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Water

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Months of dry weather have left much of the Roaring Fork Valley in critical levels of drought, even after snow in December. The region has not been so dry this time of year since 2002. The Roaring Fork River and many others across the state are below normal levels of flow, which is unlikely to change without an extraordinarily wet winter.

Aspen takes on ‘smart’ landscaping

Jul 23, 2017
Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen has long encouraged residents to cut back on water consumption: Buy an efficient showerhead, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. But now, officials are taking that message outside.

Consultant: More data needed for water analysis

Jul 12, 2017
Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Earlier this week, Aspen City Council heard an update on studies of the town’s risk for water storage.

Marci Krivonen

Dry February weather melted snow in the high country, but snowpack levels are still substantial. A healthy level of snow up high is important for everyone down low, particularly farmers and ranchers. A crew of snow surveyors and high-tech systems are already sending readings about snowmelt. Marci Krivonen explains.

It’s a calm and sunny February day at 8700 feet above sea level. Snow surveyor Derrick Wyle plunges a long metal tube into deep snow on McClure Pass, south of Carbondale.

Colorado River Water Conservation District

Ahead of a deadline to finalize the Colorado Water Plan, elected leaders from the Western Slope are emphasizing their opposition to transmountain diversions. The plan aims to find ways to supply water to the state’s growing population. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Facebook/Roaring Fork Conservancy

Water officials are presenting a final Roaring Fork Regional Water Efficiency Plan this week. The Pitkin County commissioners will hear how water can be conserved ahead of increased demand.

Work on the water efficiency plan began in 2012, when the Roaring Fork Valley was experiencing drought. Major water providers from Aspen to Glenwood Springs joined an effort to plan for a drier future.

Marci Krivonen

High school students from around the valley got a lesson on drought and water scarcity in the West Thursday. The organization Ecoflight brought in experts, and college students just returned from a flight over the Colorado River basin. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

For decades the Aspen Valley Land Trust has kept open spaces in the Roaring Fork Valley from being developed. Now, the organization’s director is preparing to step down. Martha Cochran sat down with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen. She says the work AVLT has done to permanently preserve land is not just critical for views and historic land uses, like ranching, it’s important for wildlife.

Martha Cochran is executive director of Aspen Valley Land Trust. She’s stepping down at the end of the year, but intends to stay in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Plan aims to conserve water across Roaring Fork Valley

Jun 16, 2015
Facebook/Roaring Fork Conservancy

It’s hard to think of conserving water when rivers and streams are swollen with spring runoff...but, city of Aspen officials are mulling how to prepare for a drier future. 

Aspen is one of five communities involved in a regional water conservation effort. Organizers say the efficiency plan is the first of its kind in the state to encompass an entire watershed. Mark Fuller is executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority.

"The idea is to reduce future municipal demands and it’s part of an overall watershed effort to increase streamflows," he says.

Creative Commons/Flickr/TheBoyFromFindlay

The Garfield County Commissioners are working to send a powerful message that they’re against new transmountain diversions. 

The commissioners are organizing a meeting of Western Slope elected leaders to draw up a unified message ahead of the completion of Governor Hickenlooper’s statewide water plan. Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky:

Ruedi Water and Power Authority

An effort is underway to get people to conserve water across the Roaring Fork Valley. On Tuesday a public meeting will be held in El Jebel on the Regional Water Efficiency Plan.

For more than a year, major water suppliers in the Valley like the Cities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, have been creating their own water efficiency plans. Those plans make up a larger effort. It lays out ways to use less water.

Marci Krivonen

It’s that time of year when ski resorts crank up snowmaking machines to bolster Mother Nature’s delivery. Some resorts depend on man-made snow more than others and it’s possible  the practice may be used more in the future. For Connecting the Drops, Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Mountain Edition - August 28th, 2014

Aug 28, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Parents of students in the Roaring Fork School District may notice a few things are different this year.

Law enforcement officers are aiming to cut down on DUI’s… but there are limits on what they can do.

Colorado says it’s posted next year’s health insurance rates so people can find out whether they’ll be charged more… but it’s near impossible actually find those rates.

Water experts and decision makers are trying to figure out how to fairly divvy up Colorado River water if drought becomes a factor in the future.

And, now that recreational marijuana shops are open in Pitkin County, elected leaders are going over concerns, like accidental overdoses.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Candidates Look For Votes At Annual Water Conference

Aug 21, 2014
Colorado River Water Conservation District

Colorado candidates running for state and federal office are in Snowmass Village this week, talking about water.  Seven candidates spoke on Wednesday including Representative Scott Tipton and his challenger, Abel Tapia. Senator Mark Udall also made an appearance, as did his opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen was there and filed this report.

Colorado Trout Unlimited

The Thompson Creek watershed that flows through the contested Thompson Divide area, received a special designation this week. On Tuesday, the state’s Water Quality Control Commission approved an “Outstanding Waters” designation for several branches of Thompson Creek, near Carbondale.

To win approval the stream has to meet several high quality standards and, the designation prohibits certain pollutants from being discharged into the water. Aaron Kindle is with Colorado Trout Unlimited, which fought for the designation. He says it protects fish.

gailschwartz.org

Snowmass Village democrat Gail Schwartz wrapped up her career as a state senator this week. The lawmaker is term-limited after spending eight years under the gold dome in Denver. Her impact on issues like education, healthcare and water have been felt around the state, including here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, Schwartz’s colleagues saluted her service, including Senate Majority Leader Rollie Heath.

Colorado River Water Conservation District

The public is weighing in how to solve the problem of less water in the future. People offered suggestions for Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado Water Plan at a town hall meeting in Aspen Thursday. A growing population and climate change are straining the resource in Colorado, and an enormous water gap is projected, between how much water Colorado has and how much it needs. The Water Plan will use information collected by nine basin roundtables organized around various watersheds. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jim Pokrandt.

www.usbr.gov

The City of Aspen is working toward powering its utility with 100-percent renewable energy. A good chunk of that energy will come from a new hydropower facility in Ridgway, Colorado. If all goes according to plan, the City will start getting power from the facility on February 20th. Aspen’s one of two entities purchasing power from the plant. Mike Berry is with the Tri-County Water Conservancy District, the organization running the plant. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen.

www.jpl.nasa.gov

Scientists in Colorado are working to improve runoff forecasting in the West so water managers can meet growing needs in the future. A growing population coupled with climate change means every drop will count. Scientists are mapping terrain and snow with lasers to provide a more accurate picture of the snowpack. It's called the NASA JPL Airborne Snow Observatory. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jeff Deems, a research scientist with the University of Colorado, Boulder. He’s involved with the project.

Mountain Edition - January 30th, 2014

Jan 30, 2014

With just eight days until the Olympics start in Sochi...the Aspen community sends off four local athletes who will compete.

Health care prices in the Valley have been rising for years. Now, a handful of local employers are trying to improve worker’s health--and bring down costs.

Basalt’s setting a path for its future...in a non-traditional way. It’s using a method called “crowd-sourcing” to gather input on urban planning.

A new group in Aspen wants to make it easier for young people to stay in Aspen. City council approved the Next Generation Advisory Commission this week.

And, as Colorado’s population grows, the state’s water supply can’t keep up. A Basalt organization is involved in a statewide water plan.

Terrain parks are ubiquitous at ski resorts around the country. Now, there’s an effort to make them safer.

Finally, Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace is heading to the Olympics. The freeskier is recovering from injuries...but, says he’s ready to compete.

Google Image/suehess.com

As the state prepares a statewide water plan, a local non profit wants to make sure our rivers and streams in the Valley are protected. Basalt-based Roaring Fork Conservancy is pinpointing environmental values, so, as the state searches for more water to fill growing needs, local waterways stay full. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

In his State of the State address earlier this month Governor Hickenlooper touched on water.

"Now, if words were water, the state would never run dry," he said.

Property Tax Increase If Snowmass Water Measure Passes

Oct 31, 2013
discoveryspringtexas.com

There are all sorts of tax measures on the November ballot. We’ve covered proposals that would affect residents in Basalt and Carbondale. Now we take a look at a measure in Snowmass Village and a few surrounding areas.

Aspen Ideas Festival - Without Water, Revolution

Jul 2, 2013

Without Water, Revolution

Why the effects of drought have so much to do with the revolutionary inclinations of a frustrated populace. Is climate a cause of the Arab Spring?

Solly Granatstein & Thomas L. Friedman

Water Meeting Will Tackle New State Water Plan

Jun 4, 2013
Marci Krivonen

Water managers, users, and other decision makers from across Colorado are meeting today in Keystone. It’s part of ongoing efforts to make sure water’s being used in a smart way across the state. And now officials are starting to put together a statewide water plan, as ordered by Governor John Hickenlooper. John Stulp is the governor’s water advisor--and he’s overseeing Wednesday's meeting.

Marci Krivonen

The summer season is beginning, and with it comes river recreation of all kinds in the Roaring Fork Valley. In our area, we’re used to roaring rivers and thrilling rapids. But, in other communities, rivers that once roared are still and quiet now. And, it’s a problem. An engineering firm in Glenwood Springs is working to put the rapids back in rivers damaged by human intervention. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Measuring Snowpack for an Increasingly "Thirsty World"

May 21, 2013
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A group of scientists are flying over mountains in California and Colorado this spring, measuring snowpack with high-tech gadgets. NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory mission started last month over the Sierra Nevadas and Southwestern Colorado’s Uncompahgre River Basin. The idea is to measure the snow in a way that’s never been done before, to get an idea of how much water is stored there. Snowpack accounts for 75 % of the Western United States’ freshwater supply. And, as demands for water grow, scientists are working on solutions.

What Is Environmental Sustainability in Aspen?

May 15, 2013
Elise Thatcher

The City of Aspen wants to know what “environmental sustainability” means to people here. Does it mean cleaner air or making sure there’s enough water to go around? Or maybe there’s another description It’s part of Aspen’s new effort to find out exactly how well the city is meeting its own sustainability goals.  Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher filed this report.

Forest Service Tries Again With Water Rights

May 1, 2013
Photo by Colorado River Water Conservation District

As the demand for water grows in the West, there may come a day when water rights at ski areas will be worth more than lift tickets or real estate. Forest Service officials want to make sure those rights aren’t sold--but a previous attempt was struck down in court late last year. A judge decided, among other things, the agency didn’t get enough public input. This week saw the first of three public meetings... it’s the only one in Colorado. Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins was there.