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HCWCD amenable to supplying water to marijuana growers

HUERFANO– the October 27 meeting of the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, the Board announced that it received two proposals to engineer its Red Wing Augmentation Facility, and chose Atencio Engineering from Colorado City. Previously, board members were asked to rate the proposals and report back at this meeting. Water Commissioner Doug Brgoch and landowner Christy Wyckoff also provided input. “I was pleased to hear the bids were from these two firms,” said Brgoch. According to Directors Scott King and Beaver Edmundson, who checked references, there was no negative feedback on either company. On a rating system the board used, Atencio received 50 points and its bid was $35,925; TZA Water Engineers from Lakewood received 46.3 points, and its bid was $37,500-$47,500. County Commissioner Max Vezzani reported that the Gardner Water Station is in place, and added, “Our expectation is that it will be hooked up very soon.” Director Kent Mace assured that Malachite Spring will be shut off as soon as the

water station is open. Augmentation water for marijuana growing operations is a subject of great interest, and the Board enacted a policy on this by a vote of four to one, with Edmundson voting no and adding, “It’s against federal law.” Board members admitted concern about how this activity may affect future federal grants, and the policy may be revisited if it becomes an issue. There are other issues as well, because the wells involved are distant from the Huerfano, and there are challenges with replacing the water at the required location on the River. According to John Faux, HCWCD’s water engineer, he has discussed this issue during one meeting with the Division Engineer’s office, and there are plans for more discussion. “There’s a lot of uncertainties,” Faux said. “But we think it’s doable.” Along these lines, the board approved application forms that new augmentation users will need to complete. Applicants will bear the cost of being added to the augmentation plan, which will include administrative, engineering, and legal fees.