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Protect Our Wells holds open house

Protect Our Wells, El Paso County’s only organization advocating for the interests of private well owners, will hold its annual open house Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Woodmen Valley Chapel at 8292 Woodmen Road.The open house will include exhibits by POW, the Upper Black Squirrel Groundwater Management District and Sunset Metropolitan District. Speakers will include representatives from the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan Advisory Committee discussing the final version of the plan, which was adopted by the El Paso County planning commission on Aug. 5.Sandra Martin, POW’s president, hopes the open house will draw new members to the organization.When the Arkansas Basin roundtable denied funding for an aquifer monitoring program last May, Martin said it became evident that POW needs to add more members to become a stronger organization.”We know that not everyone can keep tabs on what’s happening with developments out here, but with a strong membership we can attend county meetings; we can hire consultants to review development plans and get them to make changes,” Martin said.”We’re always asked ‘how many members do you have?’ If we can’t say we have a large percentage of the 22,000 private well owners in this county, then our influence is pretty much discounted.”We don’t want to stop development. We just want to be sure that when it happens, it’s not going to harm private well owners that are out here today and have been out here for years.”Martin recalled a statement from a person she said was an important player on the El Paso County water scene. “He said, ‘If they were stupid enough to move out there on private wells, they just get what they deserve,'” she said.”I told him that when I moved here in 1996, nobody at the county – the county commissioners, the planners – nobody told me I was stupid to build a house out here on a private well. The governor didn’t advertise that people shouldn’t move here and be on private wells. The county needs to consider that we are out here and that they do us no harm.”As it is now, the county doesn’t take into account the effects of development on private well owners, Martin said.”The county and staff don’t have the time, especially now when their staff is being cut and their resources are being taken away,” Martin said. “People on private wells really need to recognize that they’re on their own. It falls to us to watch out for ourselves.”I have faith in what POW is doing. I believe there is something in this organization for everybody, including people who live in Woodmen Hills and Meridian Ranch. They’re living on well water, too.”For that reason, POW has two types of memberships: one for private well owners and an associate membership for people who don’t own a well. Both memberships are $25 per year and include a quarterly newsletter.”If you can’t afford $25, send what you can, when you can,” Martin said.Memberships that begin in August are valid through December 2009.”It’s important that private well owners unite,” Martin said. “I don’t know how else to put it.”For more information on joining POW, visit

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