Category Archives: SLV Water

Center Receives Help with Water

Finally, there’s a bit of good news for water in the San Luis Valley.

Earlier this month on November 19, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced that the department is investing $635 million in 122 projects (PDF, 315 KB) to improve water systems and wastewater handling services in rural communities in 42 states. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

From Center to Saguache water is gold in the San Luis Valley.

The projects will benefit communities from across America, but those closer to home in Colorado include one in Saguache County. The town of Center will use a $1,855,000 million loan and $6,663,000 million grant to replace the district’s failing lagoons wastewater plant with a mechanical wastewater treatment plant. The existing lagoons system is currently out of compliance. This investment, along with a partnership with the Department of Local Affairs, will assist the district in installing a new treatment plant which will bring the district back into compliance with Colo. Department of Public Health and Environment.

“These investments will bring reliable infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace old, fragile, leaking water pipes with new ones and allow upgrades to water handling systems that are decades old, boosting water pressure and cutting water losses. Working with our partners, these investments create jobs and improve public health and safety,” LaVoy said.

One of the other awards in Colorado went to Florida River Estates, a real estate subdivision located 6 miles Northeast of Durango on CR 240 (Florida Rd).​​ The Florida River Estates HOA, Inc. is a non-profit organization responsible for the management of the community water system, common areas and the HOA.

The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. Photo: Saguache Today.

This Rural Development investment will be used to make water system upgrades. The distribution system will be replaced with new mains, valves, meter pits, meters and yokes to bring the system up to the American Water Works Association standards.

Both of these awards were sponsored by Saguache County’s Washington representatives: Senators Michael Bennet, and Cory Gardner, as well as Rep. Scott Tipton (03). Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.

About the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” concluded Sec. LaVoy.

The new water project in Center includes a new treatment plant which will bring the district back into compliance with Colo. Department of Public Health and Environment.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

College Hosts Water Talk

The community is invited to explore Colorado’s rich water heritage in an evening with Greg Hobbs, former Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. The lecture, “The History, Culture and Poetry of Water” will begin at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in Adams State University McDaniel Hall, room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

Hobbs, who practiced law for 23 years with an emphasis on water, environment, land use and transportation, was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1996.  He is now the Distinguished Jurist in Residence and Co-Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. He also serves as a Senior Water Judge for the Colorado Courts and is assigned to the mediation of water cases.

Greg Hobbs. Photo: From The Author

In addition to authoring many articles, books and water related decisions while serving on Colorado’s highest court, Hobbs is also well known for his poetry, which evokes the beauty, culture, history and human relationship to water. His book, “Colorado, Mother of Rivers: Water Poems,” has over 200 poems, written over a span of 40 years. For Hobbs, poetry is a powerful and simple way to convey and summarize the complex interactions of nature, engineering, science, history, culture and water.

“I like to use poetry because it helps to communicate the rhythm of the landscape, of the people and the creatures—and we’re all water creatures.” he says. “That’s why we identify so much with the water. And why must we continue to earn our most notable distinction: Colorado, Mother of Rivers!”

Water, it’s the life source in Saguache Today and the entire San Luis Valley. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

The Adams State University Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center is hosting the presentation as part of its new Water Education Initiative. They aim to bring relevant and useful information to Adams State’s students and faculty and the local community about critical issues related to water in the San Luis Valley, its past and current management, and community-based approaches to sustainable water use for the future.  Many of the talks are being recorded and are available for viewing on the Adams State YouTube channel, under the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center’s playlist.

Parking for this free event is available in the parking lot on 1st St., east of McDaniel Hall, open to the public after 5 p.m. For more information, contact Rio de la Vista, Director of the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, at 719-850-2255 or