Wiggins: The town council is navigating through water court, USDA loans and buying water rights to bolster raw water supplies

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The current plan to build a pipeline from a well site northwest of town and augmentation ponds north of town is still the least expensive option, [Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, which is organizing the project] said. Wiggins still has to buy more water to make the plan work, but the town council met in a lengthy executive session to instruct its water attorneys to continue working to purchase some water. An offer has been made on nine more shares of water, and town officials are waiting on a response, Rogers said. That should mean that the town has the 240 acre feet of water it uses annually. Officials expect a contract to be signed in the next couple of weeks, said Miranda Larsen-Funk of LeonardRice Engineers Inc.

The USDA funding includes the money to buy these new water rights, Holbrook said. The USDA wants to see that contract before the project can continue, but that extra water would be included when the whole case goes to water court, he said. That means the town would have use of the water under a temporary water plan while the case goes through the court…

Another major concern was whether the water the town has purchased will be changed from agricultural use to municipal use. Some worried that all this effort would come to nothing if the water court decided against it. The best legal opinions say that the water use will be changed and Wiggins will be able to use the water, Holbrook said…

Council members have worked to make sure that the costs were kept down in order to impact households and businesses the least possible while buying the most water rights the town could, Bates noted. It looks like the base rate will rise from about $49 a month now to $90 a month once the town is paying off the loan, which is considerably less expensive than it once seemed it would be, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here.

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