Durango voters are being asked to approve a $4 million loan to purchase water from the Animas-La Plata Project

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From The Durango Telegraph (Missy Votel):

This year’s ballot, which is mail-in only, will contain a measure from the City of Durango asking residents to approve a $4 million loan to be used to buy 3,800 acre feet annually from the project. City Charter requires a vote of the electorate before assuming debt. The $4 million would be borrowed from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, a state agency established to promote water and power development in Colorado. As such, the city will get a more favorable rate than it would on the open market. The 20-year loan will be at an interest rate of 1.95 percent, making for total repayment of just under $5 million…

The 3,800 acre-feet would supplement the City’s current municipal and agricultural use of about 5,000 acre-feet per year. According to a 2003 study, an additional 3,800 acre-feet is the amount needed to meet the needs of a projected population of 40,000. Currently, the City serves its nearly 17,000 residents plus another couple thousand in adjacent areas for a total of about 19,000 customers, Rogers said. However, if Durango keeps on its current growth rate – 20 percent from 2000-2010, according to U.S. Census data – it could need additional water well before reaching the 40,000 mark. Rogers estimated the City’s water capacity at 25,000 users during the summer. “That’s only 6,000 more. When we reach that number, we’ll need to invest in other supplies,” he said. In addition to concerns over meeting growing demand, Rogers said there is also concern over security. Right now, the City has only a seven-day supply of water in its reservoir on College Mesa. The A-LP purchase would ensure an additional 75 days.

More Animas River watershed coverage here.

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