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Conservancy district continues to deal with Dry Gulch

The matter of Dry Gulch Reservoir topped the agenda items at the San Juan Water Conservancy District’s Monday night meeting.

From the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) to the Colorado Water Conservancy Board grant and loan, how to move forward with the project in a way that will keep the terms of both loan and grant was the main question discussed.

Toward the end of last month, SJWCD board chair Larry Ash sent a letter to PAWSD requesting a joint meeting to discuss Dry Gulch, in particular, “the financing, grants, Southwest Land Alliance and a tour date of the reservoir site.”

As of Monday, SJWCD board had not received any communication from PAWSD board or staff regarding a meeting time.

PAWSD Special Projects Manager Renee Lewis, however, confirmed that a letter was put in the mail requesting Aug. 28 as the date for a joint meeting.

The SJWCD board — knowing that PAWSD wishes to dissolve the IGA, with the current board repeating its opposition to investing any more in Dry Gulch — turned to look at the specifics of the CWCB grant they received in 2009 for $1 million. (PAWSD received a CWCB loan for $11.2 million out of which it used $9.2 million to purchase the Weber Ranch and property for the reservoir).

“If the project doesn’t ensue, the grant can be called back,” Ash said adding that there was no way that the SJWCD, whose budget is approximately $80,000 this year, could afford to pay the $1 million grant back.

“If they (PAWSD board) want to protect the rate and taxpayer, they’re not doing it, because we’d be burdening them with paying back the grant,” Ash said.

In other business, the district approved a motion to pay $1,875 to participate, on standby, in a weather modification program.

The board approved a change in officers. As of Aug. 1, board member Rodney Proffitt will take over from Ash as board chair.

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