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Dawson Aquifer clarifications

Editorís note: In ìThe New Falcon Heraldî June article, ìDawson Aquifer tug of war,î there were a few discrepancies and errors. Terry Stokka, chairman of the Black Forest Land Use Committee, submitted the following to clarify and correct the information in the article.Flying Horse North proposed by Classic Homes is a well-planned and responsible residential development that will be a positive addition to the Black Forest. Water will not be provided by Cherokee Metropolitan District, as stated in the article, but will be provided by individual wells for each home. The key point in this article is that Cherokee Metropolitan District purchased water rights and plans to pump water from the Dawson aquifer, the top aquifer in the Denver Basin. The Dawson aquifer is the lifeblood water for thousands of homeowners between Colorado Springs and Denver who rely on it for their day-to-day water. The Dawson has unofficially been ìreservedî for these private wells and not tapped for other uses. Colorado Springs Utilities owns massive amounts of Dawson water but has a company policy that they will not use Dawson water except in an emergency. Now, Cherokee plans to pump millions of gallons of this Dawson water out of the Black Forest to serve their 18,000 customers in southeastern Colorado Springs.Classic Homes is not part of the problem but is a partner working to solve this dilemma. Flying Horse North will not be using any more Dawson water than several thousand other residences in the Black Forest are already using. By way of comparison, if Cherokee pumps their allotted water from the Dawson, their water ìusageî will be 10 times the amount used by Flying Horse North. It is this tenfold withdrawal of water that is causing grave concern among Black Forest residents as we view the future of the Dawson aquifer.Every new residential development means more ìstrawsî in the ground to withdraw Dawson water. With the average residence, 80-90 percent of the water taken from the Dawson aquifer is returned into the ground through the septic system, so a recharge of the Dawson aquifer is taking place. We do not know how long it takes septic water to percolate down into the soil but at least it is moving back into the aquifer. The withdrawal of water by Cherokee, however, is piping that water away from the forest, without using any of it for recharge.I hope this will clarify a few points and provide information to more fully understand this complicated issue. The Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan are working to preserve the Dawson aquifer for private wells and to insure a reliable water supply for generations to come.

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