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Huerfano County supports a city water lease to Shell Oil

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG—The Huerfano County Commission Wednesday, voted 3-0 to support the lease of water by the City of Walsenburg to Shell Oil. Shell Oil is in the county pulling together the necessary resources in order to begin drilling a natural gas test well that will be located near La Veta.
Tuesday evening the city began looking at it’s water portfolio in an effort to locate the proposed five acre feet Shell Oil will need for their project. Currently the issue of water is the most important factor facing the international oil company in its operations in Huerfano County.
The city is considering leasing Shell Oil the water it needs from the back wash produced at their water treatment plant. 200,000 gallons of back wash water is produced each day by the treatment plant. That water is flushed down the Coler Ditch and into the lakes at Lathrop Park.
Back wash is water that’s been added to debris such as sand and dirt then filtered out of water during the treatment process producing the city’s tap water.
The city has requested a meeting with La Veta board members and the county to discuss ways the Shell Oil operation will affect all the stakeholders in the county before approving the lease. A date for the meeting hasn’t been set.
Jessica Newton from the Huajatolla Valley Estates and Ed Fisher from Edward James Survey Inc, reported to the county about the location of water meters in relation to the right of way.
As county crews plow the county roads in the subdivision in the winter, they may damage the meters which are too close to the roads and the county wants to be free of liability if a meter is damaged. However Fisher Survey has found that there is a plated right of way and an actual right of way with the two sometimes diverging from each other, some distances are as great as 25 feet.
Some property owners have located their meters near the plated right of way which may actually put the meters at or on the county road. The county commission decided to have Road and Bridge go and locate the meters that are near or on the county road and have them moved back toward property lines. The cost to the home owners would be about a $1,000 to move the meters.
Alan Wehe from the Blanca Telephone Company made his pitch to the county for a permit that would allow the company to bury fiber optic cable from I-25 west through La Veta and over the pass to Costilla County. The 42 miles of line would bring highspeed internet service to La Veta subscribers moving information at speeds close to a gigabite.

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