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I_WRRC_2016A 08/16/2016 09:59:09 AM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE

Date: 08/16/2016
ATTENDANCE
Time: 09:59 AM to 03:51 PM
Arndt
X
Baumgardner
X
Place: HCR 0112
Becker J.
X
Coram
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Donovan
X
Representative Vigil
Hodge
X
Mitsch Bush
X
This Report was prepared by
Sonnenberg
X
David Beaujon
Roberts
X
Vigil
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Call to Order

Water Well Inspection Program and Related Fees

Value and Measure of A Water Right

Republican River Water Conservation District

Graywater Use Research Legislation

South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Study

Water Loss Audit Report

Update of the 1921 Irrigation District Act

Division of Water Resources Legislation Proposal

Bill Drafting Process for Interim Committees

Requests for Draft Bills
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09:59 AM -- Call to Order



Representative Vigil called the committee to order.



10:00 AM -- Proposed Legislation Concerning Water Well Permit Fees and Well Inspection Program



Dick Brown, Colorado Water Well Contractors Association (CWWCA), discussed the regulation of water wells in Colorado. He explained that that the revenue from water well inspection fees has declined in recent years and and discussed the effect of this decline on the state's water well inspection program.



10:04 AM



Joe Meigs, Chairman of the CWWCA Legislative Committee, discussed the role of the CWWCA and described regulation of water wells in Colorado. The well inspection program was instituted for the protection of the ground water resources and public health through enforcement of minimum well construction and pump installation standards. The program was created under Senate Bill 03-045. The program involves the enforcement of the state laws concerning well construction and pump installation through well construction and pump installation inspection, complaint investigation, and education and outreach. He explained how well inspection fees are used to pay for well inspection and discussed declines in water well inspection fees related to declines in water well construction. He explained how the decline in fee revenue has reduced the number of inspector and well inspections. The program currently consists of a Chief Well Inspector and two well inspectors. When created, the program was to have 5 full-time inspectors. He identified the number of well permit application for the years 2000 through 2015 (Attachment A) and urged the committee to request legislation to change how the well inspection program is funded to allow the hiring of more inspectors.



Attachment A.pdfAttachment A.pdf



10:13 AM



Mr. Brown discussed the current well inspection fee and how these moneys are used to pay for the well inspection program. He urged the committee to request legislation to increase the well inspection fee to enable the state to hire additional well inspectors. It should also change State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors to an enterprise so that the well inspection fees can be exempt from the Tax Payors Bill of Rights, also known as TABOR.



10:18 AM



Mr. Meigs and Mr. Brown responded to questions from the committee about the proposed well inspection fee legislation.



10:21 AM -- Value and Measure of A Water Right



Dr. Reagan Waskom, Director, Colorado Water Institute (CWI), discussed efforts to help irrigators to increase water use efficiency. He explained that some water users have expressed concern about reducing diversions for conservation or efficiency purposes and the effect it may have on their water rights. To help address these concerns, the CWI published a report entitled: "How Diversion and Beneficial Use of Water Affect the Value and Measure of a Water Right. Is “Use It or Lose It” an Absolute?" (Attachment B).



Attachment B.pdfAttachment B.pdf



10:25 AM



Kevin Rein Deputy State Engineer, Division of Water Resources, discussed Colorado water law and the requirement to beneficially use water to maintain a water right. He explained that under Colorado's water law, "duty of water" is the amount of water that needs to be diverted to accomplish a beneficial use without waste. He explained how water rights are retained and how water rights are subject to loss for conditional water rights, administering an absolute water right, abandoning a water right, changing a water right, and applying intentional conservation to a water right or applying water to an undecreed use (Attachment C). He also discussed the impact of diverting more water than can be used beneficially on other water users and the environment. He responded to questions from the committee about the impact of diverting more water than can be used beneficially, the amount of water that may be transferred to other water uses under Colorado water law, and other issues.



Attachment C.pdfAttachment C.pdf



10:52 AM



Dr. Waskom responded to questions about the use of diversion records to quantify water rights and the effect of reduced diversion on other water users. He also discussed factors leading to increased use of sprinklers for agricultural irrigation, such as reduced labor costs, and the effect of such changes in irrigation practices on stream flows.



11:01 AM -- Republican River Water Conservation District



David Robbins, General Counsel, Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD), explained that the district was formed in 2004 to help reduce the impact of groundwater pumping on the Republican River and to enable Colorado to comply with the Republican River Compact. The boundaries of the RRWCD are established in Section 37-50-103, C.R.S. According to this law, "the district shall comprise the following area and territory of the state of Colorado: Phillips and Yuma counties and those portions of Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Sedgwick, and Washington counties within the Republican River Basin." He explained that a new hydrologic study has determined groundwater pumping outside the district's boundaries affects stream flows in the Republic River and may affect Colorado's ability to comply with the Republican River Compact. He distributed a map that identifies areas outside the current district boundaries where groundwater pumping can affect stream flows in the Republican River (Attachment D). He also explained how a fee collected by the district is used to help reduce the impact of pumping on downstream states. The district collects fees from water users based on the number of acres irrigated in the district and the amount of water pumped for municipal and commercial purposes.



Attachment D.pdfAttachment D.pdf



11:08 AM



Jim Lenz, representing himself, explained that he is an irrigator in Republican River Basin and a payer of the district's fees on irrigation. He urged the committee to support legislation to expand the district to ensure that all groundwater users who affect steam flows in the Republican River are treated fairly.



11:10 AM



Mr. Robbins responded to questions about the impact of groundwater pumping in the area outside the current district boundaries and how it affects stream flow in the Republican River. He also explained that there are 342 wells that could be effected by the expansion of the district.



11:18 AM



The committee recessed.



11:18 AM -- Proposed Legislation Concerning Graywater Use Research



The committee came back to order. Sybil Sharvelle, Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, explained that Aspen Hall on the CSU campus was built with graywater use capabilities for a pilot project. Graywater is a portion of the water used in a residential, commercial or industrial building that is collected after the first use and put to a second beneficial use. Aspen Hall's system is designed to use graywater from showers to flush toilets. However, the project is not authorized under current law. She proposed legislation to allow graywater use for research purposes.



11:40 AM



Theresa Conner, Colorado State University, discussed graywater use in Florida and federal regulation of research projects that involve humans. She also discussed the potential benefits of graywater use to address Colorado's growing water demand. Ms. Conner responded to questions from the committee about measures to ensure that graywater use does not impact public health.



11:47 AM



Pat Pfaltzgraff, Director, Water Quality Control Division, discussed the regulation of graywater use and responded to questions from the committee regarding the Water Quality Control Commission's rulemaking process. He explained that the Water Quality Control Commission adopted Regulation 86 concerning graywater control is 2015 to implement House Bill 13-1044 that authorized the commission to promulgate a regulation with standards for the use of graywater. Graywater is defined in the law as wastewater collected within a building from sources other than toilets and urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, and nonlaundry utility sinks. Under this law, counties and municipalities may adopt local legislation to allow graywater use.



11:53 AM



Ms. Sharvelle responded to questions from the committee about the health impacts of graywater use in the Aspen Hall.



11:56 AM



Melanie Criswell, Water Quality Control Division, responded to questions from the committee about the Water Quality Control Commission's rulemaking process and when it could consider revisions to its graywater use regulations.



12:01 PM



The committee recessed.





01:32 PM -- South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Study



The committee came back to order. Jeff Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Greenway Foundation, provided an overview of the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Feasibility Study. This study will identify and prioritize plans to restore the habitat and ecosystem as well as reduce the flood risk along critical reaches of the South Platte River. This study is a collaborative effort that is sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, City and County of Denver, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), and the Greenway Foundation.



01:34 PM



Peter Baertlein, Denver Public Works Department, explained that the areas addressed under the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Feasibility Study extend from 6th Avenue to 58th Avenue, as well as sections of Harvard Gulch, and Weir Gulch. He also identified funding for the study including the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the City and County of Denver (Attachment E).



Attachment E.pdfAttachment E.pdf



01:38 PM



David Bennetts, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), discussed the role of UDFCD and described the elements of the South Platte restoration and flood control project.



01:41 PM



Mr Baertlein discussed the Harvard Gulch and Weir Gulch elements of the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Feasibility Study. He also identified public outreach efforts related to these projects and identified potential funding mechanisms for the projects.



01:45 PM




Selena Klosowski, Denver Public Works Department, discussed the role of the department in the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Feasibility Study. She also identified components of the project to restore habitat, improve recreation, and mitigate floods.



01:48 PM



Gordon Robertson, Denver Parks and Recreation Department, identified improvements that are part of the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Project.



01:52 PM



Mr. Shoemaker discussed the 1965 South Platte flood and explained how it lead to large flood control projects, such as Cherry Creek Reservoir. He also explained how flood control projects enabled residential and commercial development along the South Platte River.



01:53 PM



Mr Baertlein discussed the next steps in the Denver County South Platte River Restoration and Flood Control Feasibility Study including efforts to identify funding for the project.



01:56 PM



The panel responded to questions from the committee about the benefits of development along the South Platte River that occurred in response to flood control and river restoration projects.



01:59 PM -- Water Loss Audit Report Performance Standards



Kevin Reidy, Water Conservation Technical Specialist for Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), discussed the development of water loss accounting and explained how water loss can impact budgets of water utilities. He explained that House Bill 10-1051 required the CWCB to adopt guidelines, with input from stakeholders, for water providers to report water use and conservation data for water supply planning. Since 2014, water providers have been required to report the data to the CWCB. He explained that California and Georgia enacted state laws that require water loss audit reports. He also discussed water loss audit workshops that are being conducted by the CWCB across the state to train water utilities in how to conduct such audits. He discussed the role of water loss in the water supply gap identified in the Statewide Water Supply Initiative and the Colorado Water Plan.



02:10 PM



Mr. Reidy explained how the CWCB uses the American Water Works Association M36 water loss methodology to train water providers about water audits and loss control programs. M36 offers water utilities a set of tools and approaches to instill accountability and control losses, including step-by-step procedures to conduct a water audit to assess the efficiency of the water distribution system and water accounting practices. It also provides specific techniques to identify, measure, and verify all water sources, consumption, and losses.



02:17 PM



Theresa Conley, Conservation Colorado, discussed the potential benefits of water loss audits to help Colorado meet the state's growing water demand. She also explained how water loss is addressed in the Colorado Water Plan and responded to questions from the committee about lost water and whether its available for other beneficial uses. In chapter 6 of the Colorado Water Plan, the CWCB identified water loss metering and audits as foundational water efficiency activities that every water utility should implement. Such activities include master-meter improvements to aid in reliably measuring water flow and properly accounting for water loss using the AWWA M36 water loss methodology.



02:28 PM



Paul Fanning, Pueblo Board of Water Works, explained the Water Supply Technical Advisory Group was formed to identify ways to increase municipal conservation and to help implement House Bill 10-1051. He also identified the benefits of water loss audits included reduced diversions, reduced costs for ratepayers, and other benefits.



02:40 PM



John Thornhill, Greeley Water and Sewer Department, discussed water loss recording and reporting in the City of Greeley's water conservation plan. He estimated that water loss for the city is approximately 6 percent over the previous 10 years and identified measures to reduce water loss in the city's water distribution system including leak detection and metering.




02:46 PM




Joe Burtard, Ute Water Conservancy District, explained that the district is the largest domestic water provider in western Colorado with over 80,000 customers and service boundaries that encompass approximately 260 square miles within Mesa County. He estimated that water loss for the district is approximately 6 percent and identified measures to reduce water loss in the district including leak detection and repair. He also explained that the district hosted AWWA's water loss workshop and identified the benefits and shortcomings of this program.



02:51 PM



Joe Stibrich, Aurora Water, identified mechanisms for water loss and discussed the city's efforts to reduce such losses. He also identified the impact of water loss including lost revenue and the need to acquire additional water supplies. He explained why Aurora Water opposed House Bill 16-1283 concerning water loss audit report performance standards. This bill, postponed indefinitely in the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee, would have required public entities that supply at least 2,000 acre-feet of water per year to its customers (covered entity), to submit a validated water loss audit report annually to the CWCB starting 2018 Beginning in 2020, the CWCB and the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority would have been required to consider a covered entity's water loss audit report when deciding whether to provide financial assistance to the covered entity. Mr. Stibrich estimated Aurora water loses between 4 to 6 percent annually from its system. He also discussed the benefits of the AWWA M36 water loss methodology and expressed concern about mandating specific methods for conducting water loss audits.





03:00 PM



Mike Fink, City of Fountain, discussed the contents of the city's water conservation plan and the state law that requires this plan. He also proposed improvements to the water conservation plan development process.



Mike Berry, General Manager, Tri-County Water Conservancy District, submitted a letter that explained the district reported a 5.8 percent water loss and that identified measures to control water losses (Attachment F). He also expressed concern about mandating water audits using the AWWA M36 water loss methodology.



Attachment F.pdfAttachment F.pdf



03:05 PM -- Update of the 1921 Irrigation District Act



Mark Hermundstad, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, discussed the provisions of the 1921 Irrigation District Act (Section 37-42-101 C.R.S., et seq.) and explained how the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District was formed under the act. The district is a 1921 irrigation district that operates the Orchard Mesa Division of the Grand Valley Project, a federal reclamation project located in Mesa County. It provides irrigation water to approximately 4,300 acres of land located in the Colorado River drainage with direct flow water rights dating back to 1900. He also identified provisions of the 1921 Irrigation District Act that should be amended to improve district operations.



03:09 PM



Kent Holsinger, Henrylyn Irrigation District, explained that the district is a 1905 irrigation district that owns various direct, storage, and exchange water rights dating back to 1907. It provides irrigation water to approximately 33,000 acres of land located in the South Platte drainage. He explained that many of the provisions of Irrigation District Law of 1921 have not been updated since it was originally enacted. He distributed a document that discusses the role of irrigation districts, (Attachment G) and (Attachment H).. He also identified provisions of the act that should be amended to improve district operations and distributed a draft bill to amend the act (Attachment I). Specifically, he requested that a bill be drafted to define landowners entitled to receive water from irrigation districts and vote in district elections; clarify qualifications of board members; update dollar figures; update provisions relating to the collection of irrigation assessments by county treasurers and how those assessments are paid to and held by irrigation districts; clarify that water in excess of that required for its landowners can be leased for all beneficial purposes; and remove inconsistencies between the 1921 Irrigation District Law and other statutes applicable to irrigation districts



Attachment G.pdfAttachment G.pdf Attachment H.pdfAttachment H.pdf Attachment I.pdfAttachment I.pdf



03:14 PM



Mr. Holsinger responded to questions from the committee about the proposed legislation and discussed the differences between districts formed under the the 1921 Irrigation District Act and the 1905 Irrigation District Act.



03:19 PM -- Division of Water Resources Legislation Proposal



Scott Cuthbertson, Deputy State Engineer, Division of Water Resources, explained that in 2015, the division requested legislation to repeal certain statutory fees collected by the state engineer, including fees related to the filing of maps, judicial decrees, and certificates with the State Engineer's Office (SEO), and the copying of maps and records stored at the SEO. It also would have authorized the state engineer to set by rule these fees, and other fees related to the State Engineer's general duties. The bill draft was not recommended by the Water Resources Review Committee to Legislative Council. Mr. Cuthbertson requested that the committee recommend similar legislation to amend Section 37-80-133, C.R.S., concerning fees collected by the Division of Water Resources (Attachment J). However, unlike the 2015 bill request, Mr. Cuthbertson did not request provisions to authorize the State Engineer to set fees by rule. He also responded to questions from the committee about the proposed bill.



Attachment J.pdfAttachment J.pdf



03:36 PM -- Bill Drafting Process for Interim Committees



Tom Morris, Managing Senior Attorney for the Office of Legislative Legal Services, explained that the General Assembly adopted House Joint Resolution 16-1024 that changed the bill request process for interim committees.



03:37 PM



Jennifer Berman, Staff Attorney for the Office of Legislative Legal Services, discussed the requirement for the Water Resources Review Committee (WRRC) to recommend draft legislation to the Legislative Council (Attachment K). She explained that each bill recommended by the WRRC must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the committee members, or at least seven members. The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council's guidelines for interim committees require that at least a majority of the committee membership approve a bill in concept prior to requesting a bill draft. Requests for draft bills must occur during a single committee meeting set for requesting legislation. Bill requests must be made at least 35 days before the final meeting to allow sufficient time for drafting, the preparation of a fiscal note, and final consideration by the committee. Pursuant to Joint Rule 24 (b)(1)(E), committee members must make drafting information available at the meeting at which the members request bills or must submit such information to the bill drafter within three calendar days of the meeting. Failure to submit the drafting information prior to the deadline will be deemed as a withdrawal of the bill request. Ms. Berman explained that the deadlines to provide drafting information for approved bill to bill drafters is August 19. The deadline to finalize bill requests is September 6. On Tuesday, September 20, the WRRC will vote on final recommendations to Legislative Council. Legislative Council will meet on Friday, October 14 to consider bills recommended by interim committees.



Attachment K.pdfAttachment K.pdf



03:41 PM -- Requests for Draft Bills



Representative Vigil invited members of the Water Resources Review Committee to request draft legislation.

BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:42:33 PM
MOVED: Mitsch Bush
MOTION: Moved to request a join resolution to urge the Department of Interior to cooperate with Division of Parks and Wildlife and private owners for control of aquatic nuisance species. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Coram
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection
BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:44:41 PM
MOVED: Becker J.
MOTION: Moved to draft a bill to authorize the Colorado Water Conservation Board to provide moneys for dredging reservoirs in the South Platte Basin. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Sonnenberg
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection
BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:45:41 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Moved to draft a bill to update 1921 Irrigation District Act (Section 37-42-101, C.R.S., et seq). The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Hodge
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection
BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:46:08 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Moved to draft a bill to exempt certain graywter research from graywater use regulations. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Vigil
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection






BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:46:40 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Move to draft a bill increase water well inspection fees. The motion passed on a vote of 6-3.
SECONDED: Donovan
VOTE
Arndt
Yes
Baumgardner
No
Becker J.
No
Coram
No
Donovan
Yes
Hodge
Yes
Mitsch Bush
Yes
Sonnenberg
Yes
Roberts
Excused
Vigil
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 3 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:48:31 PM
MOVED: Sonnenberg
MOTION: Moved to draft a bill to expand the boundaries of the Republican River Water Conservation District. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Baumgardner
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection




BILL: Requests for Draft Bills
TIME: 03:49:12 PM
MOVED: Donovan
MOTION: Moved to draft a bill to cleanup statutes that authorize the Division of Water Resources to collect obsolete fees. The motion passed without objection.
SECONDED: Mitsch Bush
VOTE
Arndt
Baumgardner
Becker J.
Coram
Donovan
Hodge
Mitsch Bush
Sonnenberg
Roberts
Vigil
YES: 0 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: Pass Without Objection





03:51 PM



The committee adjourned.