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Chris Outcalt

Chris Outcalt covers Western water issues for The Colorado Sun. He began his journalism career in New Hampshire, then moved West and became a reporter at the Lafayette News. He also was an associate editor at 5280 and a reporter for the Vail Daily. His freelance work has appeared in The Atlantic, Wired and Atavist. He is a recipient of the Livingston Award. Chris lives in Carbondale.

A headshot of reporter Chris Outcalt

Colorado to release draft of new water plan, calling it a blueprint for the state’s future

The new version of the Colorado Water Plan eyes collaborative ways to address water shortages projected to 2050

Water

Colorado River water use may have to be slashed by a quarter to avert crisis, federal official warns

Drought and other climate factors have already slowed the flow in Colorado and other Upper Basin states. Some water managers say cuts must come below Hoover Dam.

Water

A project looking to move water from Utah to Colorado’s Front Range gets new funding, partner

Water Horse Resources CEO Aaron Million is still eyeing a Green River pipeline, which critics dismiss as a “silly idea”

Water

The Ute Mountain Ute can’t access their Colorado River water rights. Here’s how the tribal chairman is trying to change that.

A conversation about water with the Ute Mountain Ute tribal chairman

Water

How much water is lost in the transfer between Flaming Gorge and Lake Powell?

The Upper Colorado River Commission plans to study the transit losses as part of the 2022 Drought Operations Plan.

Water

Farmers in northeast Colorado didn’t benefit from the snow, rain that just hit the rest of the state 

Northern Colorado ditch companies say they are in need of more water

Water

Hydropower is 53% of the renewable energy supply in the West. Drought is slowing down production.

Tri-State Generation, the largest hydropower customer on the Colorado River system, says it has enough other sources of energy to make up for less hydro production.

Water

Even less water is now forecast to flow into Lake Powell this year, report says

The final NOAA forecast for the season predicts the amount of water to reach Lake Powell this year to be about 60% of average.

Water

Will massive Western wildfires leave more or less water in rivers?

Scientists at Colorado State University and elsewhere in the West are poking and prodding for clues into how wildfire impacts water supply.

Water

Bureau of Reclamation announces “extraordinary action” to protect Lake Powell this year

Top officials spoke Tuesday about the dire situation facing the Colorado River Basin

Water

Flaming Gorge’s upcoming water release could be good news for endangered Colorado River Basin fish

Details are still being finalized, but the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program now plans to conduct additional research this year

Water

Drought, climate change push Eagle County to rebuild a scuttled dam, as growth brings water needs

A plan to revive Bolts Lake in Minturn could provide an additional 1,200 acre-feet of water storage

Water

500,000 acre-feet of water will be released from Flaming Gorge reservoir in Wyoming to protect Lake Powell

Blue Mesa near Gunnison is for the moment safe from letting more water go, but Colorado River Drought Operations Plan says that could change

Water

Interior Department may limit Lake Powell water releases to protect infrastructure, hydropower production

The potential plan would not immediately impact Colorado water users, but it’s another sign of the challenges facing the Colorado River

Water

The Colorado River Basin looks to be locking in another dry year 

April NOAA forecast predicts the water headed for Lake Powell will be around two-thirds of average

Water

Colorado River Basin hydropower revenue could be down 38%, forcing environmental programs to seek funding elsewhere

The Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Program, which is helping four species recover, gets majority of its funding from hydropower sales

Water

Punished by drought, some southwest Colorado farmers survived 2021 on 10% of their normal water supply

Last year’s dry conditions made it difficult for farmers in southwest Colorado — they’re hoping they can make it through what could be another tough year.

Water

Colorado hits a “hard pause” on water demand management as it waits for other states to catch up

The Colorado Water Conservation Board wants to instead focus on what can be done to help Colorado water users this year

Water

A shrinking county on the Western Slope wants to grow with the help of a new dam. Some say “No, thanks.”

Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District hopes to build an off-channel dam at Wolf Creek and pump river water north to fill it. A nearby landowner and river groups say it’s the wrong idea at the worst time.

Water

Lake Powell outlook “substantially worse” than predictions after water level falls below target elevation

It’s not looking to be a good season for boating on Blue Mesa — if there’s a season at all

Water
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