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Huajatolla Valley Estates plans to upgrade water system

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- Homeowners in Huajatolla Valley Estates met March 10 at the La Veta Library to discuss developing a source water protection plan.  HVE’s public water system is one of 2000 in Colorado identified by the State Department of Health & Environment that need to be protected.  In the case of HVE, the 720 gallon per minute source spring sits in a depression and is susceptible to contamination from nearby roads, pastureland and forested areas.  HVE owns a half acre of land around the spring, but Jessica Newton, president of the HVE Water Board, said two acres is actually required for better protection.

    The informational part of the meeting was facilitated by Eddy Balch, State Source Water Specialist with the Colorado Rural Water Association.  HVE applied for a $5,000 grant from CRWA to help ensure the safety, quality and quantity of the subdivision’s spring.  One member of the audience voiced another danger to water supplies.  Referring to thirsty urban areas on the prowl to take over water rights, he asked, “How do we protect our water?”  Balch replied, “Become a unified voice.” Balch encouraged HVE to work with homeowners to achieve conservation and protection of their water supply.  He said, “Try to take an educational approach, rather than a regulatory approach.”

    Developing the source water protection plan is one of the steps required before HVE obtains a USDA loan of $204,000 to develop their water system.  With the loan monies, HVE will install meters, improve the pumphouse, install more storage, and repair existing leaks.  “This will tighten up the way the system works,” Newton said.

    If you would like more information, or to get involved with the steering committee, contact Will or Judy-Sims Barlow at 742-6014.