Saturday, August 23, 2014
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Bringing you the quality water information you crave, over Colorado's radio airwaves and online. Our monthly programming will complement what you're reading in Headwaters magazine and in the news.

Colorado's Water Plan


It's been over a year since Gov. Hickenlooper issued an executive order calling for the creation of a state water plan. It won't be a legal document, but the plan is expected to make recommendations that will guide future water planning and funding decisions. The process is well underway...with a deadline to deliver a draft plan by this December. As part of our radio series "Connecting the Drops" in partnership with Rocky Mountain Community Radio, Sam Fuqua brings us this update on  the Colorado Water Plan:


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Pair Sound with Sight 

mcphee sunset
Sunset at McPhee Reservoir near Cortez. The reservoir provides crucial irrigation and municipal water to the Four Corners region.
cracked mcphee wgrass
Grass sprouts in the cracked shoreline of McPhee Reservoir. The reservoir levels are up this year but still only 75-80 percent of average. Drought conditions are one of the key drivers of the effort to create a state water plan. 
mcphee 1
Irrigation water rushes through an outlet at McPhee Reservoir. Water stored at the reservoir allowed the Dolores Water Conservancy District to service over 61,000 acres through a system of canals and tunnels. The Southwest Basin Roundtable is helping find common ground between agricultural and environmental wishes. 

Post-Flood Planning in Boulder County


The historic September 2013 flood reshaped waterways across Colorado's northern Front Range, making major changes to both the manmade and natural environments. Over the past ten months, homeowners, planners and policy makers have grappled with difficult decisions over where and how to rebuild... and when to let Mother Nature take her new course. As part of Connecting the Drops-- our series on Colorado water issues-- Sam Fuqua reports on the rebuilding process in one of the hardest hit counties:


Root Wads N St Vrain creek 

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Pair Sound with Sight 

N St Vrain before and after
Post flood (left) and pre-flood (right) aerial photos of Norther St. Vrain Creek deviation between Apple Valley Road and Highway 36 (Norther St. Vrain Drive). source: Boulder County
Root Wads N St Vrain creek
Old trees called "root wads" buried into the new banks of North St. Vrain Creek near Lyons, CO. This section of the creek took a dramatically new direction during the September 2013 floods. Boulder County and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service installed the root wads to help stabilize the new creek bank. 

This episode of Connecting the Drops was sponsored by the City of Longmont. 


Take the Next Step: Read & Get Involved

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education wants to help you speak fluently about flooding. Check out the following:


Water Education


When it comes to water, Colorado's kids can expect to face a challenging future. A growing population and increasing demand may mean difficult trade-offs. That's one reason educators and policy-makers say it's critical to teach young people about water management. As part of "Connecting the Drops" Sam Fuqua visited two water education programs to see how they're handling this complicated topic.  

St Marys kid at stream 

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Read more: Water Education

Energy-Water Nexus Call-In Show

Water and Energy was the topic of the second statewide call-in program associated with Connecting the Drops. Host Maeve Conran spoke with experts: Ken Carlson a Colorado State University professor and the director of the Center for Energy Water Sustainability at CSU; Kent Holsinger, an attorney; Sloan Shoemaker, head of the Western Slope conservation group Wildnress Workshop. Listen to the complete program:

Listen to the Program

Water and Beer


With over 200 breweries and brewpubs, Colorado is one of the top beer producers in the country. All that beer requires a lot of water. As part of Connecting the Drops-- our yearlong series on Colorado water-- Sam Fuqua reports on how brewers large and small are working to conserve the precious liquid that is crucial to creating the other precious liquid. 


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Read more: Water and Beer

Small Hydro


Using the force of moving water to generate electricity is an old idea. For much of the 20th century, hydroelectric technology led to the construction of giant dams across the American West and around the world. But big hydro projects have a big impact on surrounding ecosystems. As we hear this report, Colorado is at the center of a growing move toward hydropower on a smaller scale. Narrated by Andrea Chalfin, reported by Sam Fuqua.

Fletcher at South Canal

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Read more: Small Hydro

Colorado's Water Plan Call-In Show


In May 2013, Governor Hickenlooper issued an Executive Order directing the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop Colorado's Water Plan-- a roadmap for Colorado's water future. Hear about the work that has been done to put together the plan and various questions about it. During this panel discussion and call-in show, hear from director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, James Eklund; Chair of the South Platte Basin Roundtable, Sean Cronin; and Abby Burk with the Western Rivers Action Network.

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Read more: Colorado's Water Plan Call-In Show

Water and Electricity


It takes water to produce electricity, but just how much? The amount varies depending on the fuel source and power generating technology. Listen to this segment of Connecting the Drops to hear about the critical role of water in keeping electricity flowing through the grid:
water withdrawals in co graphic 
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Read more: Water and Electricity

Shoshone-- Hydropower on the Colorado River


A complex series of agreements govern the distribution of water throughout the state. Along the Colorado River, farms, cities and towns, and the recreation industry are all big players... but everyone takes a backseat to the tiny hydroelectric plant that's over 100 years old. In the next of our year-long Connecting the Drops series, we take a look at the Shoshone Generating Station and the critical role it plays on the Upper Colorado:
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Read more: Shoshone-- Hydropower on the Colorado River

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Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.

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