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

The Future of Forecasting Water Availability

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The bulk of the water supply for the western United States comes in the form of snow. Therefore measuring snowpack and estimating how much water it will melt into is vital for water managers downstream and for researchers trying to track snowfall changes over time. Much of the measurement happens on the ground with SNOTEL sites, but increasingly, data is being gathered from satellites. For Connecting the Drops, our statewide series on water, Maeve Conran reports.  

 

 

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Pair Sound with Sight 

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Brian Domonkos monitors the data transmitted by SNOTEL sites around Colorado at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Denver. Credit: Maeve Conran
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A view from the SnowEx flight over Grand Mesa Colorado. The sensors being tested on the plane will end up on the future NASA snow satellite. Credit: NASA
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 The SNOTEL site near Lake Irene near the headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by trees, some of which are dead due to beetle kill. This can cause problems for the SNOTEL site as less tree canopy can lead to more wind and falling trees can damage equipment. Credit: Maeve Conran
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 Jeff Deems, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the SNOTEL site at Lake Irene. Credit: Maeve Conran

 

Room For Ag Conservation Within Colorado's Water Rights System

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It's one of the most often quoted parts of Colorado water law, and in some ways, the most misunderstood. Use it or lose it. That means water rights holders who don't use all their water could have those rights diminished. And that use it or lose it mentality is often seen as a barrier to water conservation, particularly in agriculture. But recent changes to Colorado law and research into water conservation could lead to changes in irrigation practices. For Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran reports.

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Read more: Room For Ag Conservation Within Colorado's Water Rights System

Alternative Transfer Methods—A Solution to Colorado's Water Crisis?

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With Colorado's population expected to almost double to 10 million by 2050, water planners along the Front Range, where most of the growth is expected to occur, are scrambling to find enough water to quench the thirst of this growing population. With agriculture accounting for 86 percent of the total amount of water diverted from Colorado's surface and groundwater sources, many people have their eye on farms as a possible solution to the looming water shortage. But the state's water plan identifies some alternatives to buy and dry and is encouraging farmers and municipalities to look for creative solutions to share this precious resource. These are typically temporary leases, but as part of our ongoing radio series Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran reports on a recent landmark deal that sees one of these alternative transfer methods happen in perpetuity. 

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Read more: Alternative Transfer Methods—A Solution to Colorado's Water Crisis?

Aquatic Nuisance Species

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Aquatic nuisance species can wreak havoc on ecosystems, outdoor recreation, hydroelectric power equipment and the economy. When dreaded mussel larvae were discovered  at Green Mountain Reservoir in August, state leaders sent a plea for help all the way to the White House. As part of the Connecting the Drops series, KGNU's Hannah Leigh Myers joined a Colorado Parks and Wildlife team as they took samples at Green Mountain Reservoir in an effort to ward off the invasive mussels and keep Colorado waters safe from threatening species

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Detecting Leaks with Data

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Colorado's growing population is putting pressure on water providers to come up with more and more of this precious resource. Conservation efforts have been increasing but utilities are also paying attention to water lost in the system through leaks. As part of our Connecting the Drops series, Hannah Leigh Myers went hunting for a leak with a Denver Water technician to get a closer look at the ever improving data systems and technology responsible for the decline in water lost in leaky public systems.

 

 Chris Garcia-DW Leak Techweb

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Read more: Detecting Leaks with Data

Using Real Time Data to Encourage Water Wise Habits

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What would it mean for your water use if you knew exactly how much water you were using in your home ... and exactly how much it was costing you? Would it change your behavior? Water providers and some home builders hope that having access to real-time data will help consumers use less. For Connecting the Drops, our state-wide radio series on water topics, CFWE's Caitlin Coleman reports. 

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Read more: Using Real Time Data to Encourage Water Wise Habits

Monitoring for lead in schools

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When cost-cutting in Flint, Michigan raised lead contamination in local drinking water, the nation became aware that water can corrode pipes and carry dangerous amounts of lead. The failures in Flint may result in stronger rules nationwide for monitoring home drinking water. But schools are not part of these public tests. That's why Colorado legislators are proposing a bill to help more Colorado schools pay for testing lead in their drinking water. Meanwhile, some Colorado schools have taken on the cost themselves. For Connecting the Drops, Shelley Schlender reports. 

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Fluoridating water, one strategy for improving public health, experts say

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In Colorado, consuming fluoride in water is one inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay. Although fluoride is considered a contaminant, it is often diluted to reduce the concentration in locations with high naturally occuring fluoride, and added in others. Learn about Colorado Springs Utilities' use of fluoride in water in this new episode of Connecting the Drops.  

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Read more: Fluoridating water, one strategy for improving public health, experts say

Recovering the Big Thompson River and its Economy

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Three years ago, flood waters rushed down the Big Thompson River through Estes Park and eastward to Loveland destroying whole stretches of the river channel and adjoining roads. That flood echoed a similar one 40 years ago that killed 144 people, destroyed countless homes and decimated the river bedNow, roads are being repaired and the ecosystem is slowly recovering, and that  recovery is crucial for the economy of local communities.  

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Read more: Recovering the Big Thompson River and its Economy

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Connecting the Drops Partners

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


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 Support for 2017 programming comes from CoBank

  
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