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Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District releases strategic plan

Since last November, the board of directors and staff of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District have been engaged in an organizational strategic planning process.

The final plan was approved and adopted by the board at a special meeting Monday night.

Although the district has implemented and continues to use a variety of operational plans, including 40-year capital improvement plans for water and wastewater, a water conservation plan, drought management plan, emergency response plan and source water protection plan, this is the first time in the district’s history that a Strategic Plan has been adopted.

As stated by board member Windsor Chacey prior to Monday’s adoption, “This is a valuable future planning tool, particularly as it focuses on the application of alternative energy to our operations.”

The Strategic Plan provides a “road map” for the agency to achieve its five-year goals (2015).

The purposes of the Strategic Plan are manyfold. First, the Strategic Plan provides a road map for the board of directors, guiding general fiscal, annual budgetary and operational policies. The Strategic Plan provides a road map to managerial staff, guiding personnel, administrative and operational systems decisions. Finally, the Strategic Plan provides a road map for all staff to recognize the individual role of each employee in the overall mission and direction of the organization.

All employees and Board members were involved in the process of creating this document.

Initially, a small core group of staff engaged in several work sessions to identify agency strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures, as well as external forces and industry trends. Long-term goals, and issues potentially thwarting their achievement, were also identified by the core group.

Subsequently, the board worked in two several-hour public work sessions to prioritize and streamline goals and identify strategies required to resolve the potentially obstructive issues. Three all-staff sessions were held throughout this process to further develop strategies and the shorter-term action plans.

The plan consists of four overarching goals, in priority order: improved external communication, improved internal communication, financial preparedness and systems (administrative, technological and personnel) optimization.

For each, 2015 objectives are identified, as well as strategies for accomplishing these objectives. The final element of each goal section is “Action Plan and Strategic Targets,” where the rubber meets the road in terms of accountability and progress. The Action Plan lays out, for the next 18 months, the steps that will be taken towards each strategy, with target dates for accomplishment.

The PAWSD Strategic Plan will be implemented immediately. For each Action Step, the core Strategic Planning staff will determine who is responsible for overseeing its completion.

A progress report for the Strategic Plan will be presented to the board of directors and public quarterly in July, October, January and April.

It is anticipated that the Strategic Plan will be the fundamental document that unifies the direction and guarantees the ongoing efficiency of the district, serving as the basis for all other planning processes, and preparing the district for the challenges and opportunities of the next five years.

The Strategic Plan may be viewed and downloaded from the PAWSD website at