More sponsors line up for A-LP water
The State of Colorado is the newest shareholder of Animas-La Plata water, while the Navajo Nation is continuing its negotiations on how to have its share of the water delivered.

Last week, the state  finalized a $36 million contract with the Bureau of Reclamation for 10,460 acre-feet of water from Lake Nighthorse. The deal represented almost two years of negotiations on the part of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and other stakeholders.

The state’s allocation of water will go “a long way toward securing a water supply for water users in the southwestern portion of the state,” according to  a June 21 news release from the BuRec.

In 2010, the Colorado General Assembly authorized $36 million toward the purchase of the state’s allocation of A-LP water. The bill appropriated the first $12 million on June 30, 2011 with subsequent legislation appropriated the remaining $24 million, which will be available July 1, 2012.

The state made its first payment of $12 million to the Bureau last week and will pay the final installment sometime after July 1. A portion of the $36 million will be retained by the state for future operation and maintenance costs.

The contract also grants membership to the State in the Animas-La Plata Operations, Maintenance and Replacement Association. Over the next few months, the state will work with other members of the Association to address issues such as engineering, modeling, water administration and protocol.

Other project sponsors include the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, the La Plata Water Conservancy District, the Navajo Nation and the San Juan Water Commission, and the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian tribes.

This Fri., June 29, one sponsor – the Navajo Nation – will meet with BuRec and City of Farmington, officials to continue discussions on the operations agreement of the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline.

An original part of the Animas-La Plata Project, construction on the $4.6 million pipeline began in 2008. The 29-mile pipeline will convey 4,680 acre feet of A-LP water from the City of Farmington and pipe it under the San Juan River and across the reservation, ultimately ending in Shiprock. The project is divided into six reaches: the city of Farmington, Fruitland, Nenahnezad, San Juan, Hogback and Shiprock.

The city of Farmington has responsibility for the design and construction of features within its city limits and the Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority has responsibility for construction of all reaches of the project within the boundaries of its reservation.

The operations agreement will set forth terms and conditions for delivery of water through the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline. This will be the second negotiation meeting and will take place at 1:30 p.m. this Friday at BuRec’s Four Corners Construction Office in Farmington. The meeting is open to the public. For more info on the NNMP, visit

Clean Commute Week finishes strong
The City of Durango’s sixth annual Clean Commute Week finished strong last Friday, with an estimated 800 people participating in the Commuter Challenge, a 30 percent increase in participation over 2011.

Sponsored by Trails 2000 and the City’s Multi Modal Department, Clean Commute Week promotes the use of alternative modes of transportation to benefit personal health, the health of the community and the health of the environment. With events such as the Commuter Challenge, Pedal vs. Metal and Bike to Work Day, the goal is to encourage a shift in the way citizens think about transportation.

Commuter Challenge winners were announced last Friday night at Carver Brewing Co. Mary Oswald, head of Bicycle Friendly Durango, hosted the awards ceremony, which included a special video presentation by the president of the League of American Bicyclists, Andy Clarke.

Challenge scores were based on percentage of participation and included four categories: extra small companies (under 12); small companies (under 25); medium companies (26-199) and large companies (200 plus).

To ramp up the competition, a bonus round was added allowing companies that logged participation days on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in addition to Clean Commuter Day on Wed., June 20, to receive bonus points.
Gracing the podium this year were:
- Columbine Landscaping (extra-small category) an all-women company with an average bike-to-work rate of 75 percent every day;
- Russell Engineering (small,) nudging out previous winner, Goff Engineering;
- Stone Age Tools (medium), first-time participants whose commute had the added challenge of the hill up to the Animas Air Park.
- Mercury Payment Systems (large) with more than 100 bonus points. The City of Durango came in second, logging more than 3,912 miles by bike, walk, bus or carpool.
Aside from the thrill of victory, each winner was honored with the coveted Clean Commute award, which in years past has taken the form of gilded deodorant sticks. This year’s award, a pedal and thrift store shoe mounted onto a piece of wood by Jake Walsh, owner of Durango Home Solutions, apparently lived up to expectations.

Telluride tightens spigot on water usage
Mountain Village water restrictions have trickled down to the town of Telluride.

On June 12, the Town of Telluride issued an administrative order limiting the use of water and asking residents to “conserve water in every possible way in their homes and businesses.”

Although the town has not seen any water shortages yet, the restrictions are a pre-emptive measure as continued dry conditions have led to “rapidly declining volumes and flows” for the town’s water source. The Town of Telluride gets its summer time water from two tributaries of the San Miguel River: Mill and Cornet creek.

“We are carefully monitoring these flows. While the Town is meeting its water demands, the situation can change with continued dry conditions,” read the declaration. “Accordingly it is time to put certain conservation measures into place and prepare for possible shortages that may face the Town in the near future.”

The biggest component of the restrictions is on landscaping. Outdoor watering is limited to only 30 minutes a day between 9 p.m. - 9 a.m. on alternate days. On Sundays everyone can water, and water used to grow plants for sale is not restricted.

The water restrictions also prohibit:
- Washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, patios or other hard surfaces with municipal water (the Town may use non-treated well water for such purposes as needed);
- Power washing of structures;
- Filling or refilling of swimming pools, hot tubs or landscape water features;
- Installation of new public or private landscaping;
- Service of water to restaurant patrons unless requested;
- Washing of cars or other vehicles, unless by bucket.
Anyone caught in violation is subject to a $500 fine for a first offense and $1,000 for a second offense.

Aside from worries over thirsty residents and yards, the town is concerned over availability to fight fires. According to the Telluride Daily Planet,  a recent house fire in downtown Telluride cost 35o,000 gallons to fight – about a third of the entire town’s daily usage.

 “If we had a major fire, we would really have a problem,” Mayor Stu Fraser told the Planet. “So we are asking for conservation steps to keep the water level up.”
Mountain Village enacted its own water restrictions in May.
– Missy Votel