The water dock, which those county residents with a weak well or no well at all use as their source of household, livestock and limited landscaping water, has been popular. Most of the families needing water are west of Durango, and the dock’s new location on the frontage road along U.S. Highway 550-160 north of the Durango Mall has worked well. Easy in and out off the highway, with room to maneuver for those with a tank on a trailer.
The dock had been at the base of Chapman Hill, which benefitted those along East Animas Road who were short of water, but which meant that most had to travel through Durango. All had to deal with a sometimes-busy Florida Road which was a few feet away. The terrain made a proper site difficult.
It is not anything but unfortunate that a few weeks ago vandals destroyed the mechanism that is the dock’s operating system, perhaps in hopes of making off with a few dollars. Parts are on order, and at the same time there is a desire to apply stronger, more secure, construction. Cash may no longer be accepted, either, which would be a significant deterrent to damage and theft.
A pocket full of quarters was what was needed.
While orange cones block the entrance and exit to the closed dock, this is the time for county government to replace city government in operating the water service. Yes, the water comes from the city’s treatment plant and the city recovers a portion of the dock’s construction and operating costs through the per-gallon charge, but the dock’s users are overwhelmingly rural in where they live.
We say let county government take on the dock. After reimbursing the city for its depreciated cost in constructing the dock, and purchasing water at a wholesale rate, the county would be free to respond to the requests of its rural residents, the users. Different payment and billing procedures might be popular and justified, for example.
The city, as a gesture of good faith, ought to be willing to lease the tract on which the dock sits for $1.
As to providing whatever occasional service the dock requires, the county’s equipment and maintenance shops are about a mile farther south on U.S. Highway 550-160, and traveling past the water dock is an everyday part of reaching north and west of Durango. Again, the dock’s location is pretty much ideal.
The city and county rightly share in the operation of several key community facilities, the airport and the library large among them. In brief, the city offers extensive recreational opportunities for all, while Durangoans enjoy well-maintained county roads. Government responsibilities and initiatives complement one another. But the water dock is a service for rural residents that ought to be operated by county government.