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PAWSD to create Dry Gulch Project Workgroup

The community will have a say on the size of the Dry Gulch Reservoir thanks to the formation of a Dry Gulch Project Workgroup by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD).

The plan for the group was brought forward at the Monday evening PAWSD special meeting amidst discussion about the PAWSD annual report prepared for the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.

The formation of the group is mentioned in a PAWSD letter to the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regarding the PAWSD annual report

“In keeping with our desire to continue to educate the public regarding its mission, and in keeping with its sincere intent to represent the desires of its constituency, beginning in May and running through September or October 2010, the PAWSD Board will conduct monthly Dry Gulch Project community workgroup meetings,” the letter states.

While still in the late planning stages in terms of logistics, PAWSD is aiming for a workgroup of individuals representing many special interests and a wide spectrum of community views to meet once a month for five or six months, with an end goal of a consensus on the size of reservoir PAWSD should pursue, said Sheila Berger, special projects manager.

The letter further states that, “Opportunities will be available in ensuing years for the community to revise its consensus.”

As for the proposed makeup of the workgroup, it is likely a number of special interest groups will be formally invited to have a representative sit on the workgroup, while citizens willing to be active in all of the sessions (planned to be three hours each) are welcome.

“We are still looking ... at opening it up to the community in some fashion, but that fashion has not been determined,” Berger said.

The first formal invitation has already gone out, however, in the form of the letter to the BoCC, which states, “We expect that the County will appoint a representative to, and be an active participant of, this workgroup.”

Berger noted that much of the group’s structure would be determined by the group itself, as well as by a hired, third-party facilitator. PAWSD staff and/or board representation will be on hand to observe and serve as an informational resource.

“We expect that this group will want to roll up their sleeves and get into some of, if not all of, the information,” Berger said. The first meeting will be an informational session regarding the project, which Berger added is “more than a reservoir,” but will also consider the future water needs of the community and the accompanying, needed infrastructure.

Those wishing to simply observe the process will be welcome to attend, Berger said, and, dependent upon the facilitator’s ideas and preferences, each meeting may start and end with short public comment periods, with the bulk of the time given to the workgroup process.

As plans for the group are solidified, more information regarding the start date and how to be involved will be released.

randi@pagosasun.com