Every day, 24 people move to Douglas County. That growth is a big reason why two out of three county commissioners in the Colorado county want to create a long-term water plan. Their idea to form a Douglas County Water Commission is moving forward, despite the third county commissioners' opposition.
"Clean water for generations to come but it's renewable water. Reuse. Reclamation projects," said Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon.
Those are the goals Commissioners Laydon and George Teal had in mind when voting to create a water commission. In a recent survey, county residents indicated a desire to have a centralized water source and plan.
"The purpose of it is to ensure we have a 2050 comprehensive water plan," said Laydon.
But commissioner Lora Thomas says it's unnecessary.
"This is just redundant, expensive work," said Thomas, "Douglas County has a group called the South Metro Water Supply Authority. -- their acronym is SMWSA -- who has over 10 major water suppliers in the county."
Thomas says SMWSA is already working on a long-term water plan, but Laydon says it doesn't include rural parts of the county.
"The goal of this commission is to bring in all those great experts under one roof to provide a really comprehensive plan," said Laydon.
Thomas estimates it would cost $200,000 to make the plan and more to execute it, but Laydon disagrees.
"I'm not anticipating this will require any funding. Again, this is a staff exercise with volunteer board members," said Laydon.
County commissioners are currently working to appoint that unpaid Water Commission Board.
"Our water commission will be an 11-member board. Three from each district, two at-large representing rural communities, with three alternates for each district," said Laydon.
On the list of applicants being considered: a Sterling Ranch developer, and two investors from Renewable Water Resources, a company the county voted against working with last year on a controversial plan to pump millions of gallons of water from the San Luis Valley to the Front Range.
"Of course, every individual that's identified will have to sign a conflict-of-interest form and ensure that they are not having any conflicts on our board," said Laydon.
Interviews with potential board members will happen in the next week. And Laydon would like to see the board seated and commission up and running in the next two months.
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