From the La Junta Tribune Democrat (Bette McFarren):
On Wednesday, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Otero County for the purpose of creating the Arkansas Valley Rural Water Authority. As Bill Hancock of the LAVWCD explained, this organization has been a long time coming about and is much needed in the valley so that small water companies may deal with new regulations on drinking water.
The organization will help the companies in many ways. First, it will enable them to apply for grants and loans to maintain or replace outdated equipment. More important, they can now speak as a group. They can get together a portfolio that will enable them to connect with the conduit (to receive higher quality water from Pueblo Reservoir). Perhaps the most important point of all, said Hancock, is that they will be able to hire a full-time person to deal with the extremely complex problems involved with water distribution and getting funds for improvement.
After passing the intergovernmental agreement which makes the organization possible, the LAVWCD appointed its two members of the AVRWA board, Wayne Snyder and Jolean Rose. Snyder has been working with the three founding members of the AVRWA for months to find a way to create the organization. Rose’s husband was one of the originators of the idea of the independent water companies joining forces. These companies are Valley Water, represented by Sam Fosdick; Vroman Water, represented by Kenny Wilson; Fayette Water, represented by Alan Franz. Other companies may join the association. The Otero County Commissioners entered into the IGA on Monday at their regular meeting. They will be taking applications for their two spots on the board. The other board member will be selected by the members of the AVRWA.
Terry Dawson, standing in for Roy Vaughan for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, gave the group the good news that we may actually be having a wet year. The Pueblo Reservoir is up to average for the first time in many years. As of April 14, 195,543 acre-feet are stored in Pueblo; 129,145 a/f of project water, 35,266 a/f of excess capacity water, 127,804 a/f of Project space in Pueblo, 70,161 a/f of Project space in Twin and Turquoise.
The melting of the snowpack will start early this year, predicts the Bureau. The problem with pumping the water from Turquoise to Twin Lakes has been solved with fixing the troublesome pump. In other words, the water situation looks good for agriculture. Dawson said the wet weather will continue through the spring to early summer, followed by a dry period, then another wet period in the fall, according to best predictions. A cautionary note: weather may be predicted with any degree of accuracy for only a week at a time.
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