Bruce Bair, Crawford public works director, is working with Kimberly Mihelich and Eddy Balch of the Colorado Rural Water Association to prepare a source water protection plan for the Town of Crawford.
Balch gave an overview of the program and what would be included in a source water protection plan to the town council in May.
Colorado Rural Water Association is a nonprofit that provides technical assistance and operator training. The Town of Crawford is an association member. Balch and Mihelich will write an application for a $5,000 grant from the information provided by Bair. Balch said funding comes from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for each public water system to develop and implement a source water protection plan.
There is a one-for-one match on the grant. The town's share can be covered by in-kind donations after grant approval.
The principle behind a protection plan is that it's less expensive to protect source water than having to remove contaminants.
Source water protection programs educate citizens on where their water comes from and how important it is to protect it.
The Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAP) is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. It identifies water sources, potential threats to the water supply, how to minimize those threats and a contingency plan if something would happen to the water supply. The contingency plan would address contamination incidents or severe multi-year droughts. The plan would detail how the Town of Crawford will be able to continue to provide water to its customers.
The source water protection plan would be used to coordinate land use, obtain future funding and identify and work with stakeholders.
The plan will have two phases. The first will provide an assessment report and a susceptibility rating for Crawford's water source. The rating right now is good. The protection phase would involve the town if the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management would be doing, for example, a fuel management plan. The State of Colorado has a memorandum of understanding with the Forest Service acknowledging water sources. State law says a municipality can regulate within its watershed.
The Town of Hotchkiss is also considering developing a source water protection plan.blog comments powered by Disqus