Last updated 12:34PM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Tighter Water Standards Proposed
(2007-08-08)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: New Water quantity and quality standards are being proposed in La Plata County.
They could impact development of future housing.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Members of the La Plata Water Advisory Commission are urging adoption of tough new standards to insure water quantities and qualities for new subdivisions, for rapidly growing La Plata County.
BUTLER: THE MAIN ISSUE IS THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S ADEQUATE WATER FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT, THAT PEOPLE AREN'T PUTTING IN NEW DEVELOPMENTS THEN FINDING OUT A FEW YEARS LATER THAT THEIR WATER GOES DRY.
Peter Butler chairs the Commission which presented its report to the La Plata County Commissioners yesterday.
The new rules would require developers to prove they have adquate quality and quantities of water to serve subdivisions, probably of four or more homes.
BUTLER: IT DOESN'T APPLY TO EXISTING LOTS AND IT DOESN'T APPLY TO PEOPLE'S BUILDING PERMITS, IT'S ONLY FOR NEW SUBDIVISIONS.
State law requires such assurances when projects move through the planning process.
The study says current criteria used in La Plata County is insufficient to meet that state law and could create liability problems for the county as well as for developers and homeowners.
Butler admits the requirements could slow development of new housing additions.
BUTLER: IN SOME AREAS, THERE IS FAIRLY SHORT WATER SUPPLIES AND THESE REQUIREMENTS MAY MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO SUBDIVIDE LAND IN SOME PLACES. WE FEEL THAT REALLY THE LONG TERM SOLUTION IS RURAL WATER SYSTEMS, BECAUSE RELYING ON GROUNDWATER WE DON'T THINK IS GOING TO, HAS GOT A GOOD FUTURE.
Rural water systems, such as one presently proposed for Southeast La Plata County, would charge tap fees of 5 to 10-thousand dollars per home to defray the expense of installing the water systems pipes and treatment facilities, plus monthly fees for the water used.
By comparison, groundwater studies that would be required of developers under the new standards, could cost 25 to 30-thousand dollars with no guarantee adequate water could be found.
The study says creation of rural water districts could also reduce the need for hauling water as well.
It's estimated about 10-percent of La Plata County residents rely on hauled water for domestic use.
A public work session on the new rules is scheduled for August 30th.
The new Water Supply Standards could face a vote by the commissioners as soon as September 4th.
On a somewhat related note, County Plan Commissioners will hold a hearing Thursday at 6pm at the courthouse on a second attempt to create the La Plata-Archuleta Water District.
The proposed district would serve as many as 2-thousand customers in a 400 square mile area of Southeast La Plata county.
County Commissioners must also approve a special election to create the district, which organizers hope to conduct next Spring.
Proponents of the new district say anyone who asked to be excluded two years ago when the district was first proposed, can be excluded this time as well.
But they will need to refile their request for exclusion.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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