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Dry Gulch Community Work Group to meet June 9

The first meeting of the Dry Gulch Community Work Group will take place at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District is coordinating a work group of self-selected representatives of stakeholders from a broad spectrum of the community to decide the future of water storage for the community. The PAWSD board determined at its May 11 regular meeting that, as a starting point, the work group should provide a consensus recommendation on the following items:

1. Should we be planning for future water storage?

2. If so, what is the best alternative for storage?

3. If the best alternative is a reservoir, is the Dry Gulch site the most appropriate?

4. If storage should be planned for (in whatever form), how large/how much?

5. If storage should be planned for (in whatever form), how should construction be funded?

Anyone with an interest in the outcome of this issue is invited to a seat at the table. Participants must be willing to commit to attending every work group meeting for at least five to six months. Alternates are acceptable in the case that the participant is unable to make a certain meeting, but it is highly encouraged that all primary participants attend the first meeting on June 9.

In addition to opening the process to any committed member of the public, PAWSD has sent invitations to several community agencies to be represented in this process. PAWSD is not soliciting individuals for this work group ; all participants will be self-selected.

Maro Zagoras, a Fort Collins facilitator with substantive experience in Colorado water issues, will be the third-party neutral facilitator.

At the first meeting, the work group itself will decide how it wants the process to go, additional points for discussion, desired outcomes and if PAWSD should have a voting representative at the table or only serve as a logistical and informational resource.

The agenda for the meeting, scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. and last three hours, lists 12 desired outcomes for the meeting that are then reflected in the agenda:

• Understand background of this project.

• Clarify purpose of this process (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, or BATNA).

• Clarify role of PAWSD staff in this work.

• Review/make changes/agree on outcomes for process.

• Develop and agree on list of expectations of stakeholders (have to attend all meetings, read materials).

• Develop ground rules for process — public input, alternates and proxy voting.

• Determine role of PAWSD as a stakeholder in this process.

• Develop worst fears list and how we might address those up front.

• Present/alter/agree on draft process to achieve outcomes.

• Review stakeholder matrix and identify any missing perspectives for future meetings.

• Review first sets of data and see if there are any changes the group wants included.

• Develop calendar of future meeting dates and times.

Toward the end of the meeting, the group will set its future calendar, next steps, and complete a meeting evaluation.

Ten minutes are scheduled for public comment before the meeting’s 7:30 p.m. adjournment.

This work group will decide the future of water supply for Archuleta County. Given the state and regional water supply situation, this is a tremendously important responsibility. As committed to by the PAWSD board and supported by the San Juan Water Conservancy District board, the outcome of this process will serve as the basis for future planning decisions by the districts, including water rights actions if and as recommended by a consensus of this work group.

The work group meetings will be open to the general public, for those interested but without the time to fully commit to participating in the work group itself.

To participate on the work group, send an e-mail to with contact information and perspectives or interests you represent (i.e. rate payer, permanent resident, summer-only resident, economic development, recreation, wetlands, agriculture, real estate etc.). No one who wishes to participate will be turned away.,

It is hoped that a series of recommendations will be made by this work group to the PAWSD board this fall. As the process moves forward, minutes from the meetings with attendee lists will be posted on the PAWSD website.