The November 2017 Water Information Program newsletter is hot off the presses

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

San Juan Water Conservancy District Proposed Mill Levy a No-Go

San Juan Water Conservancy District was disappointed in the results of the Tuesday election. SJWCD put forth a proposed mill levy (Ballot Measure 5A) to help fund the proposed San Juan Headwaters Project (previously known as Dry Gulch) raw water storage project. The measure did not pass.

The District needed to pass this measure as a means to pay debt servicing on a $2 Million loan secured from the Colorado Water Conservation Board this past May. The loan is contingent on securing a revenue source sufficient to pay the loan back.

The District knew, and this election confirmed, passage of a tax increase was an uphill effort. “The strategy we embarked on for this past election was educational. We truly felt that if we could inform voters that the failed effort to build a 35,000 acre foot reservoir that would cost $400 Million is not the same project now being proposed, which is an 11,000 acre foot reservoir costing $70 Million. Obviously, our education effort fell short,” stated Rod Proffitt, SJWCD President.

“Since we have few options to improve our revenues, it is highly likely we will again propose a mill levy increase this coming year,” added Proffitt. In the meantime, the District is heavily involved in local efforts to implement the objectives of the Colorado Water Plan.

Archuleta County voters turn down Ballot Issue 5A — San Juan Headwaters Project

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

From The Pagosa Sun (Randi Pierce):

Ballot Issue 5A, the San Juan Water Conservancy District’s (SJWCD) request for an increase to 1 mill to help with the land acquisition for and support the San Juan River Headwaters Project reservoir, was soundly defeated Tuesday, with 75.44 percent of voters against the measure (2,697 votes).

A total of 878 voters, or 24.56 per- cent, were in favor of the measure.

SJWCD board chair Rod Proffitt indicated Wednesday morning the district knew it would be an uphill battle and will now obtain feedback on the loss at the polls and “proceed accordingly.”

“The District was disappointed in the results, but we knew even when we negotiated the terms of the $2 Million loan with CWCB [the Colo- rado Water Conservation Board] that it would be a difficult challenge we might have to put in front of the vot- ers more than once,” Proffitt wrote in an email to SUN staff.

Proffitt added, “The facts have not changed. In fact, the need for this water storage project is becoming more apparent. CWCB and PAWSD agree this community may face a serious demand supply gap as early as 2024. The Growing Water Smart Group that formed this past summer and committed to endorsing a 3 Mile Plan and a Watershed Management Plan as good ways to integrated better land use Planning and wise water conservation also determined the best, most important thing we can do is arrive at a set of data and popula- tions projections we can agree on by consensus, and then use for planning purposes by the various entities responsible for infrastruc- ture needs is (sic) the community.”

PAWSD board says no to Dry Gulch Reservoir

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

The Pagosa Area Water and Sani- tation District (PAWSD) concluded, after hearing a presentation by Ray Finney, that it is still not interested in the San Juan River Headwaters/ Dry Gulch reservoir project.

Water Information Program: August 2017 newsletter

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Progress on the San Juan River Headwaters Project

San Juan Water Conservancy District announced it has changed the name of the “Dry Gulch Project” to the “San Juan River Headwaters Project”. The project has changed from a 35,000 AF reservoir to an 11,000 AF reservoir. The original cost estimate for the reservoir was in excess of $400 Million, it has now been reduced to that of a reservoir that will cost less than $100 Million. “The reduced cost is substantially due to changing from filling and re-filling by means of an electric pump station to the use of a syphon, which also has the advantage of having less operation expense and a longer useful life at lower maintenance”, said Rod Proffitt, President of San Juan Water Conservancy District

San Juan Water Conservancy District was awarded a $2 million loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board at its meeting in Pagosa Springs this past May. *Please note the correction of the previous amount stated. The existing mill levy for San Juan Water Conservancy District (“the District”) is .316 of a mill (not $316.000 at stated in previous newsletter), which raises approximately $67,000 per year on property assessed within the District. If this measure is approved, the mill levy will be exactly what it was when the District was first formed in 1987 – One (1) mill. The issue will be on the ballot this November.

Rod Proffitt also stated that the San Juan Water Conservancy District is working with a number of stakeholders in Archuleta County to apply for funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to do a watershed management plan for the Upper San Juan River above Navajo Reservoir.

“The San Juan River is facing continuing demands on its water as the area’s population grows and existing uses adjust to changing conditions. The plan will ensure the river continues to benefit the natural habitat of the watershed, the non-consumptive uses of the river like tubing, fishing, and rafting” noted Proffitt.

Mill levy for Dry Gulch Reservoir on November ballot

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

From The Pagosa Sun (Marshall Dunham):

During its regular meeting on June 12, the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) board passed a resolution to go forward with a mill levy initiative that will appear on the ballot in November.

The resolution passed 4-1, with members Rod Proffitt, John Porco, Doug Secrist and Susan Nossaman voting in favor of the motion, and member Al Pfister voting against.

Board member Ray Finney was absent from the meeting.

The mill levy would help fund the proposed Dry Gulch raw water storage project, along with a $2 million dollar loan that is contingent upon the SJWCD successfully raising its mill levy to 1 mill from .316 mills during an upcoming election.

If the mill levy initiative passes in an upcoming election, the loan would come from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).

The $2 million would be used to pay for pre-construction costs of a reservoir, which include acquiring more land for the project…

The motion passed 4-1.

What’s in a name?

The SJWCD board also discussed changing the name of the Dry Gulch project in the hopes of differentiating the 11,000-acre-foot project from the 35,000-acre-foot project that was the subject of a legal battle.

The board discussed possible name changes, such as the High Pasture Project, or the San Juan Headwaters Project.

The board then came up with the idea of each board member rat- ing the possible choices, and then deciding on a name during the next board meeting.

Two million bucks for Dry Gulch Reservoir property acquisition

Credit The Pagosa Daily Post.

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Randi Pierce):

The San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) board discussed several aspects of its proposed Dry Gulch raw water storage project during its regular meeting Monday night, including loan nancing, a mill levy increase, contracts and new names for the project.

Among the decisions made at the meeting was approving a resolution allowing the district to apply for a $2 million loan to help acquire property needed for the project, as well as for preconstruc- tion expenses.

That loan, however, would be contingent upon the SJWCD successfully raising its mill levy to one mill during an upcoming election.

In introducing the topic to the board, chair Rod Profitt explained that he had already submitted the loan application to the Colo- rado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), but that the resolution would “essentially” formalize that application.

Profitt noted he would be appearing before the CWCB during that board’s meeting in May (to be held in Pagosa Springs) to see if the loan is approved, at which point the SJWCD would have to work on the mill levy increase being approved…

The resolution further states, “the costs to acquire the rest of the land needed for the reservoir basin and pre-construction expenses are expected to be $2,000,000.”

The 40-year loan, Proffitt explained during discussion, comes with a 2.75 percent interest rate, which mean debt-service pay- ments of about $96,129 per year.

One mill, he said in response to a question by board member Al Pfsiter, would raise about $213,000 per year, meaning the district would also have funding for other projects such as the stream management program…

The resolution passed 5-0, with board member Ray Finney absent from the meeting.

Dry Gulch Reservoir update: PAWSD green lights loan restructuring as the project drags on #ColoradoRiver

San Juan River from Wolf Creek Pass
San Juan River from Wolf Creek Pass

From the Pagosa Sun (Casey Crow):

The board of directors for the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) voted unanimously on June 29 to accept an agreement regarding the loan restructuring for the Dry Gulch water storage project with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), following a green light from the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) last week.

According to a letter drafted by Rod Proffitt, president of the SJWCD, the district has limited water storage capacity to meet future water needs. The demands placed on the district for wildfire protection, drought and habitat are great and unsustainable. A situation worsened by state officials who used water from a tributary of the San Juan to offset the over-appropriation of the Rio Grande.

The water needs of the community led the district to partner with PAWSD, with the goal of building a water storage facility.

The Dry Gulch water storage project was halted due to the recession and changes occurring within PAWSD leadership, which then changed the direction of the project altogether.

More Dry Gulch Reservoir coverage here and here.