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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.

Marijuana Grow Operations' Water Use Explored

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With the legalization of marijuana in various states and forms, conservation groups and others are asking how much legal grow operations affect water consumption. In Colorado, water managers and researchers are working together to answer that question.

 Cullen 1web

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Pair Sound with Sight 

Cullen 2web
The Colorado Harvest Company's grow facility in Denver houses approximately 3,000 plants
in its 10,000 square foot facility. 
Cullen 3web
Tim Cullen, CEO of the Colorado Harvest Company in the grow facility's curing room. Marijuana
grown and cured at this facility can retail for up to $300 an ounce in their retail stores.
Cullen 1web
Colorado Harvest Company CEO Tim Cullen says the plants use a relatively small amount 
of water. "A 6 inch tall plant... might only need 75 milliliters of water...what is that, like...a
relatively small amount of water for a little plant. When we're talking about plants that are a 1.5 feet 
tall, we're talking about more like 500 milliliters or a couple of cans of soda worth of water
would go into a plant this size, it's not a lot of water."
 coco fiberweb
 Marijuana plants at the Colorado Harvest Company's Denver grow facility are grown in coco fiber
instead of soil. CEO Tim Cullen says they use coco fiber because it is pH neutral and because
there are no nutrients in it. The growers add all the nutrients through the water, allowing them more
control over the plants' growing process. As a result, the growers are very aware of how much water
the plants use. "Out nutrient bills are close to $10,000 to $12,000 a month, so we're not wasting that 
water once it has nutrient in it—it really needs to stay in the plant."
 Jeff Tejral web
 Jeff Tejral, manager of conservation for Denver Water. Tejral says he has been impressed with 
the attitudes toward water that he's seen in Denver marijuana grow facilities. "I've been in a lot of
commercial and industrial sites for audits and I've never seen a place that has actually written down
how much water has been used in an area before...that was new to me. That was a best practice
I'd like to see a lot of people using."

Endangered Fish Recovery on the Colorado River

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Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat. Invasive species, dams and water diversions can complicate the recovery of endangered fish in those waterways. One long-standing program ties together federal and state agencies with regional groups to help these cold-blooded creatures make a comeback.

 IMG 1926web

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Read more: Endangered Fish Recovery on the Colorado River

Winter Water for Dabbling Ducks

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Colorado's South Platte River basin is a powerhouse for crops and cattle. Massive reservoirs quench the region's thirst, with farm fields generally first in line. Wildlife? It's often last. But a small win-win is giving waterfowl a little more room at the watering hole. It's a program that creates warm winter ponds for migrating ducks—then gives the water back, in time for summer crops.

 Mallard Mother with Ducklings near  Ducks Unlimited HQ in Fort Collins

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Read more: Winter Water for Dabbling Ducks

From Crops to Houses

 

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An additional 2.5 million people are expected to move to Colorado by 2040, with the vast majority of them headed for the Front Range. As part of Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran looks at the impact on Colorado, farmers and agricultural lands, as the state's landscape changes from crops to houses. 

 Development in Meadweb

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Read more: From Crops to Houses

Water Pricing

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As cities in Colorado are expanding to accomodate a growing population, so are the costs of providing services and utilities. As part of Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran takes a look at how some communities are reevaluating how they charge for services like water and what that might mean for encouraging smarter growth. 

 Amelia Nuding

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Read more: Water Pricing

DIY Water Conservation Call-In Show

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The 4th statewide call-in show aired live on Sunday June 14, 2015 on KGNU, KRCC and KDNK. This episode focuses on what individuals can do to conserve water. Guests are Tyler Kesler, water programs manager with the Center for ReSource Conservation in Boulder; Jerome Osentowski from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt; civil engineer Louis Meyer; and Mona Newton, executive director of the Community Office of Resource Efficiency. 

Tyler Keslersm 
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Developing Colorado with Water Conservation in Mind

 

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Finding enough water to meet the demands of the booming Front Range has city planners closely looking at how new developments can be built with water conservation as a key component. And with the second draft of Colorado's Water Plan scheduled for release in July, many water advocates are hoping to see the issue of land use addressed. As Maeve Conran reports for our statewide water series, in the arid west, land and water use go hand in hand.

 Proposed Development Westminsterweb

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Read more: Developing Colorado with Water Conservation in Mind

Public Engagement with Colorado's Water Plan

 

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It's been just over three months since Coloradans got a first look at the state's water plan. The draft that was submitted to Gov. John Hickenlooper came after more than 800 public meetings held across the state. But despite an extensive education and outreach campaign, how involved is the general public in planning Colorado's water future? 

 

 Bonnie Sue House 1

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Read more: Public Engagement with Colorado's Water Plan

Drinking Water Quality on the Eastern Plains

Coloradans pride themselves on the quality of their drinking water, most of which originates high up in the Rocky Mountains. But many communities on the Eastern Plains have water that not only tastes bad, it is out of compliance with federal drinking water standards. As part of Connecting the Drops, our series on water issues in the state, Maeve Conran reports on efforts to improve water in Eastern Colorado 

Sterling Water Treatment Plantweb 

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Read more: Drinking Water Quality on the Eastern Plains

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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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