Water Resources Facility Manager, City of Boulder
For 20 years 52 year-old Craig Skeie has managed the City of Boulder raw water supply, tracked and accounted for water rights for the City, and made source-water decisions daily based on water demands of municipal water users. So what does Craig actually do?
Craig snowmobiles into the Boulder Watershed and takes snow measurements once a month from February to May, to forecast what Boulder's water supply will be for the coming year. Craig also has to snowmobile 4 miles in to Silver Lake about 5 times a week during the winter to change gate valves up at the reservoir. This is because Silver Lake is a large percentage of Boulder's winter water supply, because water demands are constantly changing, and because Boulder can only store one day's worth of treated water. Craig also decides when to fill Barker Reservoir, based on measurements from the creeks flowing in to Barker and calls for water from downstream users in the Platte Basin. During the summer, Craig and his family care-take the Silver Lake watershed and supervise a crew of teenagers who work there. "I was one of those teenagers 35 years ago," says Craig. "That's how I found out about this sweet job. It is the best job ever!"
So what does Craig's job have to do with ditches? Craig's snow-pack measurements and water supply forecasts give ditch companies an idea about what kind of water year to expect. Farmers decide when and what to plant based on what water they think will be available. Craig's management of Barker is inter-related with calls for water from ditches that may be junior or senior to the City's water rights. He has to work closely with the Water Commissioner to make sure enough water is going through the system to satisfy downstream users. Craig also works closely with the Silver Lake Ditch, which has storage rights to Silver Lake Reservoir.
"The one thing I like to tell people is there is no such thing as an average year," says Craig. "There is a lot of variability. A year falls on one side or the other, but it is never average."