Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Treasurer Wayne Whittaker passed away Monday of this week. Chairman Lynden Gill and others paid tribute to Whittaker's knowledge of all things water and unerring integrity.
Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Treasurer Wayne Whittaker passed away Monday of this week. Chairman Lynden Gill and others paid tribute to Whittaker's knowledge of all things water and unerring integrity. Director Leroy Mauch recalled the time when all the directors except Whittaker voted for a measure and Whittaker was the one who was right. Chairman Gill agreed that although Whittaker appeared mild-mannered, he was tough on the inside. Bill Hancock, who grew up in Rocky Ford, said Whittaker's contributions were so vast they were hard to enumerate. Also, a lot of the data from the Melinski books was contributed by Whittaker, so he did contribute his knowledge to the writing of a book.
The board members reappointed were sworn in by Attorney Bart Mendenhall. They are Jim Valliant, Leroy Mauch and Anthony Nunez, all returning members of the board.
Mike Weber's presentation on Fountain Creek Flows at the Arkansas River was well supported with data from 1948 to the present. He said the major turning point in heavier flows was 1982, when the rainfall increased and also the population in El Paso county started growing at a very rapid rate. Director Mauch wondered if asphalt vs. concrete has an effect on the runoff, but Weber's data was based on rainfall and population only.
Roy Vaughan of the United States Geological Service presented figures for snowpack and water stored at Turquoise, Twin Lakes and Pueblo Reservoir. The snowpack is good, above average but less than last year, likewise the reservoirs. As of Feb. 13, 239,2254 acre-feet are stored in Pueblo; 146,179 a/f of project water; 40,646 a/f of excess capacity water; 52,427 a/f of winter water; 99,194 a/f of project space in Pueblo; 53,011 a/f of project space in Twin and Turquoise. Winter and excess water will have to be emptied by April 16.
Attorney Peter Nichols explained the importance of the litigation with the Environmental Protection Agency over the question of whether or not the physical water transfers must meet specifications for quality of water. Because the water transfers must run through terrain or through mountains, they will pick up contaminants when they come to the point of discharge, and that point, ordinarily, is in a very inconvenient spot to construct a water purification plant. Water transfers have, till now, been considered a matter of state oversight, not federal. Nichols and the western states who depend on water transfers would like to keep it that way.
Mauch asked if agriculture would be affected by stronger enforcement of water quality standards. Nichols said no, at the present time, agriculture is exempt. However, Winner urged the farmers to attend the water quality meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Otero Junior College. "It's better to stay ahead of problems," said Winner.