State demographer to present to Archuleta County Growing Water Smart Workgroup


By Cindy Schultz
Special to The SUN
On May 7, Elizabeth Garner, Colorado’s state demographer, will be in Pagosa Springs to share information on statewide trends impacting growth in Colorado, particularly how these trends are expected to impact our community.
The presentation is being hosted by the Archuleta County Growing Water Smart Workgroup, a newly formed collaborative with representation from the town, county, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation, Pagosa Fire Protection and San Juan Water Conservancy districts.
This collaborative effort is a result of a team comprised of water representatives from around Archuleta County attending a three-day workshop last fall, “Growing Water Smart,” hosted by the Sonoran Institute. Seven individuals attended including County Commissioner Michael Whiting, town and county planning commissioner Mike Frederick, Mat deGraaf from the Pagosa Springs Town Council, Rod Proffitt formerly with the San Juan Water Conservancy District, Justin Ramsey from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, Mike Davis of Davis Engineering and James Dickhoff, the town planning director.
Dickhoff summed up the benefit of the workshop as, “the Growing Water Smart workshop introduced us to other urban and rural Colorado communities that were also discussing how to integrate land use planning and water resource planning. Our Archuleta work group left the seminar knowing that a local collaborative effort was necessary.”
From the workshop, the local team concluded that implementation of the goals of the Colorado Water Plan in Archuleta County would require better collaboration among the separate government entities, starting with a better understanding of what amount of growth is expected and the implications on providing services and utilities. Of concern is what projected growth means for the region’s water supply and what options exist to manage growing demand.
The first task for the working group is finding consensus on the region’s population projections, the underlying assumptions about what is driving growth and what drives where people will live.
“The working group identified the need to work together on how we, as a community, use available population data to ensure confidence in local population and growth projections. We cannot determine what services and infrastructure may be needed unless we agree on how many people we are planning for first,” stated Dickhoff.
The state demographer will meet in a work session with the region’s local governments and agencies prior to the public meeting. The focus of the work session will be to learn about the different methodologies for population projections.
The work session will be followed by a public session at 5:30 p.m. in the North Conference Room (Senior Dining Room) of the Ross Aragon Community Center. Everyone is welcome to attend the public event.
For questions, please contact Dickhoff at or 264-4151, ext. 225.