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Alt. Water Transfers

Cover HW Fall 2017

Water sharing and banking, coined "alternative transfer methods" or ATMs, could provide flexibility for stretched water supplies —but not without marked challenges. Read the Fall 2017 issue of Headwaters magazine and explore options to:

  • keep water in farming
  • help municipalities plan ahead
  • share between ag and environmental uses
  • bank water on the Colorado River

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Colorado river that could become the state's second wild and scenic protect river—Deep Creek:

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Water Education Colorado

Probing Pagosa's Springs

By Caitlin Coleman

The small town of Pagosa Springs is named for its claim to fame: the largest and deepest hot springs on the planet. The springs provide a tourist draw—and a renewable energy source. Since 1982, the town has operated a geothermal heating system, supplying hot water used for space heating to 13 commercial and two residential customers, including local schools, churches, a bank and the jail. Still, residents of Pagosa hope to do more, like use thermal energy for additional space heating, to warm a system of greenhouses, to develop a fish hatchery, maybe to create a botanical education program—maybe.

“We’re trying to look at the resources we have here—of course geothermal is one,” says Phil Starks, sanitation supervisor for Pagosa Springs. At the town’s bidding, students from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden and researchers with the Frisco-based Geothermal Management Company are conducting a feasibility study this year to determine whether Pagosa’s hot springs can be further developed and to identify the degree of additional
energy that could be obtained.

One concern researchers will evaluate is whether additional development could deplete the springs or cause decreases in pressure that would impact existing geothermal users. Provided the researchers find that is not the case, they will suggest additional ways to make use of the water, most likely
for additional space heating, aquaculture or agribusiness, says consultant Gerry Huttrer with the Geothermal Management Company.

A positive outcome would please the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership, a group that’s been working to engage the community and obtain land, water and funding to build greenhouses where residents can grow food, educate their children and attract tourists. “We do feel that this is something the community will take pride in— it will highlight this great resource,” says Kathy Keyes, a founding member of the partnership. “It’s an intrinsic resource that we can use to further ourselves.”

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