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For Lake Durango users, water is low

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

The welcome monsoon rains have more than settled the dust, but they’ve done little for Lake Durango water customers.

The estimated 1,200 Lake Durango Water Authority customers are under Stage 3 restrictions, which means no outside watering, Tom Brossia reported at a meeting of the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District last week.

Brossia sits on the Animas-La Plata and Lake Durango boards.

Lake Durango Water Authority serves subdivisions and other customers in neighborhoods west and south of Durango.

Lake Durango, which has a capacity of 1,000 acre-feet, currently holds 350 acre-feet, Brossia said. Stage 3 restrictions kick in when the lake holds between 250 and 400 acre-feet, he said.

The Pine Ridge Ditch off the La Plata River is the main source of water for Lake Durango, Brossia said. But the ditch delivered only 15 acre-feet this year because the ditch is No. 39 on the priority list, behind many irrigators with senior rights.

“It was next to nothing,” Brossia said. “Last year, we got a pittance, too.”

Reserve water from years past is seeing customers through, Brossia said. Customers typically use 200 to 300 acre-feet a year.

Lake Durango Water Authority and the La Plata West Water Authority are negotiating an agreement by which the former will treat water for the latter when it’s needed for La Plata West customers-to-be around Marvel and Kline. In exchange, Lake Durango would have access to water La Plata West is due to receive from the Animas-La Plata Project.

The proposed arrangement should satisfy demand in both areas for years to come, Brossia said.

Lake Durango has a backlog of potential customers looking for taps, Brossia said.

“It’s pent-up demand, but we’ve had a moratorium on new taps for several years,” he said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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