UP THE CREEK
September 1, 2003
This year, members have asked us two questions more frequently than any others: (1) how is our water supply holding up? (2) how is the new treatment plant coming along? Taking them in the order presented, the answers are, “very well,” and “go on to the next question.”
First, the water supply. We began the year with nearly twice the stored water as last year, even though many reservoirs did not fill to capacity. It was a good beginning, remembering that last year, which was hopefully the peak of the drought, we used about half our stored water. Early in the season, the Association was approached by Orchard City Water with an offer to allow us the use of some Surface Creek flow water in return for a block of our stored water for their use. A deal was made, and as a result, USCDWUA has not yet had to draw on any stored water. We will probably finish the season without needing to.
Since the Surface Creek water obtained from Orchard City has proven to be useful,
the Board intends to pursue negotiations to obtain it permanently.
Now, what was the next question? Oh yes, the “filter plant.” We assume you are referring to that clearing in the oak brush where, if the eyes are crossed, and the viewer has used a lot of imagination or drugs, can be seen the form of what might be mistaken for a water treatment plant, but is really just a trick of the light.
When setting out to build a treatment plant, we were aware of the central rule governing all new waterworks projects: when the weight of the paper equals the weight of the concrete, then maybe the thing can actually get started. But we failed to calculate the relative densities of paper and concrete, resulting in our belated realization that one cubic yard of concrete equals 307,692 pages. Although we passed that total back in April, we are still a few reams short of a stack.
Here is the current tally of documents and their status. Delta County Planning Department: boundary adjustment (approved), specific development permit (approved). Delta County Office of Emergency Preparedness: chlorine and other chemical spill mitigation plan (approved). Delta County Fire District #3: wildfire mitigation plan (approved).
U.S. Bureau of Land Management, pipeline easement (approved), environmental assessment (approved).
Colorado Department of Water Resources: alternate point of diversion on Surface Creek (approved). Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: waterworks construction permit (pending), discharge permit (pending).
U.S. Fish and Wildlife: “Section 7 consultation” (pending). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Surface Creek diversion dam permit (pending).
Most of the stuff that is pending is continuously being promised to happen in the “near future.” But we are learning another axiom of project reality, which is that the future is not as near as some people think.
But, this is just me, venting for the fun of it. The project is actually moving forward very quickly. If you remember to think in geological time.