La Plata Archuleta Water District

In January the La Plata Archuleta Water District, officially formed in August 2008, marked the first delivery of water at the home of Brittney and Lucas Avery in the Silver Hills subdivision in Bayfield. Sixty to 70 more residences in the vicinity could receive service from the current distribution network. The Avery’s were the first to pay the $5,550 tap fee and Dick Lunceford, president of the water district board, presented them a plaque that recognized them as the first customers. Lunceford recalled the push to bring potable water to the area that began in 1994 with the formation of the Vallecito Water Co. “We ran into road blocks,” Lunceford said. “But out of the effort came the La Plata Archuleta Water District.”

A contract with the Pine River Irrigation District gives the water district 200 acre-feet of water a year from Vallecito Reservoir. The water goes to the town of Bayfield treatment plant, and from there it is distributed. The water district is paying for expansion of the treatment plant, from 1.5 million gallons a day to 2.5 million gallons a day, to meet the new demand. Building a treatment plant from scratch would have cost the district substantially more. Long-range plans call for bringing potable water to 400 square miles, first in southeast La Plata County and later southwest Archuleta County.