By Casey Crow
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) officially approved an agreement with the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) to restructure the financing of the Dry Gulch water storage project last week.
In 2002, after a severe drought and massive wildfires, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) began working with the SJWCD to develop a water storage facility at Dry Gulch.
The CWCB approved a grant of $1 million to the SJWCD to purchase land for the project. The CWCB later approved a loan to PAWSD for $11.2 million.
PAWSD and SJWCD then purchased Running Iron Ranch for $10.2 million, which consists of 660 acres and water rights in Archuleta County.
In 2013, PAWSD approved a modification to the loan that reduced the original amount to approximately $9.2 million, to be repaid over 30 years with an interest rate of 3.5 percent.
Both PAWSD and the SJWCD agreed to restructure the outstanding loan in January of this year. The restructuring plan includes reducing the principal balance by $4 million and reducing the interest rate from 3.5 percent to 1.75 percent over 20 years.