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Letters to the Editor

Falcon Area Water Authority

The application from the new Falcon Area Water Authority (FAWA) for an extensive system of wells and pipelines in Black Forest has caused significant concern for residents. The concern is that the commercial extraction of water from the non-renewable Denver basin aquifers for residential development will affect future water supplies for private wells in Black Forest. FAWA has purchased water rights in three areas of the Black Forest; High Forest Ranch, Bar-X Ranch and Winsome. They have received permission from the Colorado Division of Water Resources to drill 54 wells on 27 sites, pipe that water down to Sterling Ranch, the Ranch and TimberRidge as well as Falcon water providers (Meridian, Paint Brush Hills and Falcon Highlands Metro Districts.) Sterling Ranch, the Ranch, the Schmidt property and TimberRidge are planned to total 6381 homes. As a comparison, all of the current Black Forest has about 6600 homes. To further put this in perspective, the amount of water planned to be pumped from these three Black Forest properties is half of the water currently used in the entire remainder of Black Forest.Even though the proposed project will only pump water from the lower three aquifers (Denver, Arapahoe and Laramie-Fox Hills) there is significant concern that commercial pumping from those aquifers may affect the Dawson private wells. Residential wells are spread out on mostly 5-acre lots and the water use from these private wells is minor compared to potential commercial pumping. No current, confirmed data can assure residents that the aquifers are sealed from each other. In the Castle Rock area, tests have shown that water can travel between aquifers. Commercial pumping from the Denver aquifer might result in lowering the level of the Dawson aquifer above it.The idea of using non-renewable Denver basin water for city density residential use is very short-sighted and is not wise on the long term. Wells in the Falcon area are already decreasing production even though the state said they had plenty of water for 100 years. Large-scale commercial pumping of water from the Black Forest is only a short term solution. Falcon must find new water sources or face shortages and water restrictions.Our county commissioners have treated water like a commodity, similar to lumber or land. Water is totally different and must be viewed as a county or state resource, not to be bought or sold this way. It is one thing to take snow melt renewable water from the western slope but totally another issue to take non-renewable water from the Denver basin for residential development.The solution to this problem is to not allow future urban (city-density) developments unless renewable water can be provided. This water should come from Colorado Springs Utilities which gets it water from snow melt on the western slope through the Southern Delivery System from Pueblo Reservoir. It may require restricting residential development if more water sources are not found.Terry StokkaChairman, Black Forest Water & Wells Committee

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