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?