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Frequently Asked Questions

Cost Go To Top

How additional subscribers can help bring down costs for everyone

Difference between Blue (Primary) and Orange (Reserve) is cost of water.  Orange represents Monthly Base Rate.

Don’t have enough money for subscription fee but want to sign up? We can help.

If you can come up with $3,000 or more of the current $10,000 subscription fee before the July 10, 2017 deadline, we will work with you so you can make monthly payments to pay off the balance over no more than 56 months. In addition to the payments toward your subscription fee, you’ll also need to pay the monthly costs applicable to your subscription when service is available for your property.  The easiest and simplest way to reduce costs for EVERYONE on the system is to get additional subscribers at this point in time. By getting more subscribers, the fixed amount of the USDA loan payment will be shared by more people than those currently signed up, which will lower costs for EVERYONE.

What makes up the monthly rate?

Monthly Base Rate – 1) Debt Service, infrastructure, operation & administrative costs that it takes to provide you water service. 2) Water Usage Fee – cost for treatment and pumping for metered amount of water that you use during a billing cycle, applied per 1,000 gallons.

What are the current estimated monthly costs as of June 21, 2017

The monthly base rate cannot determined exactly at this time; our current estimate of monthly base rate is about $118 with a water usage fee of $7.50 per 1,000 gallons of water used in a month. The monthly base rate applies to both Primary and Reserve Subscribers, with Primary Subscribers paying the water usage fee as well.  We expect these numbers to go down as we get additional subscribers and finalize negotiations with other entities. Please keep checking back for new rate updates.

How much do I have to pay when I sign up for Phase 1

Click on the table below for current costs and due dates, based on the present project schedule.

water-user-fee-table-july-2016

What is my incentive for signing up now?

You will enjoy large savings by signing up now.  After design deadline and/or construction, fees could be significantly over $12,000 to connect to our system. The problem is once the system is designed there is only so much capacity designed into the pipe/system that to add an additional tap maybe cost prohibitive or impossible.  Our funding agency limits potential growth to the system.

System cost compared to hauling water

Having water delivered to you is more expensive than the water system would be. Board member Ken Spence spends about the same amount as the currently estimated monthly base rate hauling water from Durango, with no allowance for the time he spends hauling water.

When will system service be available and when will monthly cost be billed?

We anticipate the project going to bid sometime this fall, with construction taking about a year for Phase 1, so service and billing would begin sometime in the fall or winter of 2018.

Who pays the cost of connecting my home to the system?

Individuals will be responsible for the cost of connecting the system tap to their home or the Lateral Service Line.  This will include earthwork, labor and materials (i.e. pipeline, check valve, pressure regulator and back flow preventer (for wells connected to the system).  The estimated cost is $600 but this may vary considerably dependent on your location, distance from the system pipeline, soil composition and a number of other variables.  LPWWA will determine the specifications for the meter, materials to be used; the meter pit and its equipment will be property of LPWWA. The Lateral Service Line shall become real property appurtenant to the Parcel designated in the Subscriber’s Water User Agreement.

I don’t have enough money to pay for the subscription fee, but I still want to sign up for service. Where can I borrow funds for the subscription fee?

LPWWA requested proposals from local financial institutions in early 2014. We received responses from Community Banks of Colorado, First National Bank of Durango, Wells Fargo Bank and Southwest Federal Credit Union of Colorado indicating a willingness to work with individuals to loan funds for subscription fees, with requirements and terms typically depending on the borrower’s creditworthiness.

USDA Rural Development Home Improvement Grants & Loans For those who are elderly or low income property owners who occupy their property, loan/grant funds may be available through USDA Rural Development Home Improvement Grants & Loans program. Loans of up to $20,000 are available with repayment schedules over 20 years at 1% interest rates. A mortgage agreement is required for loans of $7,500 or more. Grants of up to $7,500 or loan/grant packages are available to property owners 62 year of age or older, but must be repaid if the property is sold within three years of obtaining the loan. See http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-RR_Loans_Grants.html, and/or directly call Nicky McCoy at the USDA offices in Delta Colorado at 970-874-5735 for more details.
Housing Solutions for the Southwest A program that helps with those much needed repairs on your home.  Please Call Christina Cordalis at 970-259-1086 x17 for details about how to apply. swhousingsolutions.com

Sign Up Go To Top

What is the deadline for signing up at the current Subscription Fee?

July 10, 2017

YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO SIGN WITH HELP  WILL BE JULY 8, 2017, when Board members will be available at the Breen Community Building between 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM to answer your questions and help you become part of the system.

Are you one who doesn’t want to participate until you see the pipes going in the ground?

We currently have enough subscribers for Phase 1 to proceed so the phase can be built with pipes in the ground.  However, the more that sign up before the project enters final design and bid, the less costly it will  for everyoneIf you are interested in water from the system at any time, this is the best and least expensive time for you to sign-up.   See “Can I sign up after the deadline?”, on the next page of this document. If you wait until the pipes are in the ground, it will cost you more.

Can I sign up after the deadline?

Yes, subject to the following:

  1. You are willing to pay the new subscription fee as of July 11, 2017 of $12,000.
  2. After final design is complete, limited additional subscriptions can be added based on the size of installed pipeline at any given location. If there is enough capacity in the pipe nearest you, then you can be added.  As mentioned previously, more subscriptions before the deadline will help increase these capacities.
  1. You are willing to pay for possible additional cost to get a system pipeline to your property, which could include paying for a pipe to be extended or enlarged. This cost would be determined on a case by case basis considering the desired service location relative to the distance and capacity of the nearest installed pipeline.

When can I sign up to get water for Phase 1?

You can sign up NOW by calling (970) 403-5790 to see if it is possible and to get details.

Click Subscription Fee Table to Enlarge.

water-user-fee-table-july-2016

What is my incentive for signing up now?

You will enjoy large savings by signing up now.  After design deadline and/or construction, fees could be significantly over $12,000 to connect to our system. The problem is once the system is designed there is only so much capacity designed into the pipe/system that to add an additional tap maybe cost prohibitive or impossible.  Our funding agency limits potential growth to the system.

What will the tap fee be for future phase?

They are unknown at this time but as each new phase starts construction then we will work on the next phase price.

Easements Go To Top

Where will the easement be located?

Usually parallel to the roadway unless you and LPWWA agreed upon something else.  It will be pin marked at least 2 days prior to digging.

What will my property look like when you are done?

Restoration work will be done to restore the disturbed area to as good or better condition than it was prior to excavation. Driveways and fences will likewise be restored as close as possible to original or better condition.

Where will my water meter be located?

Your meter will be located just inside your property line, adjacent to the service line.

What if I have something like trees, buildings, fence, etc. that I don’t want disturbed?

We would like you to let us know sooner rather than later so let us work together and come up with a final route that works for you.

What will the final easement size be?

30’ unless otherwise agreed upon between you and LPWWA. We are happy to meet with you by phone or site visit to discuss your concerns.

Wells Go To Top

Can I still drill a new well for domestic purposes?

Per Colorado Division of Water Resource rules, future home builders or subdivisions in the service area will be required to connect to the LPWWA system or receive a Letter of Exemption from LPWWA in order to drill a well.

Can I continue to use my well for domestic purposes and connect to the system?

You may still connect to the system, but state health department requires that if you still use well water, you are responsible for installation of a backflow prevention device, regular monitoring and fees to ensure the backflow is functioning properly.

Can I continue to use my well for non-domestic purposes and connect to the system?

Yes! If your well does not connect to any of the plumbing that is served by the water supply system, it will not be affected.  You may continue to use your well for irrigation, livestock and other purposes if there is no connection to the water supply system.

Can I continue to use my well and not connect to the system?

Yes!  All existing wells are ‘grandfathered’ in and will not be affected if you choose not to participate in the water supply system.

Misc. Go To Top

Acronyms

LPWWA - La Plata West Water Authority
LDWA - Lake Durango Water Authority
SUIT - Southern Ute Indian Tribe
UMUT - Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
CWCB - Colorado Water Conservation Board
USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture
SWCD - Southwestern Water Conservation District
SWF - State Water Fund
CDBG - Community Development Block Grant
ALP - Animas La Plata Project
RFP - Request for Proposals
LPWCD - La Plata Water Conservancy District
ALPWCD - Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
CWRPDA - Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
CDPHE - Colorado Department of Health and Environment
DOLA - Department of Local Affairs

I don’t see a question I have answered here.

Please contact one of the board members to answer any questions you may have.

Option to haul water from LPWWA system

Due to a number of factors, the board has tabled the discussion of a water dock, but will revisit this issue after we have bids for Phase 1.

Is LPWWA working with the Lake Durango Water Authority on the project?

Yes,  Lake Durango Water Authority is building the pipeline at a cost of 2.8 million in exchange for use of our capacity in the intake structure and pipeline.

What is the history and background of the project?

In the early 2000’s subsequent to the final determination to downsize the Animas-La Plata Project (ALP) and eliminate irrigation water for western La Plata County as originally planned, the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District (ALPWCD) created a task force group to learn more about the options for developing a rural domestic water system for Western La Plata County. This task force eventually became the La Plata West Water Company, which received initial funding from the ALPWCD to engage an engineer for preliminary review and design. Work by this group continued through the late fall of 2007, when it was determined that the highest priority at that time was to develop a means to obtain water from Lake Nighthorse without pumping from the base of the dam. The concept for the intake structure was developed and in December of 2007, through sponsorship of the ALPWCD and the La Plata Water Conservancy District (LPWCD), the La Plata West Water Authority (LPWWA) was created to build the intake structure before the ALP reservoir filled. The LPWWA Board engaged EPC Corporation on a design/build basis to build the intake structure. An initial design was developed and a proposal was made to the Southwest Basin Roundtable group.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board/Water Supply Reserve Grants program, through both the Southwest and State Roundtable groups approved a grant proposal for a total of $1.1 million that served as seed money for construction of the intake structure. With this funding committed, proposals were made to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (SUIT) and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The SUIT eventually agreed to commit $3,000,000 with the UMUT committing $1,500,000 toward the project from ALP Project Resource Funds. Construction on the intake structure began in the fall of 2008 and was completed in July of 2009. Additional funding from the Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD) and assistance from the Colorado Water and Power Development Authority (CWPRDA) enabled the completion of the intake structure and continued operation of LPWWA.

 

With the completion of the intake structure, focus shifted to the development of a treated water distribution system for all of Western La Plata County, exclusive of the area served by the Lake Durango Water Authority (LDWA). A USDA Rural Development application was completed and submitted in late 2011 based on a preliminary engineering design to provide service to approximately 650 locations based on the commitments received by property owners in the spring and early summer of 2010. Funding for the $34 million estimated cost for the comprehensive project was not available. LPWWA engaged Bartlett & West Engineers in January of 2013. A phased project plan has been developed in conjunction with a collaborative effort between LPWWA, LDWA, SUIT and UMUT to construct a raw water pipeline from the LPWWA intake structure to Lake Durango. Under this collaboration, LDWA will have access to additional source water for its customers and will utilize excess capacity in the LDWA treatment plant to treat water for initial phases of the LPWWA distribution system. The two initial phases of the LPWWA distribution system are generally south of CR 141 and east of the La Plata River, with the split between Phase 1 and 2 being slightly south of Kline.

 

LPWWA is considering various options to provide a water dock facility for property owners outside of Phase 1. A series of community meetings will be held during September 2014 to provide update information to property owners in the entire potential service area and neighborhood meetings will take place later in the fall within Phase 1 to begin the easement acquisition and sign-up process. In addition to the 100 or so properties committing to service in 2010, around 120 new subscriptions within Phase 1 are needed to make the $3.85 million cost financially feasible. We anticipate obtaining funding from USDA Rural Development for this phase. The deadline for all subscriptions is half of the tap fee to be collected by late April of 2015 and 2nd half will need to be collected by mid August of 2015. There could be a significant increase in fees for signing up after the August deadline, and great fee benefits in signing up before the deadline! Are You on Tap?

Isn’t the Lake Durango Water Authority “taking” water intended for the Dryside?

The Animas-La Plata project can store up to 120,000 acre-feet of water, there is no water allocation designated solely for the ‘dryside’.  LDWA has purchased an allocation directly from Animas-La Plata.

Was the water allocated by the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District intended to be used for the Western portion of La Plata County for a domestic water system?

Yes, the uses are municipal and industrial only. The final ALP Project was downsized and eliminated irrigation.

If I’m not in Phase 1, when can I expect service?

Future Phases are estimated to begin approximately one year after the previous phase starts construction.

Can I use one tap for more than one home?

No. One tap is limited to serving one home.  However, one tap may serve up to three residences, if all homes are under the same owner on the same parcel with the use of an accessory subscription.  Below are the three options for subscribing for service:

1) Primary subscription: Service for a single Dwelling Unit, a single Commercial Unit, or a single Multi Unit Dwelling. A Primary Subscription entitles a Subscriber to one (1) Service Connection to the La Plata West Water Authority water distribution system.

2) Accessory subscription: An accessory subscription is required for each additional dwelling unit, to provide service for up to two (2) additional Dwelling Units on the Parcel served by the Primary Subscription. An Accessory Subscription cannot be sold or transferred separate from the Primary Subscribership. If units served by an accessory subscribership are located on a parcel that is severed from the parcel for which a primary subscribership is held, the accessory subscribership must be upgraded to a Primary subscribership and have its own meter pit installed to service the severed parcel.

3) Reserve subscription: A reserve subscription is available to reserve capacity in the system at current costs, essentially reserving service for future use. Reserve Subscribers are required to pay the monthly base charge starting when service is available to their property and will pay an additional $2000 (cost of the meter pit) when a meter pit is to be installed and full service commences for the subscription.

Can I buy a tap for a vacant parcel?

Yes.  You may buy as many taps as you choose. Please keep in mind that a tap does NOT create a right to develop or subdivide; this is determined by the La Plata County Land Use Code.  The proposed land use for the Fort Lewis Mesa Planning District is 1 home per 35 acres or a 2 per 40 base density utilizing conservation cluster design. Recent proposed changes in County regulations may allow for 35 acre parcels to be split into two parcels, with a primary and accessory dwelling on each parcel.

Where will water for the domestic system come from?

The LPWWA system will be supplied by water from the Animas-La Plata Project. The funds that LPWWA will receive from USDA for Phase 1 cover the costs to purchase the ALP water allocation.

Why has the project been broken into phases?

The project was broken into phases primarily to achieve financial soundness for the project. Phasing, together with the agreement with LDWA to provide treated water, creates an estimated cost of about $3.85 million for the first phase of the project.