Recently, I had the opportunity to see a presentation from the La Plata West Water Authority.
As we all know, water is one of the most critical resources, and the water authority will offer an opportunity for homes on the west side of La Plata County to have a stable source of domestic water.
The use of water and access to water has long been a topic of discussion in the western part of La Plata County. This area has been known and referred to as the “Dry Side.” There are marginal amounts of water throughout this part of the county, and residents have used water truck deliveries and low-producing wells for water supply.
The La Plata West Water Authority was created by the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District and the La Plata Water Conservancy District. They are the driving organizations behind procuring water for the Dry Side of the county.
The cost to bring “tap” into a home is $9,250, which may seem like a lot of money. On the other hand, my personal opinion is that it will improve market values by about $25,000 for many of those homes.
The water authority is currently collecting the first half of the payments or have contracts in process for about 25 percent of the 200 needed sign-ups to begin the system.
The intake structure was completed in 2009, with water from Lake Nighthorse.
Since then, the focus of the project has been to develop a water system through western La Plata County, except Lake Durango Water Authority’s service area.
Construction is underway to lay a raw water pipeline from Animas-La Plata Reservoir to Lake Durango. There is a phased plan to bring the water to the Dry Side.
Phase 1 residents are being asked to sign easements, pay the first half of the tap fees, and then the preliminary engineering will be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several other steps occur through the next year, but construction is anticipated to begin in July 2016.
The two initial phases of the water authority’s system are generally south of County Road 141 and east of the La Plata River, with the split between Phase 1 and 2 being slightly south of Kline.
It is both interesting and exciting to see so much progress on this project. Since I have been in the Southwest Colorado real estate market – about 23 years – water on the Dry Side has been lacking. The water usage directly affects homeowners and future homebuyers in this area.
The water authority will be holding meetings and open houses for sign-ups. Please see its website www.lpwwa.org for more information, FAQs and contact information.
Don Ricedorff is a Realtor at The Wells Group in Durango, and a past president of the Durango Area Association of Realtors. He can be reached at [email protected]