Recently at Aspen Journalism, our Water Desk broke news on two fronts — a state of Colorado proposal to tighten regulations guiding stream restoration projects, as well as the criteria officials have put forward to screen proposals for water-conservation funding. We also covered a recent scientific study of the disastrous 2021 runoff, where a near-normal snowpack translated to well-below-average water levels flowing into rivers. Blame an April heat wave and dry soils. Meanwhile, our ongoing data trackers covering local COVID-19 trends and streamflow and snowpack metrics kept you up to date.
We also posted our write up from the Jan. 5 event we hosted with author Ted Conover, whose works of immersive journalism are renowned for their empathetic and nuanced portrayals of seemingly impenetrable subcultures. Full audio and video of the talk is included on the post.
Thank you for reading, and supporting, Aspen Journalism.
– Curtis Wackerle
Editor and executive director
Going to extremes to get the story
By Curtis Wackerle | February 2, 2023
“I’m attracted to people living in ways my friends don’t know about or understand,” Conover said. “Aspen is a bit of an exception to that rule, but it is an extremity, so I was attracted to Aspen for the same reason.”
State officials draft bill on stream restoration
By Heather Sackett | February 3, 2023
Although these projects benefit the environment, improve water quality and create resiliency against wildfires and climate change, keeping water on the landscape for longer could potentially have impacts to downstream water users.
River District considers criteria for water conservation program
Contracts approved only if no new projects take water to Front Range
By Heather Sackett | January 20, 2023
The policy says that Front Range water providers — which in total take about 500,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water each year across the Continental Divide to growing cities and for agriculture — must also contribute their fair share of water.
Scientists studying water supply focus on weeks following peak snowpack
April forecasts may no longer be reliable benchmark
By Heather Sackett | January 19, 2023
But according to the paper, in 2021, “rates of snowmelt throughout April were alarming and quickly worsened summer runoff outlooks which underscores that 1 April may no longer be a reliable benchmark for western water supply.”
Tracking the Curve
Eagle County has reported 33 new COVID-19 cases since last week. Garfield County has added 30 cases, while Pitkin County has recorded six cases since Jan. 25.
By Laurine Lassalle | February 2, 2023
The state vaccination bus will be in Carbondale on Feb. 2, El Jebel on Feb. 3 and Glenwood Springs on Feb. 4.
Data dashboard: Roaring Fork basin snowpack at 128% of average
Lake Powell’s water levels keep going down, reaching an elevation of 3,523.6 feet on Jan. 29
By Laurine Lassalle | February 1, 2023
• Lake Powell’s elevation down to 3,523.6 feet on Jan. 29. That’s 1.4 feet below the target elevation of 3,525 feet.
• Snowpack at Indy Pass reached 102% of average on Jan. 29 with a SWE of 10 inches.
• McClure Pass recorded a SWE of 15.8 inches, or 156.4% of average on Jan. 29.
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