Officials consider Silt Mesa water system |

Officials consider Silt Mesa water system

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILT MESA, Colorado – Officials of the Silt Water Conservancy District are trying to determine if there is interest in setting up a domestic water delivery system for residents of the Silt Mesa area.

The district sent a letter and survey to residents on Jan. 19, to gauge interest in the idea.

At present, according to water district manager Jason Spaulding, there is no estimate as to how much such a water system might cost, or how much individual households might be expected to pay to connect to a new service.

“They’ve done numerous studies on it,” Spaulding said, noting that the latest was “maybe 12 or 15 years ago.”

But Silt Mesa wasn’t very densely populated at that time. “Things have changed,” he noted.

While there was not enough support from residents in the 1990s to justify going further, he said, people may feel differently now.

The water district was formed in 1957 to conserve and develop water resources within its boundaries. It operates Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap reservoirs, with related pipelines and other facilities, primarily to deliver irrigation water to farms and ranches.

The district also provides water “to augment individual domestic wells” within district boundaries, according to the letter.

The water table underlying the area is recharged mainly through “flood irrigation and seepage from unlined ditches,” according to the letter. But even so, some residents “need to truck domestic water to refill cisterns during certain times of the year” because their wells can’t do the job.

The availability of well water may worsen, the letter cautions, if the district goes ahead with efficiency improvements, such as enclosing existing ditches in pipelines and switching to sprinkler irrigation.

According to Dan Cokley, an engineer with the Schmueser Gordon Meyer engineering firm and project manager for the water conservancy district, the proposed new water system would serve about 500 residential properties. The coverage area, he said, is from approximately the north side of Silt Mesa Road to an area north of Harvey Gap. The water lines would be separate from the town of Silt’s water system.

If interest among residents is strong enough, a feasibility study would include a review of the service areas, an analysis of water supply, water demand and treatment options, and other issues.

The study would cost $75,000 to $90,000, Cokley said, depending on the scope.

He said the district has much of that funding in hand, between the district’s own reserves and a $50,000 grant from Garfield County.

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