water quality study of draining, abandoned mines.  

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Credit: Ashley Bembenek, Coal Creek Watershed Coalition

The abandoned mine inventory project combines and presents the existing unique and separate federal and state abandoned mine data sets. The inventory aims to better understand the number of abandoned mines and their locations and make this information available to water users, restoration professionals and the public. While prioritization of mine restoration activities is defined within each agency, the inventory will provide tools to help agencies work together to restore abandoned mines. The inventory steering committee includes the above mentioned state agencies, Colorado Geologic Survey, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks Service, Department of Energy, U.S. Geologic Survey and other organizations.

The Draining Mines Water Quality Study is a Governor directed initiative that will survey and measure the water quality of roughly 150 draining mines within the state. This study has begun and a final report will be published in 2017. Of the mines being studied, all of them that are presumed to negatively impact water quality are abandoned and lack recent investigation. The study will provide a water quality snapshot from which risk assessment and restoration prioritization can begin. The Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety and the Water Quality Control Division are partnering to execute this study.

As mentioned above there are many challenges to addressing this problem. However, the abandoned mine inventory and draining mines water quality study will provide information for all agencies, watershed groups and mining companies to make more informed prioritization and restoration decisions. This will help to maximize the money invested in reducing pollution from abandoned mines.  

HalfMoonCreekSkip Feeney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health. He has worked in the water quality industry for 15 years. This includes private sector work in regulatory, program and data management consulting for municipal agencies and public sector work with the Colorado Water Quality Control Division as a water quality assessor. In his role with the Division he championed the development and implementation of a Measurable Results Program to evaluate the water quality impacts derived from pollution control projects funded through the Division. Projects within this program include wastewater treatment plant upgrades and abandoned mine restorations. He is currently taking a leading role with the Mine Impacted Waters Task Force. The task force supports two initiatives: 1) An abandoned mine inventory and 2) a water quality study of 150 draining, abandoned mines.

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Your Values, Colorado’s Environmental Health

By Jacquelyn Murphy

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At Garden of the Gods, Colorado’s evergreens and red rocks are easily accessible to Front Range residents. Credit: Corbyrobert at the German Language Wikipedia

What do you think of when someone says “environment?” Having grown up near the ocean, water is central to my concept of environment—wide open skies with puffy clouds, chirping birds, warm sun, and crashing waves. In Colorado, it’s easy to think of the mountains, evergreens, and red rocks, yet water is central to our environment here too. It sustains all of us, the many critters who were here long before we were, and provides some of the most stunning natural settings in the state.

Just like any component of our environment, water has the potential to promote health or deteriorate it, for example through contamination. When this happens, we feel suddenly betrayed by our water—such a common, trustworthy substance. Environmental health studies the ways that all of the substances in our varied environments impact population health, predictably or spontaneously.

Most of the time, we feel so at ease in these everyday environments that we forget to really notice them. But that is exactly what “Everyday Colorado” is asking you to do—to notice and share how the environment is part of your story. Environmental health studies can be improved and strengthened by aligning community priorities with what is of great concern to professionals.

Visit EverydayCO.org to share your stories, photos, and what you value most in your community. Then, share this link with your family and friends.

Through stories gathered by “Everyday Colorado,” at EverydayCO.org, we are hoping to learn what people value about living here. What are you concerned about in your daily environment? How prepared do you think we are for natural disasters, the environmental impacts of climate change, or water quality and quantity issues? Do you feel an impact on your health from your environment? Where do you find information about these things?

Colorado School of Public Health & partners around the state developed “Everyday Colorado” to understand not only what people value about living here, but also peoples’ concerns about the future of their environment, and how public health researchers and practitioners can better communicate with communities, creating the best environment for all of us.

Individual and community stories are most powerful together, like streams combining into a larger river. That is why we are trying to reach as many Coloradans as possible. Once the stories are compiled, a statewide report will be published to inform local and state environmental health priorities and policies with a critical force in shaping our environments: the community voice.

Now is the time. Share your stories at EverydayCO.org.

JM_HeadshotJacquelyn Murphy is a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus. She holds a BA in Biology and Women’s Studies from Boston University and an MPH in Social and Behavioral Health from Boston University School of Public Health. Through graduate school and employment opportunities, she has conducted research and program evaluation internationally. She is interested in the ways that built environment, government policies, individual behaviors and social norms collectively contribute to health. When not in the classroom, she can be found suppressing her Boston accent and exploring Colorado’s mountains, reservoirs, yoga studios and coffee shops.

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From Vine to Wine on tour in Palisade, Colorado

By Kelsea Macilroy

Here in Colorado, we all know where the best peaches come from: the Grand Valley. Enjoying some of the most temperate weather in Colorado, the Grand Valley of Western Colorado is one of the few places peaches and grapes can be grown reliably in abundance. For over a century viticulture has been practiced in the Grand Valley and the impressive variety of wines has been growing steadily with 80 percent of Colorado’s grapes grown here. Integral to the growth and continued vitality of both industries are the irrigation companies and management partnerships that deliver Colorado River water to support crop production.

Straight off, I should offer a disclaimer: I love wine and I love peaches. From the moment the announcement of CFWE’s Vine to Wine Tour arrived in my inbox, I knew I needed to attend. What could be better than learning about the various ways Colorado water is managed to bring people together around tasty, delicious things? Not only did this tour combine two of my favorite things, it also explored the intersections between managing water for multiple uses, irrigation efficiency, local agriculture and how they support our wine and orchard industry in Colorado.

Managing Water for Multiple Needs

Dale Ryden with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teaches tour participants about the endangered fish species native to this reach of the Colorado River.

Dale Ryden with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teaches tour participants about the endangered fish species native to this reach of the Colorado River.

Sitting under the outside pavilion at the Wine Country Inn with the sun warm on our backs and the promise of a beautiful day ahead of us, Dale Ryden of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started off educating us about the endangered fish species native to this reach of the Colorado River. Armed with a 6 foot long life-size cutout of a Colorado pikeminnow he was joined by Brent Uilenberg of the Bureau of Reclamation. Together they explained how, due to decreased river flows in the 15-Mile Reach of the Colorado River outside of Palisade, four native fish species—the humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker—were identified as endangered. With some historic collaboration among key water interest groups, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program has assisted multiple projects designed to improve fish habitat and instream flows through the 15-Mile Reach, all while continuing to support local agricultural production. This includes modernizing the Government Highline Canal to reduce water diversions, installation of fish passages at dams and fish screens at turnouts. Acquisition of floodplain habitat has also been instrumental in providing fish nursery areas.

The Orchard Mesa Check Structure

The Orchard Mesa Check Structure

Guided by Max Schmidt of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District and Mark Harris of Grand Valley Water Users Association, our next stop was a tour of some of the infrastructure that makes irrigation and fish recovery possible. In a massive coordinated effort among the reservoirs upstream of the 15-Mile Reach—called the Coordinated Reservoirs Operations—flow releases are timed to provide optimal flows for both fish and humans. These coordinated releases and “checks” in irrigation canal systems provide additional support of the Recovery Program and intentionally create surplus from the Historic Users Pool. In operation informally since 1926 and adjudicated in 1996, the Orchard Mesa Check Structure is part of a complex arrangement that dictates when and how the check is operated as well as other contingencies involving the Historic Users Pool in Green Mountain Reservoir. Orchard Mesa Irrigation District consumptively uses only 170 cubic feet per second of water, but withdraws more in order to operate their power plant. In order to most efficiently use water, the check structure diverts water that runs through the power plant to be released upstream of the Grand Valley Irrigation Company diversion, which is senior to the power plant.

Irrigation Efficiency & Local Economy

Over 18,000 people receive water to irrigate around 81,000 acres from one of six irrigation companies or districts in the Grand Valley. Riding through Palisade in our horse drawn carriage, the stark contrast between the lush, fertile valley floor and the dry, high mesas of the area made it clear how heavily the local economy and community depend on water. Perry Cabot and Horst Caspari both work for the Colorado State University Experiment Station in the Grand Valley searching for ways to increase irrigation efficiency and crop production—improvements in these areas mean a more efficient use of water and a better crop for producers.

During the tour, we had the privilege of visiting two farms. With peach harvest season just getting started, the Talbott Farms processing plant was humming with activity. Here, Bruce Talbott shared with us the importance of agriculture for the local economy as well as the large amount of peaches that go to waste because they are considered “imperfect.” Up to 40 percent of food grown in the United States never gets eaten. Much of that is due to marketplace demands that require food to be a certain size or weight and a particular appearance. The peaches that are culled never see the market, and Talbott Farms takes a hit as they still invested water, land, and time to those peaches. Fortunately, many of the tour participants were able to help prevent a few peaches from going to waste.

Red Fox Vineyard

Red Fox Vineyard

The day concluded with a stop at Red Fox Cellars, a family owned vineyard with a tasting room, where Scott and Sherrie Hamilton guided us through a selection of their delicious wines. Part of what makes Colorado wine unique is its terrior—the environmental effects of the place where it is produced. The way the sun shines on the valley; the quality and quantity of water applied to the plants; the particular composition of the soil; and the fact that Colorado wines are grown at the highest elevations in North America. All of these things come together to shape the particular taste of the wine.

After learning about all the passion and effort expended to support agricultural operations, endangered species habitat, and improvements in crop production and irrigation efficiency all I wanted was a glass of wine—I highly recommend Red Fox Cellars Bourbon Barrel Merlot. Here’s to Colorado water and all the people who work hard to meet the many demands for it. Cheers!

Kelsea is a PhD student studying Natural Resource and Environmental Sociology at Colorado State University where she prefers to read and write while sampling one of Colorado’s many delightful foods or beverages. She is currently working with the Colorado Water Institute on a project that engages with agricultural water use and the opportunities and barriers for conservation in the Colorado River Basin. Growing up in southern Arizona, attending Gordon College in Massachusetts where she studied history, and living in Alamosa for six years, gave Kelsea an interest in the ways water has been historically managed and how that has shaped its use today. In her free time Kelsea enjoys exploring parts of Colorado new to her with her husband and cross-eyed dog. She also really likes peaches.

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Filed under Agriculture, Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Colorado River, Environment, Instream Flow, Water Supply