La Plata West Water Authority’s Rural Domestic Pipeline Underway
Elaine Chick, Program Manager for the Water Information Program spoke with Roy Horvath – President of LPWWA and Mardi Gebhardt – LPWWA, to discuss the new rural domestic water supply pipeline system for Western La Plata County.
The La Plata West Water Authority (LPWWA) is an independent political subdivision created by the Animas La Plata Water Conservancy District and the La Plata Water Conservancy District. The Authority continues a long history of work to provide a domestic water supply in rural southwest La Plata County.
The new rural domestic water pipeline is a four-way partnership between La Plata West, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Tribes, and Lake Durango. The process of this massive and costly construction design had to be laid out in multiple phases.
Phase 0 of the pipelines’ goal was to provide a supply of raw water from the La Plata reservoir up to Lake Durango. This was initially through a partnership with La Plata West and Lake Durango. Lake Durango did not have an adequate supply from La Plata and did not have enough capacity to fulfill its demand. Lake Durango had been under a moratorium from the county to sell additional taps and has a waiting list that has accumulated over the past 10 or so years. In order to begin the phases, the project received a grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for a $500,000.00 and $250,000.00 loan commitment, which went towards building the pipeline from the intake structure to Lake Durango. The pipeline will follow parallel to CR 210 then on CR 141 to CR125 and up to Lake Durango.
“Groundbreaking of Phase 0 was September of last year, and this move pretty quickly. The first thing that was done was the intake structure. The big impetus for the intake structure was that Lake Nighthorse had to get filled. We were fortunate enough to come up with a preliminary design, we received the initial grant from the round table of $1.1 million and based on that we went back to the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Tribes, and they ended up contributing in $4.5 million dollars towards the intake structure. We started construction on the intake structure in October 2008 and the contractors turned that over to us in July of 2009” stated Roy Horvath – President LPWWA.
The original design was an 8-inch line from the intake structure up to Lake Durango that would have been capacity and adequate for Lake Durango and La Plata West only. Due to the logistics and terrain involved in that site, the first 3/4 of a mile pipeline would be up-sized to 30 inches. That was engineered and designed to essentially match the capacity of the intake structure.
The next segment of the pipeline from the crossing of CR 210 to the intersection of CR 125 and CR 141 was upgraded to 16-inch pipe so in future they wouldn’t have to rebuild it. “There’s enough capacity in that 16-inch pipe for what we anticipate we would need for the long-term future. So, it will be a 30-inch pipe the first 3/4 of a mile, 16 inch the middle segment, and the last segment to Lake Durango is 8-inch,” stated Roy Horvath.
“The big draw for us to work with Lake Durango has been the fact that they have excess capacity in their water processing plant, and they committed to deliver us 66 gallons a minute, 20 hours a day at the top of Blue Hill. We think there’s enough water there for around our first 400 subscribers in our system. At that point whenever we reach that threshold, we will be in a better position and will have more definition from the tribes that we can work together and partner together for raw water line to extend and build further out and build our own treatment plant” continued Horvath.
The residents of Lake Durango and La Plata West would benefit from this new pipeline. “The area that we are working in La Plata West is largely undeveloped land so there’s a lot of 35-acre tracks. Most people have wells and those wells are pretty mediocre. The goal is to provide better water out in those areas,” added Horvath.
The 8-inch line that has been laid out for Lake Durango will potentially carry about 800 gallons per minute. Comparing that with the 66 gallons per minute that they now supply there is quite a bit of room for growth and for future capacity.
Phase 0’s completion date is set for Feb. 1. That would be the segment of pipeline from intake structure up to Lake Durango.
Phase 1 – The board is working hard to finish up the last few items on the Letter of Conditions for USDA funds. Letter of Conditions should be done by end of December. In January or February, they hope to be going to bid for this phase of the project. Phase 1 is estimated to be completed about a year from award of contract.
Phase 1 is the area starting at the top of Blue Hill going west along CR 141, to the river and then heading south toward the Kline area, on down to Marvel then down into church Hollow where the Marble spring is. We have about 150 people that have signed up and paid for subscriptions in that area.
“The people that have signed up now for our domestic Phase 1 system are making history. Those people who came in early and invested, have laid down the foundation for the system to be able to progress, and for future phases all the way to Montezuma, and all the way down to New Mexico, and all the way up into Hesperus area. So, the people that sign up sooner are going to get the benefit of the frontend investment that’s been made by everybody else,” stated Mardi Gebhardt.
Roy added, “getting people to think more in the context of the community. And looking at the availability of water out there and how it can potentially impact people’s quality of life.”
Those that came in early payed $10,000 for a tap fee and now it will be $12,000.
Don’t have enough money for subscription fee but want to sign up? LPWWA will work with you so you can make monthly payments with zero interest 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.
For more information contact LPWWA at lpwwa.org or call: 970-403-5790.