water

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Family farms line the southern reaches of the Arkansas River in Colorado. The agricultural community there depends on the river's yearly flows for crop irrigation. But with predictions of less water in the future, the region could face tradeoffs over the coming decades.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Outdoor sports dominate the Upper Arkansas River Valley, with attractions like white water rafting and fly fishing drawing tourists from across the country. With climate scientists predicting reduced flow as the century unfolds, the region could face a future with less water.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

The Arkansas River supports economies in Colorado from Leadville to La Junta and beyond. With base industries including tourism and agriculture, southern Colorado depends on the river's yearly flows. But climate researchers expect declines in those flows over time, leaving the Arkansas River and its dependents at risk of facing a future with less water.

Researchers have come up with a new way to extract water from thin air. Literally.

This isn't the first technology that can turn water vapor in the atmosphere into liquid water that people can drink, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, say their approach uses less power and works in drier environments.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is a new book from David Owen, a staff writer with the New Yorker magazine and author of more than a dozen books.  His latest takes him on a journey across the west following the Colorado River: the dams, reservoirs and pipelines that help quench the thirst of seven states and parts of Mexico. 

Brennan Linsley / AP

A recent study suggests climate change could slow the rate at which snowpack melts. That could mean less water available for future use.

Public Domain

A recent study suggests the Colorado River could see a 35% flow reduction by the end of the 21st century due to the effects of climate change.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Oral health falls under Governor John Hickenlooper's Top 10 Winnable Battles for health in Colorado. Consuming fluoride in water is one safe and inexpensive way to help prevent dental decay, according to public health experts, and it was discovered right here in Colorado.

Charles Gatebe / Nasa flickr

Researchers at NASA have launched a new project to pioneer technologies for measuring snowpack. 

Malika Ladak / Flickr-Creative Commons

The Colorado State Forest Service is reminding folks to keep up with watering their trees throughout the winter.

Maeve Conran / Connecting the Drops

About 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 riverbed. Now, roads are being repaired and the eco-system is slowly recovering. That recovery is crucial for the economy of local communities.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Officials at Peterson Air Force Base say they've finished drilling wells meant to help determine whether the base is to blame for potentially toxic Perfluorinated Compounds, or PFCs, detected in drinking water in southern El Paso County. 

Bureau of Land Management / Public Domain

A group of researchers has compiled experts' opinions on top Colorado River priorities that should be addressed by the new president.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The Air Force released new details yesterday about a previously reported discharge of contaminated water into the Colorado Springs sewer system at Peterson Air Force Base. Officials are now saying the discharge didn’t happen as they thought.

Maeve Conran / Connecting the Drops

It's been almost a century since the Colorado River Compact was created, divvying up the resources of this mighty waterway between seven states and Mexico. That means almost 40 million people are dependent on the river in some way. Traditionally, the economic value of the river was based on what the water could be used for when extracted—things like agriculture, mining, and industry. Now, more people are pointing to the economic value of keeping water in the river itself.

Toby R. Ault, Justin S. Mankin, Benjamin I. Cook and Jason E. Smerdon / Journal: Science Advances

A recent study shows megadroughts could become more common throughout the Southwest. The study suggests droughts lasting at least 35 years will become longer and dryer as temperatures continue to rise.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Officials at Peterson Air Force Base say 150,000 gallons of water containing perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, were mistakenly discharged into the Colorado Springs sewer system earlier this month. According to a Colorado Springs Utilities spokesperson, those PFCs have since made their way into Fountain Creek.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Attorneys with Colorado Springs-based McDivitt Law and New York firm Napoli Shkolnik are calling on the Colorado Department of Health to help pay for blood testing for people living in areas where perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, have been detected above safe levels. 

Jake Brownell / KRCC

Two Colorado based law firms filed class action suits last week over water contamination in southern El Paso County. It's the latest installment in a saga that's been ongoing since May. That was when the EPA revised their standards and announced a new health advisory for perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. The chemicals were detected above the new health advisory levels in the drinking water in Security, Widefield, and Fountain. 

Jake Brownell / KRCC

A Denver-based law firm has filed a class action suit on behalf of residents in Security, Widefield, and Fountain over drinking water contamination.

Denise Dethlefsen / Used with permission

A new partnership aims to preserve four farms in Rocky Ford, totaling more than 660 acres.

New conservation easements between farmers Bart and David Mendenhall and the Palmer Land Trust will help ensure the water from their farms can never be sold off.

Thursday Newscast, 8/18/16, 7:04 AM

Aug 18, 2016

Newscast for Thursday, August 18, 2016, 7:04 AM:

Shawn Rosvold / KRCC

Rain barrels are now legal in Colorado. This comes after several years of debate and opposition from those concerned about possible impacts on downstream water users. Now, conservationists are eyeing them and other water capture tools as a way to stretch the state's overburdened supply.

Associated Press / Stock Photo

Peterson Air Force base announced Thursday a contract for supplying bottled water to some Security, Widefield, and Fountain residents whose tap water contains Perfluorinated Compounds, or PFCs.

Associated Press / Stock Photo

It's been almost two months since residents of Security, Widefield, and Fountain first learned their drinking water contained potentially unsafe levels of chemicals called Perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. And despite steps taken by local, state, and federal agencies to address the problem, many residents still wonder when they'll be able to feel confident their tap water is safe to drink. In the meantime, they're looking for alternatives.

Jake Brownell / KRCC

Hundreds of residents of Security, Widefield and Fountain attended a community meeting Thursday to learn more about potentially harmful chemicals recently detected in area drinking water.  The chemicals are called Perfluorinated Compounds, or PFCs, and have been linked to low infant birth weight and other health problems.

Neighborly Cooperation Keeps Alive Acequia System of Irrigation

May 10, 2016
Katherine-Claire Nynas

Water rights can be a touchy topic for Colorado families whose livelihoods are tied to the resource's availability. But in the tight knit community of San Luis in southern Colorado, a group of farmers and ranchers uses old methods of cooperation to help ensure healthy livestock and a good harvest in the arid region.

Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr/Creative Commons

A bill that would allow people to collect rain that falls from their rooftops remains hung up in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee after the chair said he wasn't comfortable with the measure. It's not clear when the committee will vote on it.

The same thing happened last year when the rain barrel bill vote was delayed. And while the bill eventually cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee over the objections of the Republican chair, it failed on the final day of the 2015 legislative session when time ran out.

IAN MACKENZIE / FLICKR - CREATIVE COMMONS

Colorado is on the road to becoming the final state in the country to legalize rain barrels, after Democrats reached an agreement on Monday with several Republicans who opposed previous versions of the measure.

Update 5.13.2016: Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation finally legalizing rain barrels. Our original story continues below.

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Colorado is the only state in the country where it is illegal to capture rainwater for use at a later time. State lawmakers are once again debating whether to allow residents to use rain barrels to collect precipitation that falls from their roofs.

"This is really straightforward," said Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge), one of the main sponsor's of House Bill 16-1005 [.pdf]. "You could use that water when you see fit, for your tomato plants or flower gardens."

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