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Cucharas pond augmentation plan collapses

by Carol Dunn
At its January 14 meeting, the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District (CSWD) circled the wagons on the proposed augmentation plan for the owners of illegal Cucharas Valley ponds.  As promised, Bruce Cantrell dropped the proposed plan after receiving very little interest in the augmentation scenario he had worked out.  The fact remains that about 20 pond owners are in violation of the State’s water law by holding in their ponds water they do not own, resulting in evaporation and the loss of that water to the downstream users who do own it.
    Attorney Steve Monson, water attorney with Felt Monson Culichia, was on hand to represent Yellow Pine Guest Ranch, one of the parties interested in augmentation.  A remedy for the pond situation must be worked out before spring thaw.  Water Commissioner Doug Brgoch is holding off issuing cease and desist orders to the pond owners, primarily because there is no pond evaporation over winter.  
    In a spirit of helping the community, CSWD is doing some preliminary calculations to see if their water can be used in an augmentation plan.  “We’re just getting started,” General Manager Bob Northup told the World Journal.
    In other District business, Northup said CSWD will likely use the recently completed engineering studies from GMS Consulting Engineers to do the planned sewer line project next summer.  The District will need to find money before scheduling the rest of the projects involved in the engineering study.