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As elsewhere in Colorado, a minimum streamflow water right was filed in the late 1970s. That water right, in accordance with the law used in Colorado and many other states of the West, is catalogued in a legal system called the prior appropriate doctrine. In other words, those that are oldest have the first rights. As such, the water right filed in the 1970s to ensure water for fish and other aquatic life is still junior to water rights filed by ranchers a century ago, for example.
But this water right for fish is senior to some of the newer users, such as those for residential development.
This is the first time the right has been imposed on the river. Even three years ago, when the river was running extremely low, due to drought, state water authorities did not issue the "call." Just why they failed to do so was subject to considerable discussion, but never any formal explanation from state authorities.
Although weather conditions this year have seemed good, in fact they have been dry, explained Dave Merritt, chief engineer with the Colorado River Water Conservation District. The lowest-flow period is from September until January.
Putting a lid on its street lights
TELLURIDE, Colo. Telluride was the first town in the country to get rid of its gas street lights. Nonetheless, like so many towns, it has acorn-shaped globes that are meant to resemble old-time gas lights.
Trouble is, those acorn-shaped street lights illuminate the sky and adjacent mountain slopes better than they do the street. To force the illumination to the ground, where it will do some good, the lamp posts are being retrofitted with pagoda-like fixtures. The new fixtures, explains The Telluride Watch, bounce 50 per cent more light to the street and none directly to the sky and adjoining hills or second-floor bedrooms.
Biodiesel reduces pollution
TRUCKEE, Calif. A Ford F-250 pickup is among the most polluting vehicles on the planet. It gets only 12 to 16 miles per gallon, and if it burns diesel, it emits an awful lot of particulates that can get into lungs.
So the news in Truckee of a man who is reducing his polluting ways by mixing in biodiesel is only the silver lining of a dark, dark cloud.
Like in the movie called "French Fries to Go," produced in Telluride three years ago, this employee of an architectural firm uses the cooking oil from a Chinese restaurant to create biodiesel. Because biodiesel congeals in colder temperatures found in mountain towns, most people dilute their regular diesel by only 20 per cent.