2020 draft budget outlined for Pagosa Areas Water & Sanitation District

Pagosa Springs Panorama. Photo credit: Gmhatfield via Wikimedia Commons

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

The 2020 draft budget for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) was presented to its governing board on Oct. 24.

In the General Fund, the draft budget lists total revenues at $1,116,750 while total expenses are projected to be $1,180,184, leading to an projected ending balance in the General Fund of $900,878 — a projected 7 percent decrease from last year.

Capital projects and contingency are projected to increase 23 percent, going from $10,000 to $12,250, with PAWSD Director of Business Services Aaron Burns ex- plaining that the $2,250 increase is due to an equipment replacement.

That piece of equipment is a GPS unit that is used for locating infrastructure, Burns noted.

In regard to the 7 percent decrease in the General Fund bal- ance, Burns explained that this is related to added expense with a board election year with three seats up for election.

He added that this is also combined with the regular internal transfer of funds to both enterprise funds of the district.

The Debt Service Fund for 2020 is projected to have a beginning fund balance of $22,812, a 42 percent decrease from last year; the ending fund balance for PAWSD’s Debt Service Fund is projected to be $45,229 which is a 98 percent increase from last year’s total.

The 42 percent decrease in the Debt Service Fund’s beginning fund balance is related to a transfer of interest revenue during 2019 to the enterprise funds, Burns noted, while the increase in the Debt Service Fund’s ending fund balance is also related to the projected 2020 interest revenue.

“A transfer to the Enterprise Funds will also be added to the budget for 2020,” Burns wrote in an email.

PAWSD’s Water Enterprise Fund beginning fund balance is projected to have an 8 percent increase, going from $5,534,767 to $5,950,480; the ending fund balance is projected to have a 7 percent increase, going from $5,930,807 to $6,327,892.

Within PAWSD’s 2020 draft budget, water treatment expenses are projected to increase 33 percent, from $903,701 to $1,199,368, and water distribution expenses are projected increase 41 percent, from $957,780 to $1,353,500.

Water treatment costs are projected to increase due to a replumbing project at the San Juan Water treatment plant that would allow for automatic switching from reservoir and river water sources; other items related to this increase are the addition of an employee and some structural repair work, Burns described.

The 41 percent increase for wa- ter distribution was described by Burns as being “skewed slightly.”

“Because actual expenses related to water line replacement and repair were lower than budget in 2019 and we are budgeting for the replacement and expansion of the Putt (sic) Hill water tank in 2020,” he wrote.

Capital projects are projected to be down 38 percent, from $896,502 to $553,510, which Burns explained UV project at the San Juan plant; Burns noted that this project appeared in PAWSD’s budget in 2019.

Within PAWSD’s Wastewater Fund, the beginning fund balance is projected to have an 18 percent increase, going from $2,552,203 to $3,017,909; Burns explained that this increase is because of actual expenses in 2019 being lower than budgeted.

The ending fund balance for PAWSD’s Wastewater Fund is also projected to have an increase, of 4 percent, going from $3,007,349 to $3,117,206.

Within the Wastewater Fund, tap fees are projected to increase by 13 percent, from $28,860 to $32,500, which Burns again noted is because of the 2019 actual figure being slightly lower than the normally budgeted figure used in 2020.

Wastewater collection is projected to go from $706,800 to $927,856, a 31 percent increase, according to the draft budget.

“The District is planning for increased investment in repairing it’s (sic) sewer collection system which will involve the systematic rehabilitation of lift stations and resealing key areas of the system to combat water infiltration during the snowmelt months of the spring,” Burns explained.

Wastewater treatment is projected to have a 24 percent increase from $646,270 to $802,080, accord- ing to the draft budget.

Burns explained that this projected increase is due to mandates made by the state that require effluent testing; this also includes the addition of another employee as well, Burns noted.

#Colorado Ag Water Alliance: Integrated Water Management Planning and Ag workshop, November 12, 2019

Hay storage in the upper Gunnison River valley. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From email from the Colorado At Water Alliance:

Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center, 275 S. Spruce Street, Gunnison, CO 81230, 4PM – 7 PM

RSVP here.

4:00 – 4:10 Introduction – Greg Peterson, Colorado Ag Water Alliance

4:10 – 4:50 Watershed Planning and What Producers Think of Watershed Planning – Phil Brink, Colorado Cattlemen’s Ag Water NetWORK

4:50 – 5:00 Video: 5 ditches project on the Rio Grande

5:00 – 5:30 Diversion Restoration Projects on the Rio Grande – Heather Dutton, General Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District

5:30 – 6:00 Lunch & Video on diversion structures in the Mancos

6:00 – 6:30 Ditch and Irrigation Inventory in Eagle County – Scott Jones, Rancher and Eagle County Conservation District

6:30 – 7:00 Presentation from Jesse Kruthaupt on the Integrated Water Management Plan in the Upper Gunnison

#NM Environment Department: Silver Wing Mine incident summary — No hazard to human health or the environment in New Mexico

The San Juan Water Conservancy District ponies up $1,000 for cloud-seeding research

State cloud seeding programs. Graphic credit: The Huffington Post

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

Following a presentation earlier in the day, the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) Board of Directors opted to see if ef- forts from cloud seeding could produce any re- sults that could be seen locally before providing funding to cloud seeding efforts.

The cloud seeding presentation was given to the board during a work session on Tuesday by Eric and Mike Hjermstad from Western Weather Consultants LLC, and following the work ses- sion, the board had a possible action item on whether or not to fund cloud seeding efforts for the southwest basin.
In the draft budget, the SJWCD has $1,000 set aside for potential cloud seeding funding…

The effectiveness and amount of extra moisture that is produced by cloud seeding ef- forts has been debated for years, SJWCD board member Al Pfister noted…

[Bill] Hudson later made a motion that suggested the SJWCD look into whether or not it could help finance the research of cloud seeding operations in the district’s watershed and would task SJWCD consultant Renee Lewis to conduct this project. The motion passed unanimously.

#NM Environmental Department: Silver Wing Mine incident did not harm Animas River water quality in New Mexico — The Farmington Daily Times

Location map for abandoned mine near Silverton. The Silver Wing is in the upper right corner of the aerial.

From The Farmington Daily Times (Hannah Grover):

The additional discharge from the Silver Wing Mine into the Animas River did not have a negative impact on water quality, according to the New Mexico Environment Department.

The Silver Wing Mine discharged a larger amount of water than usual last week, causing some discoloration in the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado.

However, the discoloration was not visible downstream, and NMED does not see any evidence of negative impacts to water quality…

NMED has been monitoring water quality data for both turbidity and pH in the Animas River in Colorado and New Mexico. According to the slides, the Silver Wing Mine has not, to date, caused potentially harmful changes in turbidity or pH in the Animas River as it flows from Colorado into New Mexico at Cedar Hill.

Sliver Wing Mine: Photo credit: San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad

Southwestern Water Conservation District’s Annual Water Seminar: Friday, November 1, 2019

Swim class on the San Juan River. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

Click here for all the inside skinny:

The 37th Annual Water Seminar will be kicked off by SWCD’s new executive director, Frank Kugel. He has a strong track record of building partnerships and leveraging local resources for collaborative water solutions. Frank will speak to some of the challenges SWCD sees facing water management in southwestern Colorado, and opportunities for our communities to proactively address them.

Anxious for winter storms? First, we’ll hear about the forecast from KKTV meteorologist Brian Bledsoe, and cutting-edge methods for snowpack measurement from Jeff Deems of the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

No water seminar in 2019 would be complete without a discussion of the state’s current feasibility investigation of a demand management program. Mark Harris, Grand Valley Water Users Association, will moderate a panel of heavy hitters on the topic: Colorado Water Conservation Board Director Becky Mitchell, The Nature Conservancy Water Projects Director Aaron Derwingson, and Colorado River District General Manager Andy Mueller.

Further expanding on the subject, we’ll hear a proposal from local economist Steve Ruddell and consultant Dave Stiller which challenges the notion that a successful *and* voluntary, temporary, compensated demand management program would be impossible. State Senator Don Coram and State Representative Marc Catlin will react to this proposal and provide their thoughts more generally on funding water management in Colorado.

And if you haven’t heard the latest results of the West Slope Risk Assessment, John Currier, Colorado River District, will be summarizing the report for southwestern Colorado and taking questions. Jayla Poppleton, Water Education Colorado, will also preview several exciting programs and content making waves across the state. Watch your inbox for the final program, coming soon!

Reserve your seat now. Registration includes catered breakfast and lunch. Click here to register or call 970-247-1302.

Southwestern Water Conservation District Area Map. Credit: SWCD

@EPA: Mine spilling waste into Animas River returns to normal — The Durango Herald

From the San Juan County Sheriff’s office via The Durango Herald:

The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it would continue to monitor a mine that spilled wastewater into the Animas River and added sampling results should be available next week.

Crews with the Bureau of Land Management notified the EPA on Wednesday night the Silver Wing Mine, north of Eureka, was releasing mine wastewater into the Animas River, discoloring the waterway.

The mine is in the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund, but the EPA has not begun cleanup work there, agency officials said. The Silver Wing Mine historically has discharged wastewater, but the spill is thought to have released more wastewater than normal.

Andrew Mutter, a spokesman for the EPA, said field crews that visited the site Thursday reported the discharge flow rate from the Silver Wing Mine was similar to past flow rates and the water in the Animas River downstream of the Silver Wing was running clear.

Sliver Wing Mine: Photo credit: San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad