Wiggins trustees approve hitching up with the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative…augmentation credits

February 15, 2014

Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.

Augmentation pond photo via Irrigation Doctor, Inc.


From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The Wiggins Board of Trustees voted to buy a share of the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative during its monthly meeting Wednesday night. That will cost $2,000.

On any one day, an individual or group with an augmentation plan might have more water credits than the person or group can use or less than it needs, and having the option of sharing credits could help those who are part of the cooperative, said agricultural producer Mike Groves. As it is, if a person or group has excess water credits, the individual or group has to just let it go down the river without use, but the cooperative may change that, he noted.

“It’s something that’s never been done before, but I get sick and tired” of seeing water lost because it cannot be used, Groves said.

Members could transfer water credits to help out those who need them, he said.

Even a little bit of water can make a difference at times, Groves said.

The copperative became official as of Jan. 1, after about seven years of work to put it together, he said. So far, a number of people and groups have become members, said Joe Frank, general manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District. There are two kinds of members: voting and non-voting, which cost $2,000 or $1,000 respectively for shares. That money becomes capital, and would buy one share of cooperative stock, just like other agricultural cooperatives, Frank said.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Raw water system improvements overcome nitrate problems

October 14, 2013
Drilling a water well

Drilling a water well

From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Interim Town Administrator Jon Richardson said he had taken samples of water from all over the town, and the water has much lower levels of nitrates. That means residues of nitrates from years of contaminated well water have washed away in the new water the town brought on line in mid-September, he said.

Also the hardness of the water is down, Richardson said during the Wiggins Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday. The town plans to send out a notice to residents, said Town Clerk Jessica Warden-Leon. Richardson said he wanted to encourage people to stop using water softeners, since they are not needed and the water treatment plant has to deal with them…

He noted that the sprinkler system built for the town park is hooked into the old wells, and so it does not take any of the new water. The same holds for the Wiggins School District’s football field.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins new water system still not online

November 13, 2012

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

During a special meeting of the Wiggins Board of Trustees Wednesday, Public Works Director Jon Richardson said he talked with a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about whether or not a proposal for putting the town’s pipeline through its flood levee was acceptable. He was told he would hear one way or another this week, but he had not heard yet, he told the board. He planned to call again at the end of the week.

Industrial Facilities Engineering — which is overseeing the water project — said it was still waiting on a company to figure out what it would cost Wiggins to adapt its new water treatment plant to blend water with its existing wells and its new water source, Richardson said. Blending is necessary, because the town does not have enough new water to fill its needs. Richardson said he expects to know how much it would cost next week.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: New water treatment plant ready to go but the town still needs approvals for supply pipeline

September 29, 2012

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did send a letter making comments on three proposals to take the pipeline through the town flood levee but wanted clarification on some details like elevations, sections and sketches, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, the firm that is overseeing the Wiggins water project.

Wiggins is replacing its current water supply after the current water levels in town wells has fallen over the years, and because the water is under a health advisory from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

During a weekly meeting of the Wiggins Board of Trustees, Holbrook said he will write up what the corps needs over the next few days and send it to Wiggins officials. After that, it will take a while to get a reply, but it is not certain how long.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: New water treatment plant to undergo testing this week

September 17, 2012

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The reverse osmosis filters will be installed Tuesday, and plant testing starts Wednesday, [Public Works Director Jon Richardson] said.

Unfortunately, town officials still do not know how they are supposed to complete a final section of water pipeline that would take the pipe through the town flood levee and allow water to start flowing.

Town Clerk Craig Trautwein said he spoke to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Tuesday, and he was expecting an e mail about which plan the corps would accept — if it accepts any of the proposed plans. The representative would not disclose the results until then, he said.

One piece of good news is that Industrial Facilities Engineering has agreed to eliminate some of the exclusions it had on a plan to blend the town’s existing well water with its new water until Wiggins has enough new water for all its needs.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins secures a Morgan County special use permit for the new water treatment plant

April 20, 2012

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The site on which the plant will be built is zoned agricultural, but such a use for the land is permitted with a special use permit, said Jody Meyer of the planning and zoning department as she recommended approval. This treatment plant is one of the parts of the project which will bring a new water supply to the town of Wiggins. Its wells have been running dry and the water quality has become progressively worse, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, the company overseeing the project…

The water treatment facility, which includes a reverse osmosis system, will be built over the new wells situated on Highway 144 near Highway 34. Other components of the project are a 7.3-mile pipeline which will bring the water from the wells to the existing town water tank. Another water tank will sit at the plant and two 19-acre augmentation ponds have been completed near Goodrich.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Full speed ahead for new treatment plant, pipeline and augmentation ponds

March 20, 2012

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The augmentation ponds the project requires are basically done, although a water flow monitoring system needs to be installed and the rest of the land should be seeded to prevent weeds, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, the company directing the project, during Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the Wiggins Board of Trustees. Footings are in place for the water treatment plant building, which will sit over the wells which are already drilled. Work is being done on walls and a water tank, and equipment for the treatment is expected in two to three months, he said…

Another part of the augmentation plan is to buy a structure from the Orphan Wells of Wiggins which will allow the town to send water to the river to offset depletion of groundwater by the new town wells…

Board members also approved an extension on the closing date for buying nine more shares of water rights from Tom and Donna Deganhart and gave Mayor Mike Bates authority to OK another extension if needed. Board members also approved a funding ordinance, which was necessary for buying the shares, said Wiggins Town Attorney Melinda Culley. Buying the shares is contingent on the approval of the Weldon Valley Ditch Co…

The town needs monitoring wells to determine how much the augmentation ponds impact their area’s groundwater levels. At least one neighbor has complained that he feared that the ponds might hurt his crops and buildings if the water level rises too high, Rogers said. It is important to get that done before the ponds begin to fill, said Public Works Director Jon Richardson. Monitoring wells could go in during the next week, Rogers said, and water could begin flowing in the Weldon Valley ditches very soon.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: The town council moves the proposed water project forward

November 14, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Jenni Grubbs):

Tim Holbrook, operations manager for Industrial Facilities Engineering, Inc. and lead engineer on the water project, updated the council on how the project was progressing. “The USDA requirements are now met to the point we can have a pre-construction meeting,” Holbrook said. “Then, the start of construction can begin.” The pre-construction meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, with representatives from the town, IFE, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and approved contractors. It’s possible the ground-breaking on the project could be done that day, as well, according to Town Administrator Bill Rogers.

The town’s loan closing with the USDA is expected to be completed by mail around Nov. 23, according to Town Attorney Sam Light.

Holbrook said it will take at least eight months to build the water project. During that time, IFE resident inspector Mike Miller will be on site constantly, which was something required by the USDA…

The council took two votes related to the water project. The first approved a revised resolution reaffirming the town’s issuance of water revenue bonds for a little more than $3.3 million…

The second vote approved the amended budget for the water project. The change in the budget came from the town contribution rising from $121,000 to $351,002. But that was money the town has already spent on the project, Light said, not new money being approved. The council also approved awarding bids to four contractors for different parts of the water project construction. The bid awards would have to be followed up with contracts, but those contracts can’t be formalized until the loan has closed and the town has the money to pay out to the companies, according to Light…

The council awarded a bid for supply wells and pumps construction to Layne Construction Co. A bid for augmentation ponds construction was awarded to Connell Resources, Inc. Velocity Constructors, Inc. received the bid award for construction of the water treatment building. And the council awarded a bid for water pipeline construction to Reynolds, Inc.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: The town council is navigating through water court, USDA loans and buying water rights to bolster raw water supplies

October 15, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The current plan to build a pipeline from a well site northwest of town and augmentation ponds north of town is still the least expensive option, [Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, which is organizing the project] said. Wiggins still has to buy more water to make the plan work, but the town council met in a lengthy executive session to instruct its water attorneys to continue working to purchase some water. An offer has been made on nine more shares of water, and town officials are waiting on a response, Rogers said. That should mean that the town has the 240 acre feet of water it uses annually. Officials expect a contract to be signed in the next couple of weeks, said Miranda Larsen-Funk of LeonardRice Engineers Inc.

The USDA funding includes the money to buy these new water rights, Holbrook said. The USDA wants to see that contract before the project can continue, but that extra water would be included when the whole case goes to water court, he said. That means the town would have use of the water under a temporary water plan while the case goes through the court…

Another major concern was whether the water the town has purchased will be changed from agricultural use to municipal use. Some worried that all this effort would come to nothing if the water court decided against it. The best legal opinions say that the water use will be changed and Wiggins will be able to use the water, Holbrook said…

Council members have worked to make sure that the costs were kept down in order to impact households and businesses the least possible while buying the most water rights the town could, Bates noted. It looks like the base rate will rise from about $49 a month now to $90 a month once the town is paying off the loan, which is considerably less expensive than it once seemed it would be, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: No outside watering allowed

August 5, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins residents are not allowed to water their lawns until further notice. Town wells are just not keeping up with the demand for sprinklers, and the water level in the water tower fell until the pipes were sucking air, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers. That may be partly due to people watering more due to a lack of rain and intense heat lately, but also perhaps because the wells are falling off in water production, he said. Wiggins’ well levels have been falling consistently for years now, which is why the town is buying water rights, has a new well site in another area and is building a pipeline to bring water from the new source to town.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: The town has attracted interest from 26 contractors for the upgrade to the finished water supply system

July 16, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

…26 contractors came to town Wednesday to attend a pre-bid meeting and find out specifications, Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, which is overseeing the project, told the Wiggins Town Council that night. Plans for the project were finally approved by the USDA and other agencies, and the project can begin construction, he said. The construction will have four components and contractors can bid on one, more or all of them, Holbrook said. Those include a new membrane treatment system, a 7.3 mile pipeline, two 20-acre augmentation ponds and two new water supply wells…

Contractors can ask questions until July 22, and bids are due Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. Holbrook said he expects even more contractors to bid before the period is over…

Meanwhile, work continues on changing the water rights the town owns from agricultural use to municipal use. A first step is to obtain approval of the change from the Weldon Valley Ditch Co., of which the water rights is a part, and that is underway, Holbrook said. Wiggins must also receive approval from the Colorado State Engineer`s Office, and that is expected in the next few months, he said. That will allow the town to start pumping water when construction is done, even if there are still water court proceedings.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Industrial Facilities, Inc. hired to perform levee recertification work

May 16, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

FEMA is asking that all levees be recertified in the wake of the disaster which happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, and this is the next step for Wiggins…

Holbrook said that certifying the levee will mean doing spot checking of the structure, but one of the first steps is to meet with FEMA representatives to determine exactly how they want it done.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: The town is gearing up to file a substitute water supply plan for their new well

April 16, 2011

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The ditch company [Weldon Valley] also did not have any objections to discharging the concentrated remains after the town uses reverse osmosis to clarify its water, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, which is overseeing the project. Once Weldon Valley gives its approval, the town can file its water plan with the water court, Nation said.

That begins a time of waiting on a number of issues.

The case will wait for 60 days while other water users have a chance to file objections to the plan, and then a substitute water plan will be filed, Nation said. Usually, a town cannot file for a well permit until the substitute plan is filed, but it is possible Wiggins could receive an exception through an emergency filing, he said. If that happened, Wiggins could have authority for a well as quickly as two to three weeks after filing, but otherwise it will take longer, Holbrook said.

Wiggins can probably begin pumping water as soon as the substitute water plan is filed, but the best-case scenario for that is three months, Nation said.

More infrastructure coverage here.


Wiggins: The town council approves clean water rate increase starting January 1

November 21, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the council agreed to raise the minimum clean water rate from $36 a month to $49 a month starting Jan. 1, but not to change the sewer rates. Eventually, the rate will have to rise to about $80 a month in order to repay a USDA loan which is paying for the water project, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers. But that figure is just a guess. When the project was first initiated, it was believed that each household would have to pay $93 as a basic water rate, but a grant from the USDA helped cut that cost, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: The town council is slowly moving through the paperwork required for new water system

November 13, 2010

From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing indebtedness for its water project, but that is not quite what it sounds like, said Wiggins Town Attorney Sam Light. This was basically approval of signing a USDA form contract which sets up conditions for taking a loan and grant package from the federal agency, and which indicates that the entire debt could come due if Wiggins defaults on its loan once bonds are issued, he said. It pledges the water system as security for the loan, and states that Wiggins cannot contract to build the project without USDA consent after the agency has a chance to see designs, Light said. Essentially, this contract says that Wiggins understands all the provisions and agrees to them, he said. The resolution also agrees that Wiggins will comply with all state and federal laws, and will continually operate the facility in good condition. Part of the agreement is to provide for adequate revenues to pay the debt on time, and to operate and maintain the facility. Revenue cannot be used to pay any expenses which are not directly incurred for the facility, and no free use of the facility will be permitted.

Board members went into a closed-door executive session for 2-1/2 hours to discuss a land and water purchase for the water project, legal issues pertaining to the water project, use of land from previously purchased acreage which was part of buying water, and getting permission from the Weldon Valley Ditch Co. to change the use of the water from that property, Light said…

The USDA did approve a grant and loan package for Wiggins to build the new water system, which includes a pipeline to bring water from a farm northwest of the town and to build a water treatment facility at the farm. Certain conditions must be met before the town can begin taking bids from contractors to do the job, said Tim Holbrook, who is overseeing the engineering aspect of the project for Industrial Facilities Engineering. Staff is working to secure easements for the pipeline, including negotiating for private land for the pipe, he said. They have also applied to the Colorado Department of Transportation for approval for the pipeline to cross Highway 144 and Highway 34, and did secure approval from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to trench under its property to lay pipe. Holbrook said he is working on completing an engineering design to send in to the USDA, which will include the treatment part of the project. That is also needed for a permit to construct the project, and getting that permit could take 30 to 60 days, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Council moves water project along

October 17, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Council members approved a resolution certifying that the current project to bring water from a new source into town is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, as well as an emergency ordinance establishing the Town of Wiggins Water Enterprise. This is part of the effort to complete a set of conditions created by the USDA for receiving a loan and a grant to pay for the project. Since the money for the project comes from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding, governments that receive such funding must certify that their projects are appropriate ways to spend the money, said Wiggins Town Attorney Sam Light. That was one of the conditions for the loan and grant. In order to create bonds to sell to pay off the loan, an attorney who specializes in that kind of work said it is best to officially name the Wiggins water system an “enterprise,” although that is already the way it has been run, Light said. As an enterprise, the water system is exempt from Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) requirements to have voters approve any increases in costs, he said. Basically, this amounts to renaming the water fund to the water revenue fund, Light said.

The town is also working on the other conditions for the loan and grant, Rogers said. The town has gathered documentation of some of the right of way easements required for running a pipeline from a well northwest of Wiggins into the town, but is still working on it, Holbrook said. A title company is working on certifying that those easements do not have any liens or other encumbrances on them, Rogers said. The town’s auditor has said that he is sending a letter to document the town’s financial condition, but that has not come in yet, he said.

The USDA will be coming to Wiggins to present an official check on Monday, Rogers said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: The town has received approval from the USDA for $5.5 million loan and grant package

September 30, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

…[The approval is] good news, and the even better news is that the $5.5 million package comes as 60 percent loan and 40 percent grant, said Mayor Mike Bates. That means rather than an estimated $90 or so cost for household water bills, the average water bill will go up to closer to $60, he said. The current charge is $35.

Wiggins has seen its current well levels dropping for years now, and the water quality has deteriorated to the point that infants are not supposed to consume the water. The plan is to pipe water from a well northwest of the town, where the water table is still clear and plentiful…

The next step is to build ponds to hold augmentation water from the shares of the Weldon Valley Ditch Co. the town owns, and other construction will begin in the spring, he said. He said he hopes to have the new water running in Wiggins next fall, Bates said. The money for the loan and grant come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins is in line for a USDA grant to help pay for their proposed supply project

September 10, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The need for a new source of water is immediate, [Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers] said. People have been complaining about how park lawns are drying out, but the town`s water supply has not been able to keep up with the demand, he said. The water level in town wells has been dropping for years now, and has dropped below 10 feet, Rogers said. “Wiggins is in a critical water situation,” Rogers said, although some people do not seem to want to realize it.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Water Court application update

August 16, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins officials had expected to hear from the USDA by now about the letter of conditions which would allow the project to begin, but that has not happened, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers during Wednesday`s meeting of the Wiggins Town Council. Now it seems like it will be the end of September before that will happen, said Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering, which is organizing the project. He is working on exhibits for easements for the pipeline for the USDA officials, he said…

Wiggins could probably begin construction on the project and start receiving water next spring, and it would be good to begin with the augmentation ponds on the property from which the town bought the water shares as soon as possible, Kuntz said. That would make it easier to get a temporary water supply plan. [water attorney Rick Fendel] said that legal fees will exceed $100,000, but it is difficult to say by how much. That is partly determined by how long Wiggins has to wrangle with other water users, although sometimes these cases are pretty clean and easy, Kuntz said. There is very little chance the overall plan will be rejected by the water court, Fendel said. Costs of Kuntz` engineering will probably cost about $10,000, he said. Since the court case is just beginning, and the town has already spent more than half the money originally estimated for the legal fees, how is the town to pay for them, asked council member Karol Kopetzky. The pipeline costs should be less expensive than estimated, since they wee based on $40 a foot and a recent estimate for another project came in at $26 a foot, Rogers said. Also, contingency funds should be built into the USDA loan, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins scores nine shares of the Weldon Valley Ditch Company

July 23, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins Town Council members voted unanimously during their monthly meeting Wednesday night to contract with Tom and Donna Deganhart to buy nine shares of Weldon Valley Ditch Co. water at a cost of $720,000. That contract required $20,000 of earnest money, but that will give the town the right to look at records on the water use and a chance to figure out how much water those shares would yield for use by the town. Since the town already bought shares of Weldon Valley Ditch water which should give it 103 acre-feet, and this purchase may yield 150 acre-feet, that might be all the water the town`s water project will need, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: Town augmentation project update

April 16, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Holbrook said a biological assessment of the water project was sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it will take three to four weeks before the agency will send a letter to USDA on its findings. It would then take four to eight weeks for Industrial Facilities Engineering to put together bid-ready design documents for the USDA to look at, he said. Unfortunately, a representative of USDA said that even after the Wildlife Service approved the report the town must publish the report and wait for 30 days for any response, said Town Clerk Craig Trautwein. Then there must be a finding of no significant impact on the environment, which could take another 15 days. These waits for agencies could hinder the construction end date, because it sounds like it could take months before Industrial Facilities Engineering gets the go-ahead to do the final process design report to submit to USDA, Longcor said.

However, all of this waiting will be worth it for a potentially nice grant and a 40-year loan, Holbrook said. Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers said parts of the project could run concurrently, which means the pumping station could be built at the same time as sections of the pipeline and various sections of the pipeline could be built simultaneously to keep the project on schedule.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins election: Most candidates name the water supply problem as the number one issue

April 4, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins has seen its municipal water grow more mineral-laden as the water table sinks, and it has been dropping steadily for the past few years all through the local water basin. For months, the council wrangled over whether or not to have the town build its own new water system, join up with the Morgan County Quality Water District or buy water from the city of Fort Morgan. Eventually, town council members decided the least expensive method would be to build its own system and started buying water and working on designs. Now they are waiting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve a grant and/or loan package to get the project started.

More Wiggins coverage here.


The town of Wiggins is still shopping for water rights

March 14, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

At the end of the Wiggins Town Council meeting Wednesday night, after a closed-door executive session, Town Administrator Bill Rogers was instructed to meet with an undisclosed person to discuss the sale of water rights. Although Wiggins has begun building its new water pipeline and may soon have U.S. Department of Agriculture approval for a loan to finance it, the town still only has about half of the new water supply it needs to replace its failing wells.

Water levels in the town wells have fallen for years now, and mineral levels have risen. The same has been true in the rest of the Bijou-Kiowa water basin. Wiggins bought 10 shares of Weldon Valley Ditch Co. water, but that will only provide about half of what it will need, Rogers has said in the past. At its height of use, Wiggins was consuming about 240 acre-feet of water each year, although the town only used 193 acre-feet last year, partly because of water restrictions, he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Town council approves waterline bid

January 18, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Wiggins must run a pipeline from a well near Empire Reservoir to the west side of town to start using a new water source. So far, the town has bought about half of the water it needs, and there is a prospect for buying more. The water project is needed because the water levels and water quality in existing wells have fallen steadily over the past few years, as have other wells in the same basin.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Boring project under Bijou Irrigation District canal on fast track

January 9, 2010

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

Work on this part of the project needed to be pursued quickly, because Bijou needs it done before water may possibly be moving in the ditch, and the irrigation district gave a deadline of Jan. 31, said Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers. This was brought up at the last regular meeting of the council, and was an obstacle because the town was not certain if the USDA would pay for doing this so soon, since the agency had not yet approved the project for loans or grants. However, town officials met with USDA officials and a letter from the agriculture department has given the go-ahead for this portion of the project, Rogers said. In fact, the town already had a bidders’ meeting with six contractors and expects to open bids on Jan. 12, he said…

The $10,000 fee for a right of way is high, considering these usually come for about $1,000, Rogers said. But it would probably cost that much to condemn the land for a right of way. Given the time constraints, this is the best deal the town can make, said Wiggins Mayor Mike Bates. In fact, it will cost a little more than $10,000, because part of the agreement adds Bijou engineering and legal costs, too, said Town Clerk Craig Trautwein.

Rogers also told the council that Wiggins was offered a chance to buy nine more shares of Weldon Valley Ditch Co. water for the project. The project already has 10 shares and could use 10 or so more…

The Weldon Valley Ditch Co. still has not made a decision about converting the shares Wiggins owns from agricultural water to municipal water, Trautwein said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins Town Council delays rate increase

November 14, 2009

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From The Fort Morgan Times (John Brennan):

The Wiggins Town Council decided at its meeting Wednesday to delay a planned rate increase from $36 a month to $56 a month per household…

Town Administrator Bill Rogers said the town could impose the first $20 of the increase as soon as construction begins, or delay any increase until the project is completed. Councilman Vince Longcor said he felt the town should wait to impose even a partial rate hike until the town starts work like digging trenches or laying pipe. “There’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes (on the water project), but for a lot of people seeing is believing,” Longcor said. Rogers said he expects to be able to start construction on the project as soon as the town receives a letter of authorization from USDA Rural Development, which is loaning money for the project. That letter should come shortly after the first of the year, Rogers said. The town also decided to finalize a contract with IFE, the engineering firm doing preliminary design work on the water project. Town attorney Melinda Culley told the council she understood that the design work had been approved, but no funding had been appropriated yet. She said state law requires that funding be approved before authorizing any work, so Culley recommended that the town either hold off on approving any design work, or only authorize work for which it had funding available. Rogers said the town had about $100,000 that it could dedicate for the design work, and the expense would be reimbursable through the USDA. A representative of IFE said the agreement to be approved Wednesday would allow the firm to do some initial geotechnical and surveying work, for which there is some urgency because the town can only bore under the Bijou ditch when it is not filled with water. Rogers said that leaves the town just a “very short window” in January or February to complete that work, or face delaying the project for an entire year.

The council unanimously approved the agreement with IFE and the appropriation of the $100,000, with the understanding that it would be reimbursed by USDA for whatever portion of that money is spent.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: New supply pipeline design underway

October 17, 2009

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The idea at this point is to build a pipeline following mostly state and county rights of way from a well site eight miles northwest of Wiggins, take it along the west side of town and just south of the Wiggins School District’s football field and then east to connect with the current water system, said engineer Tim Holbrook of Industrial Facilities Engineering Inc. as he gave the Wiggins Town Council a preliminary engineering report. However, some of the details must await design testing, he said. Currently, the plan is to treat the water at the well site, softening it and taking out sulfates before sending it to Wiggins, Holbrook said. That would mean the water would not have to go to the existing water plant and could go directly into the water main. This would be the least expensive and least difficult route to follow, he said. Only a little over a mile of pipeline would need to be on private land with this plan, according to the map of the pipeline. The treatment plant would be about 300 feet by 700 feet at the Smith-Jones farm site and include a 50,000-gallon water storage tank, Holbrook said. With this design, the town could use the existing water system to irrigate the city park through another water line, although planning is necessary to make sure some households can have access to drinking water, Holbrook said.

More Wiggins coverage here.


Wiggins: New water attorney named

August 14, 2009

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Jesse Chaney):

The council hired [Frederick] Fendel of Petrock and Fendel, P.C. to replace former water attorney Steve Jeffers, who left due to a conflict of interest. Town Administrator Bill Rogers said after the meeting that Jeffers’ firm represents the Weldon Valley Ditch Co., which has control of water the town may seek to acquire…

Fendel said local Gary Teague is interested in selling the town 10 shares of Weldon Valley Ditch Co. water. The ditch company would have to approve the exchange, Fendel said, and he has been working to specify exactly which shares Teague would like to sell. “I plan to have a draft agreement this week that I hope everyone here can look at,” he said.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Town council approves design and engineering funds along with update of master plan

July 11, 2009

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

[Council] approved a contract for Industrial Facilities Engineering Inc. to do an update on design work in order to have the engineering needed to apply for federal and state grants and loans; decided to hire a water lawyer; and have a contract in hand to buy a well site for the project. IFE Operations Manager Tim Holbrook said his company had done a water system master plan for Wiggins in 2006, but it will cost $17,000 to do an update to the plan for the specific Wiggins Water Project. Everyone is agreed that grants are better than loans by governmental agencies, but the town can make applications for various types of funding, he said. One route is to ask the state Department of Local Affairs for a grant from severance taxes, and the town should learn if that will happen in the next three months, Holbrook said. The town can also apply to the USDA Rural Development program, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.


Wiggins: Town council decides to build new system

May 4, 2009

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From the Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

…[T]he Wiggins Town Council decided Wednesday to build the town’s own new water system…

It will probably take a couple of years before new water comes out of taps in Wiggins homes, Town Administrator Bill Rogers said. Bill Rogers said he would contact a water attorney today to get water court proceedings started to convert water rights the town owns from agricultural use to municipal use. He also said Wiggins could begin using the water even before the court makes its final decision, according to legal experts…

The next step is to find the funding to do the job, Bill Rogers said. He believes the town can access about $2 million worth of grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and $2 million in loans at less than 1 percent interest from the Colorado Resources Power and Water Authority. The cost of the project is estimated at $4.69 million to buy even more water, build a pipeline to a farm where water can be pumped to town, purchase rights of way, build a water treatment plant and pay for legal expenses, he said. The steps after that depend on which money comes in first, Bill Rogers said. If the grants come first, the town will begin drilling wells and building the pipeline. If the loans come first, the next step is to buy more water. Grant money cannot be spent on water, he said…

Because of debt service and possible grants, the average minimum price to residential customers would be $182.75 per month if Wiggins went with Quality Water; $178 per month if it went with Fort Morgan water; and $114 per month if the town bought and treated its own water, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Town may move forward on long-term supply decision without election

April 25, 2009

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From the Fort Morgan Times:

“I’m ready to make a decision,” said Councilman Vince Longcor, which echoed what most of the council was saying at a work session Wednesday night. Several Wiggins residents and some who own Wiggins property urged the council to make a decision on its own, because it had been elected to make that kind of decision, rather than hold an election. The council had decided in February to hold an election after years of debate on how to solve the problem of falling town water well levels. The town attorney had advised the council that they did not have to hold an election and suggested a survey instead. After reviewing the three options that would have been on the ballot, and hearing the support for making a decision themselves, the council members decided to have another special water meeting next Wednesday and vote on which option to use, they said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.


Wiggins: Town meetings for review of supply options April 22 and April 29

April 17, 2009

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From the Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker): “Two town meetings are scheduled in Wiggins on April 22 and April 29 to help residents review the town’s options for replacing its water supply. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. at Wiggins Town Hall. The idea is to make sure residents understand exactly what each option entails so they can compare them correctly, Town Clerk Craig Trautwein said after Wednesday’s Wiggins Town Council meeting.”

[More...]

At an earlier meeting, the council gave out some cost estimates for the various options, which included costs of water acquisition and some infrastructure for 240 acre-feet of water, which would meet the entire demand for residential and commercial use.

Town Administrator Bill Rogers explained that the cost from Quality Water would be $8.28 million, from Fort Morgan it would cost $4.8 million and for Wiggins to buy its own water it would be $5.16 million.

However, because of debt service and possible grants to pay for infrastructure, the average minimum price to residential customers would be $184.75 per month if Wiggins went with Quality Water; $174 a month if it went with Fort Morgan water; and $107 monthly if the town bought and treated its own water, he said.

Yet another option offered by Fort Morgan would mean only buying 160 acre-feet — the most for which Wiggins has enough water shares to use for augmentation — and blending that water with Wiggins well water. The idea is to mix Fort Morgan water at a two-to-one ratio with town water during the summer, which would require some water softening, and have pure Fort Morgan water during the winter. That plan would have a base cost of $3.9 million and cost households $136 per month, Rogers said.

However, a similar blending plan if Wiggins bought its own water would cost $3.96 million and the monthly cost would be about $83, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.


Wiggins June referendum to decide strategy for sustainable water supply

March 14, 2009

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Here’s an update on Wiggins’ efforts at finding a affordable sustainable water supply, from Dan Barker writing for the Fort Morgan Times. From the article:

A public vote on which new water source Wiggins should buy would not necessarily decide the matter.

Some situations could be outside the town’s control, which would mean any one option might not be feasible, said Wiggins Town Clerk Craig Trautwein, quoting Town Attorney Sam Light during the Wiggins Town Council meeting Wednesday night For instance, if Wiggins could not find the financial resources to pay for an option or if the price shot up, the vote would not be binding, Mayor Mike Bates said. Advisers have told the council before that receiving financing depends on a town’s debt load and other factors. That means the planned special election is more of a way to get feedback from the community, Bates said…

The choices planned for the ballot include having Wiggins buy its own water and build its own system; buying water from Fort Morgan and building a pipeline from the city’s water treatment plant; or joining the Morgan County Quality Water District. Estimates that include costs of water acquisition and some infrastructure for 240 acre-feet of water, which would meet the town’s entire demand for residential and commercial use, are varied. A quote from the Morgan County Quality Water District would put the cost at $8.28 million, Wiggins officials have said, while buying from Fort Morgan would cost $4.8 million and Wiggins buying its own water would cost $5.16 million. However, because of the debt service factor and possible grants, the average minimum price to residential customers would be $184.75 per month if Wiggins went with Quality Water; $174 per month if it went with Fort Morgan water; and $107 per month if the town bought and treated its own water, Town Administrator Bill Rogers said last month.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.


Wiggins June referendum to decide strategy for sustainable water supply

February 13, 2009

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The Wiggins Town Council is going the populist route and letting voters decide the towns strategy for a sustainable water supply. Here’s a report from Dan Barker writing for the Fort Morgan Times. From the article:

Mayor Mike Bates said he met with Fort Morgan city officials Monday to clear up what the city is willing to offer in terms of cost to buy water. The Fort Morgan City Council seems to be behind the latest offer. However, the Wiggins council seems to be “spinning its wheels,” so it would be better to have an election to let Wiggins voters decide between three different options, Bates said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.


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