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HCWCD board to remain intact

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- Two long-standing board members with the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, Dawson Jordan and Raymond Harriman, announced during a regular district board meeting last Monday that they hope to extend their tenure with the HCWCD.
They both said that they want to stay until the substitute water supply plan (SWSP) can be finalized.
“We’ve sent in letters to the judge asking for an extension to our terms,” board member Jordan said. The letters were sent to District Three Chief Judge, Claude Appel.
The SWSP has been in the works for the past three years and is a partner to the Rule 14 plan. Together they set up the framework for supplying augmentation water for Gardner, Malachite Spring, Paradise Acres, Huerfano County and CO-61 Water Association. Without the augmentation, water would not flow for the five entities.
Board member Kent Mace applauded the decision, “This decision by both Dawson Jordan and Raymond Harriman validates the plan we’ve worked so hard to bring about.” Last Tuesday, Mace delivered a payment from the Water Conservancy District to the Lori Lucking Living Trust. The payment finalizes the purchase of five acre feet of water for the rest of this year, necessary because the original source of augmentation water, Sheep Mountain Ranch, was unable to deliver due to drought conditions in the Huerfano River. “We will also start negotiations with the trust for more water and a water right,” Mace said.
During the HCWCD Water Activity Enterprise meeting following the regular board meeting, Two Rivers Chief Operating Officer Gary Barber spoke with the Enterprise board about possibly using water right 19 off of the Huerfano River for augmentation. The pitch would call for the Conservancy District Enterprise to use the 19 from the Orlando Reservoir.
Currently no water is flowing to the Orlando Reservoir from the Huerfano River and this is putting a brake on plans Two Rivers has for farming in Northeast Huerfano County. They are not able to irrigate their fields with the low flow rates in the river. Two Rivers has prepared fields for agriculture in Huerfano County, putting a 1.5 percent grade to them using laser leveling technology.
According to Mace, the Conservancy District Enterprise is prohibited by the state from using water below Badito for augmentation purposes. Enterprise board member Erin Jerant is also holding on any decisions until Two Rivers presents the board with a document laying out the intent and responsibilities the company would have as well as benefits to both the company and the Water Enterprise. Mace has also made statements indicating he has a similar opinion.
“We can’t do anything until we see something from Two Rivers,” Jerant said. “Government needs to be transparent so all of this needs to be out in the open.”