Workshop begins water discussion

MARTY ROBBINS, water commissioner for the McElmo Creek Basin, speaks at the Water 101 workshop on Saturday. About 75 people were on hand to learn and ask questions. Enlargephoto

JEANNE ARCHAMBEAULT/TIMES

MARTY ROBBINS, water commissioner for the McElmo Creek Basin, speaks at the Water 101 workshop on Saturday. About 75 people were on hand to learn and ask questions.

The water workshop at the Mancos Community Center, hosted by the Mancos Conservation District, attracted around 75 people, both in town and rural landowners. Lots of information was given out by organization directors and Power Point presentations gave the audience much to think about.

Gary Kennedy, superintendent of the Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) , started the day off with a talk about the organization and what it does for the Mancos Valley. He gave information and statistics about Jackson Gulch Reservoir - how much water it can hold, what it holds now, and where the water comes from. He said the MWCD is #36 priority for water and can capture about 250 cubic feet of water from the Mancos River between March and May. The MWCD fills water priorities as they come up and are called in.

The MWCD had a study conducted a few years ago, he said, to see how much storage the reservoir would increase by raising the level of the dam. "They found out that by adding five feet to the dam, or 1,000 acre feet to the reservoir, it would cost $4 to $5 million," Kennedy said.

Mary Robbins, Department of Water Resources, and water commissioner for the McElmo Creek Basin, answered questions from the audience. He was joined by Wally Patchek, water commissioner for the Mancos River Basin, and Doug Pickering. Questions were asked such as the difference between appropriation and adjudication, what kinds of water there are, stored water, priorities, gas exploration and it's relation to water, water rights, rainwater, gray water and instream flow.

Brandon Bell, of Mancos Rural Water, and Robin Schmittel, Town of Mancos, also fielded questions.

Mike Rich, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) gave a talk about what's been going on in the last 10 years with the Mancos River and the watershed that surrounds it.

Then, Kirsten Brown, of the Colorado Department of Reclamation Mining and Safety, and Cathy Zillich, of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave an extensive talk about the East Mancos River and the mining impacts on it. Ann Oliver talked about the Middle Mancos River and the management measures they are doing.

George San Miguel talked about the part of the Mancos River that runs through Mesa Verde National Park, and Colin Laird, a water quality specialist, talked about the lower watershed on the Ute Mountain Ute land.

The workshop was the beginning of an an ongoing discussion. There will be more workshops and informational sessions to come.