Diverse multi-year or one-time projects
Martin and Wood assists clients with their water resource and water rights-related technical projects. Our work ranges from multi-year projects which go through water court and multiple administrative approvals to one-time analyses of water quality and well performance.
Here's a sampling of some of the notable and diverse projects we've done.
Water Supply and Storage Company
In 2007 the City of Greeley filed an application to change 22.5 shares in the Water Supply and Storage Company (WSSC), which diverts water off the Cache la Poudre River in Division 1. There had been a prior change of 47.23 percent of the outstanding shares in WSSC by the City of Thornton that was litigated in water court and several issues were ultimately decided by the Colorado Supreme Court. Despite the fact that there was some precedence from the prior change of WSSC shares in the Thornton case, Greeley’s WSSC change was complex and it took 7 years to obtain a decree. There were over 20 objectors in this case and Greeley was able to settle with all the objectors without going to Water Court. M&W provided extensive engineering support in this case to quantify the diversion records and historical consumptive use of Greeley’s WSSC shares from 1950 to 2007, and to develop terms and conditions to prevent injury to other water rights. M&W provided expert witness support in this case which required multiple meetings and extensive negotiations with objectors and their engineers and attorneys to result in the final decree.
Pete Lien & Sons, Inc. – Sand and Gravel Pit Investigation
A hydrogeologic field investigation was performed in support of a groundwater flow model that was developed by Martin and Wood Water Consultants, Inc. (M&W) for Pete Lien & Sons. The purpose of the groundwater flow model was to develop dewatering plan activities at an existing mine and to determine estimated dewatering rates that are required to effectively dewater the various pit cells. The hydrogeologic investigation was performed to develop site specific hydraulic parameters for incorporation into the groundwater flow model.
The activities conducted as part of the hydrogeologic investigation included Hydraulic Profile Testing (HPT) and Pneumatic Slug Testing (slug testing). An additional electrical conductivity bore was also conducted to evaluate the depth to shale at a previously mined location. The HPT is a direct push probe that is advanced into unconsolidated sediments to assess formation permeability, which is used to develop estimated hydraulic conductivity, and hydrostratigraphy. Slug testing is performed through a pneumatic head installed on the direct push probe, along with a pressure transducer. Using this set-up, slug testing can be performed without having to complete monitoring wells, thus saving significant time and money, as data can be collected in significantly less time.
The results of this investigation not only provided the necessary data to construct the dewatering model, but also provided valuable information regarding the volume of aggregate reserves in the mining area. The investigation data led to the realization that depth and thickness of the reserve varied much more than expected throughout a relatively small footprint.
CBM Work in Central Raton Basin
As part of our work for four CBM producers in the Raton Basin, in southern Colorado, Martin and Wood developed multiple one-year Substitute Water Supply Plans (SWSPs) that required replacement of the depletions to the Purgatoire and Apishapa Rivers caused by pumping of CBM wells in producing areas of the Raton and Vermejo Formations where the groundwater was considered tributary. The depletion calculations were carried out utilizing the Central Raton Basin Groundwater Flow Model and considered the actual historical water pumping for over 2,000 producing tributary wells and projected pumping for newly constructed or planned wells potentially placed into production during the SWSP plan year. Once the depletion volumes were obtained, the SWSP application indicating how out-of-priority depletions would be replaced was prepared and submitted to the Division of Water Resources for review and approval each year. This required working with the Division to develop acceptable accounting forms and reporting procedures. Following the approval of the SWSPs, Martin and Wood was responsible for interfacing with the CBM Producers, Division Engineer, and local Water Commissioners for administration and implementation of the SWSP.
Martin and Wood continues to work for the CBM Producers regarding augmentation supplies, storage ponds, calculation of depletions, and the long-term plan to prevent injury to senior water rights holders through an augmentation plan currently pending in Case No. 10CW02, Division 2.
Bluff Lake Nature Center
Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages a unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver. The refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants, which thrive in a variety of habitats.
Each year, nearly 5,000 area elementary students visit Bluff Lake as part of our mission “to foster environmental education and stewardship at Bluff Lake, a unique urban wildlife refuge.” Thousands of visitors come to Bluff Lake each year to enjoy a few moments of solace and connection to nature.
The Center includes Bluff Lake, a shallow 8-acre body of water whose supply derives chiefly from two storm water drainage outfalls, and, as such is intermittent. In 2014 Martin and Wood chose to lend a hand to the Center, pro bono, in its efforts to obtain a reliable supply of water to enhance the enjoyment of the Center by both wildlife and people.
Water Rights Engineering
Colorado’s First Approved Rotational Leasing Fallowing Pilot Project
In January 2015, the Colorado Water Conservation Board approved the first Rotational Fallowing Leasing Pilot Project under HB 13-1248 (codified at C.R.S. § 37-60-115(8)). The approved Catlin Pilot Project is a ten-year pilot project that will involve the rotational fallowing of approximately 1,200 acres irrigated under the Catlin Canal in the Arkansas River Basin to generate up to 500 acre-feet of water available for lease to three municipal participants. The Catlin Pilot Project will be operated by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and the Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Company, Inc. Alternative transfer methods such as rotational fallowing are a key component of the Colorado Water Plan.
Martin and Wood is providing the water resources and water rights technical expertise on this project which provides a way to increase water available to municipal suppliers without permanently drying up agricultural land. Work includes calculation of historical consumptive use, review of aerial photographs, working with ditch riders, complicated water rights accounting, projection of water supplies, maintenance of return flow obligations, implementation of a Pay As You Go strategy, and extensive coordination between water attorneys, State water officials, other water users in the Arkansas River Basin, and ditch company employees.