Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board meeting recap

Photo credit: Colorado.com

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

During a special meeting held on June 7, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) board was presented with the re- sults of a rate study conducted by Stantec…

Rate presentation

Lay began the presentation by explaining the financial goals of the rate study. Some of the goals included:

• Maintaining a combined debt service coverage ratio of 1.25 per- cent.
• Maintaining adequate reserve requirements.
• Water and wastewater analysis performed as separate utilities and minimizing the rate impacts for both.
• Fund future utility operations and capital investments in the most financially prudent way possible.
Lay also explained that when it came to the water utility there were some assumptions factored into the rate study.
Those assumptions were:
• Utilizing annual cost escala- tion factors, 3 percent for both capital projects and operations and maintenance (O&M) fixed/variable expenses.
• Using a 2 percent growth rate for account growth based on PAWSD’s projections.
• Accounting for a consumption decrease in 2021 and 2025 to plan for a potential drought period.
• A decreased capital improve- ment fee in 2019 to $1,509 per equivalent residential unit (ERU) from $2,658 currently.
• Also decreasing the raw water acquisition fee to $1,726 per ERU from $1,959.

PAWSD projections

The presentation then moved to what PAWSD’s water rate revenue projections are, as well as projec- tions for funds with no rate adjust- ments for water utility.

Regarding water rate revenue projections, Lay explained that these projections are based on 2 percent account growth rates, but lso include a 5 percent reduction for consumption.

Lay also added that these water rate revenue projections do not include any rate increases from a revenue standpoint.

From the graph within the pre- sentation, PAWSD is projected to increase its water rate revenue each year aside from the fiscal years of 2021 and 2025 in which that 5 per- cent consumption decrease occurs.

Despite those decreases in those two years, in the fiscal year for 2028, PAWSD is projected to have about $4.2 million in water rate revenue.

Conversely, with no rate adjust- ments or debt in regard to water utility, PAWSD is projected to spend more funds than it currently has in the fiscal year for 2018.

This deficit is only projected to grow larger with each fiscal year, and, by 2022, PAWSD is projected to use about $10 million while only having about $4 million available.

For the years 2023-2028, PAWSD would be using about $6 million whilst having only about $4 mil- lion available with no debt or rate adjustments.

Water utility rate scenarios

Lay then presented the board with the three rate scenarios for water utility.

The first rate increase proposed would utilize a 12.5 percent rate adjustment, which was described by Lay as the “baseline scenario.”

This scenario would see rate increases from 2019 to 2021, three months of O&M reserve with no re- duction, 100 percent or $500,000 in annual waterline expenditures and the Snowball treatment plant project being debt funded by $3 million.

Waterline expenditures can also be described as waterline replace- ment, PAWSD District Manager Justin Ramsey added.

The proposed financial impact of this scenario on PAWSD custom- ers could raise their bill an addi- tional $19.35 from the current total of $68.16 to $87.51 in 2028.

All three proposed financial impacts also include the proposed rate increase for wastewater as well.

For all three scenarios, the Snowball treatment plant is debt funded, Lay added.

The second scenario presented by Lay was a 5 percent rate adjust- ment, which was described as the “alternative scenario.”

This scenario would have rate increases from 2019 to 2023, O&M reserves would be reduced below a three-month threshold in 2021- 2024, and waterline expenditures would also be reduced to 20 per- cent or $100,000.

Within the second scenario, PAWSD customers could see their bill increase from the current amount of $68.16 to $82.17 in 2018, an increase of $14.01.
The final alternative, which Lay noted as the “preferred” scenario, involves a 6.5 percent rate adjust- ment.

This scenario has the same rate increase and O&M reductions as described in the second scenario.

However, in this final scenario, only 50 percent or $250,000 would be allocated for annual waterline expenditures.

The financial impact within the preferred scenario would see PAWSD customers average bill in 2018 go from $68.16 to $85.56, an increase of $17.40.

Pagosa Springs: #Geothermal Resource Workshop set for May 23, 2018

Photo credit: Colorado.com

From the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (Sally High) via The Pagosa Sun:

Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) welcomes Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and Colorado Geologic Survey back to Pagosa Springs this week.

CSM’s seventh Geophysics Field Camp builds on previous years’ research into Archuleta County’s geothermal plumbing.

The GGP invites the public to a scientific retrospective of collected data and updated interpretations of the local geothermal resource on
Wednesday, May 23. The workshop is at the Archuleta County CSU Extension building from 6 to 8 p.m. The GGP workshop contains two presentations.

Dr. Andrei Swidinsky and Stephen Cuttler of CSM will present a seven-year retrospective of the geophysical data collected by CSM students. Each year’s field camp adds to our understanding of the underground structure of our geothermal aquifer.

Dr. Paul Morgan is senior geo- thermal geologist at Colorado Geological Survey. In 2017, Morgan published Origins and Geothermal Potential of Thermal Springs in Archuleta County, including Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA (Revisited). The paper was first presented at the international Geothermal Resource Council’s 2017 conference. The Archuleta County public can hear Morgan’s revised interpretations at the GGP workshop.
The GGP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating an educational park in downtown Pagosa Springs. The nonprofit park demonstrates geothermal direct energy use, year-round horticulture and environmental awareness. Twenty-first century water conservation and geothermal potential are priorities of GGP’s mission.

GGP’s Education Dome is busy with student and volunteer activity, and the Community Garden Dome and Innovation Dome are being constructed. Pagosa Springs Centennial Park’s Riverwalk is the site of the GGP project.

There is no charge for the GGP’s geothermal resource update work- shop, although donations to the nonprofit are accepted. The public is welcome.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District shows #drought management plan at public hearing

West Drought Monitor May 8, 2018.

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) board held a public hearing on [May 1, 2018] evening to discuss the 2018 Drought Management Plan and to take public comment.

PAWSD District Manager Justin Ramsey began the presentation by briefly discuss- ing the precipitation levels for the district.

“We’re just a little bit more than 50 per- cent of what we usually get,” Ramsey said. In regard to snow-water equivalency,
Ramsey noted that, for 2018, “we’re out.”

[…]

Triggers and levels of plan

“The triggers are basically going to be a combination of the amount of water in the reservoirs plus the amount of water we have pulled in from the river,” Ramsey explained. “It’s going to be a ratio between that and what our expected water use for the year is going to be.”

PAWSD is going to base these triggers off of what the district used in 2017, Ramsey noted.

When 90 percent of that use is met, that is what will trigger level one of the drought management plan, Ramsey stated.

Level two is triggered by 70 percent use, 50 percent would trigger level three, 40 percent triggers level four and 30 percent use will trigger level five, Ramsey described.

Pagosa Springs: Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership scores dough for two geothermal greenhouses

Graphic via Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership.

From the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership via the The Pagosa Daily Post (Sally High):

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) will begin construction of two more growing dome greenhouses — the Community Garden Dome and the Innovation Dome — in spring 2018. These two domes will be installed next to the existing Education Dome in Pagosa Springs’ Centennial Park on a parcel leased from the Town of Pagosa Springs.

The Colorado Water Plan (CWP) Engagement and Innovation Fund granted Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership $174,500 for the construction of the nonprofit organization’s second and third growing domes. The Colorado Water Conservation Board approved the CWP grant earlier in November. These funds, coupled with a $34,000 matching grant from Colorado Garden Foundation awarded last February, allow the GGP to fulfill its agreement to build three geothermal greenhouses.

Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership is a volunteer-driven 501c3 educational organization, building a Pagosa-scale botanic park within Centennial Park on the San Juan River Walk. Its mission is “to educate the community in sustainable agricultural practices by producing food year-round using local renewable energy.” Demonstrating the value of Pagosa’s geothermal resource remains an organizational priority.

The October 2017 Smart Growth America Report listed the GGP as an important amenity for the community. Both the Archuleta County Community Economic Development Action Plan and Downtown Colorado Inc. identified the GGP as a priority for downtown economic revitalization. With the Education Dome completed in 2016, the GGP began fulfilling its mission in 2017.

In GGP’s first year of operations, the Education Dome and Amphitheater became busy gathering places. GGP hosted its 5th Colorado Environmental Film Festival Caravan in downtown Pagosa. Five Lifelong Learning Workshops explored various environmental issues and celebrated the biodiversity of the San Juan River Walk. Two well-attended special events included the first San Juan Sounds live concert and the 2nd Colorfest Breakfast with Balloons. Pagosa’s youth began horticultural activities and GGP’s volunteers nurtured an abundant garden for the community.

2018 promises more classes, educational workshops and special events in Centennial Park. Children from 4-H, public and charter school classrooms, and home schools are already learning each week in the Education Dome. The 6th Environmental Film Festival is planned for mid-April. Lifelong Learning Workshops will include in-depth education about the wise use of Colorado’s water. Live music and performance are planned for the GGP Amphitheater, as well as the 3rd Colorfest Breakfast with Balloons.

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership operates through a professional Board of Directors, numerous volunteers, five strategic committees and an enthusiastic membership base. GGP committees include (1) Soil, Seeds and Water; (2) Site; (3) Fundraising and Special Events; (4) Landscaping; and (5) Programming. An informational question and answer session for the community is planned for January 2018.

Learn more at the GGP website at pagosagreen.org.

Sally High is the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership Board President.

Pagosa Springs: 11th annual Water 101 and 201 Seminar, October 5, 2017

Photo credit: Colorado.com

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Elaine Chick):

Tens of millions of people, billions of dollars of agricultural production and an enormous amount of economic activity across a vast swath of America from California to the Mississippi River are all dependent on rivers born in the mountains of Colorado.

In a time of mounting demand and limited supply, the need for all citizens to better understand and participate in decisions affecting this critical resource is paramount. Colorado’s population is expected to double by 2050, with a good portion of that occurring on the Western Slope. Where will all that water come from?

To discuss this, as well as a multitude of other issues, Pagosa Springs will once again be the location for the educational 11th annual Water 101 and 201 seminars.

Sponsored by the Water Information Program, the seminars will take place on Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Oct. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Ross Ara- gon Community Center (451 Hot Springs Blvd.).

The seminar qualifies for 11 continuing education credits (CECs) for Realtors and six CECs for lawyers for completion of both days. The seminars are open to the general public as well.

Topics include water law, an explanation of water-related agencies and organizations, the Colorado Water Plan and implementation, as well as discussion about timely and important water topics and issues. The 201 session will provide more in-depth information on water law to include compacts and the water court process.

David Robbins and J.C. Ulrich (Greg Hobbs) at the 2013 Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention

The seminar features a lineup of quali ed speakers, including the keynote, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs (retired), as well as representatives from fed- eral, state and local agencies.

Space is limited, so register early. The early-bird registration fee is $40 before Sept. 22 for the 101 workshop, $30 for the 201 session before Sept. 22, and $60 for both days. For those seeking CECs, add $10 to each of the preceding. The registration fee includes snack and an information packet both days, as well as lunch on Oct. 5.

For more information or to register, go to: https://swwcd.org/ event/water-101-201-seminar, contact the Water Information Program at 247-1302 or visit http://www.waterinfo.org.

Delph Carpenter’s 1922 Colorado River Basin map with Lake Mead and Lake Powell via Greg Hobbs.

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.

PAWSD refinancing saves district money; draft budget discussed — The Pagosa Sun

Pagosa Hot Springs
Pagosa Hot Springs

From The Pagosa Sun (Casey Crow):

Last month, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) refinanced its 2006 enterprise revenue and improvement bonds through the issuance of series 2015 enterprise revenue refunding bonds. The refinancing is slated to save the district $528,000 in interest payments over the next nine years.

According to Assistant Manager Shellie Peterson, PAWSD took advantage of interest rates that have dipped to historic lows to refinance the bonds, which total $5.26 million. With the refinancing, PAWSD will be paying an average true interest cost of just under 1.94 percent.

In addition to the savings over the next nine years due to the refinancing, PAWSD will also shorten its outstanding debt service payments by two years.

According to Peterson, the savings from the refinancing are realized directly by the district’s ratepayers.

Draft budget

PAWSD is currently working to finalize its 2016 budget. The district began budget talks in October, holding a public hearing on Oct. 15.

The draft budget was published online prior to the hearing. Some changes were made during budget talks in October, and changes will continue to be made until the budget is adopted in December.

The calculations are made based on the anticipated 2015 revenues and expenditures as compared to the projected 2016 revenues and expenditures.