CUCHARA — At the February 13 meeting of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District, the Board of Directors discussed a new Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. General Manager Bob Northup reported that Microcon, which currently has a SCADA system at the ski resort, had the best bid on the new system. The amount budgeted was $28,000, and Microcon’s bid was about $21,000. Northup said he has seen the basic engineering submittals and he will need to provide an electrician to do some work in the plant. “It’s basically all in the engineering phase right now,” he said. He expressed his hope to have the system installed and running this summer. Once they set a computer up at the Peaks plant, he said they will be able to access it from a remote computer or even a smartphone. “It’s a good addition,” said board member Jim Berg. Northup reported the temperature monitoring equipment is in place at the wastewater plant, and he says they plan to chart information they receive from it on a weekly basis. He also told the board that the generator at the Pine Haven lift station broke down. “It’s the propane fuel part of it that’s giving us fits right now,” he said. Northup plans to get some workers from the generator company to come out next week and help to get it up and running. Northup reported that he is trying to finish up due diligence for the White Creek Reservoir, though
he is having difficulties with one of the landowners on the Pass. Northup talked to the district’s water lawyer and is trying to put a plan together to handle this. The board also discussed the possible installation of a water infiltration facility, which Northup estimated would cost less than $10,000 in its entirety. He also stated the facility would need to have a reservoir of about 225 gallons a minute in case of fires and other emergencies, and would be in an area of approximately 10,000 square feet. Pierce supported this idea and said, “If we have it documented, we have a better chance of getting a grant for it.” Northup said the facility would be a good way to supply the plant with plenty of water. Pierce reported for the South Baker Creek Reservoir Committee, saying, “We’re just trying to organize our paperwork.” Pierce has been corresponding with local resident Marshall Moore about offers that have been made to property owner Bruce Cantrell. “It’s like dealing with a wall,” said board secretary Gerald Van Nort, referring to negotiations. “He’s not the only fish in the pond.” Pierce said that the hope in dealing with a private property owner was to expedite things, but admitted, “This hasn’t moved as expeditiously as we’d hoped.” He discussed the possibility of moving farther upstream and alternatives, such as putting in a pond or lake above the ski area, but the District may have to work with the US Forest Service on that. Pierce said, “We need to look at all possibilities. I still think it’s a good idea – it helps us, it helps all the people in the valley. It’s good for firefighting, it’s good for water storage, so there’s a lot of upside.” He added that there are funds available, but one of the largest roadblocks is that they have yet to acquire a site. “We’re kind of at an impasse as far as land acquisition,” he admitted, “but we’ll make sure our paperwork is all in order.” Although Pierce said the White Creek site, which possesses a pond they could use for temporary storage, is also a possibility, he noted that it would be much harder to use. Cal Sandbeck reported for the Pond Owner Committee and said the committee is going to get together with the board’s Administrative Assistant Jennette Coe to obtain an updated list of the pond owners. Sandbeck suggested tabling the matter for one more month and coming back to the next meeting after getting everything taken care of. “I’m now at the point where I can start doing things,” he added. Pierce discussed the assignation of new committees and specific areas of involvement, which he said will assign board members to specific duties where they can educate themselves and gain a better understanding of what’s happening within the district. He said that the board should be thinking about what the district has and what it might need in the future. “We should have some sort of plan of where to go,” he said. Berg agreed, saying, “We need to be looking ahead. ” Berg suggested holding a workshop on this subject for board members, which would double as a public meeting. Board member Henry Harnly suggested involving particular land owners in this workshop, as well, if they would be interested in it. The board unanimously agreed to schedule a workshop to further inform and involve the public and gave a possible date as sometime at the end of June. “I want to go into that carefully and educated-wise,” Pierce said. Pierce introduced a proposed letter of support for the Arkansas Basin Watershed Collaborative addressed to Craig Godbout and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Berg said that some designated projects, such as culverts and ponds in the upper Cucharas River region, have been identified and submitted to the Arkansas Basin Roundtable to become part of the State Water Plan. “We are right in the middle of that right now,” Berg said. “They’re gonna do it with or without the letter.” He added that the Huerfano County Commissioners have already sent a similar letter of support to CWCB. According to Berg, all of the basins are funded by revenues from the oil and gas industry. Pierce said, “We’re supporting an application to use some of this pot of money.” He said projects here could be “the ambassador” for their first program. The board approved the letter of support. Van Nort reported on water storage in the area and said that he has been approached by Scott King, who is on the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, to get more involved in local water storage issues.