Arkansas Valley Conduit Project is Updated

City of Lamar 6 Million Gallon Water Tank

City of Lamar 6 Million Gallon Water Tank

The alignment of the Arkansas Valley Conduit project was updated for Prowers County Commissioners and interested citizens during an informational meeting on Wednesday, September 2. The $400M project, to move 15 million gallons of water per day to 39 entities between Pueblo and Lamar, was proposed in the early 1960s. Because of lack of funding, it has made little progress until the past several years. Jean Van Pelt, Project-Program Coordinator for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and members of the Bureau of Reclamation, described the latest plans, concentrating on the path the water conduit will take through Prowers County, leading up to the City of Lamar’s two water storage tanks off of Memorial Drive. Van Pelt stated that the group was also seeking, ”Local input on different infrastructures or features they may not be aware of that could affect the alignment.”

Kevin Meader and Jean Van Pelt Update Commissioners on Conduit

Kevin Meader and Jean Van Pelt Update Commissioners on Conduit

Kevin Meader, Principal Engineer for the Conservancy District said, “The Bureau is working on the preliminary design. We started that a year ago after the record of decision was issued on the Environmental Impact Statement. At that time we identified the preferred alternative for the conduit. By next year, we’ll put together an updated cost estimate which will go to Congress for appropriations for final design and construction towards the end of next year. From that we can move into final design and we’re looking at about 2017 and 2018 and the initial bidding on construction contracts is expected by around early 2020.” He added that if Congress approves the cost, it won’t be funded all at once, but probably in $25M to $45M payments over several years. Van Pelt added that in 2011 Congress agreed to share the project costs with the communities on a 65%/35% basis, and the $140M balance will not have to be borne by the 39 entities. Construction would begin at Pueblo Dam and head east to Lamar with a junction to Eads. Holly, Bristol, Granada and Hartman are not included in the conduit plans as those communities decided to opt out of a contract with the S.E. Water Conservancy District when the project was first proposed over 50 years ago. Van Pelt, when asked if they could opt back in, replied the process would be lengthy and costly for each of the communities, and any work on the conduit would be stalled while the necessary studies were conducted on constructing those new routes.

Meader pointed out the water supply would be a supplemental, not a primary water source, which would become palatable only after each entity provided its own disinfectant procedure before making it accessible to the public. The water would be strictly for human use and not for any ag-related purposes. He added that water quality in some communities along the pipeline, such as La Junta, Boone or Fowler, has shown a need for a potable water source. There is a five-mile, uphill route from the Pueblo Dam to a treatment plant, but after that point, the water runs by gravity feed to Lamar. Pumping would be needed to reach Eads and May Valley. Surge tanks in Fowler and La Junta would be installed to help regulate pressure on the 120 mile pipeline which would continue to narrow along the length of the route, from a 36 inch diameter in Pueblo, down to about 18-20 inches in Lamar as the majority of communities receive their share.

The pipeline will follow the path of Highway 50, actually running underneath some portions of the roadway. That’s why the organizations are particularly interested in local infrastructure such as other water and electric lines, as well as any fiber optic routes, now or in the foreseeable future. The pathway cuts away from the highway and travels south at the edge of Bent County along CR34, passing under the Arkansas River. From there, it would follow along CR HH, south to GG and on to 14th Street on the outskirts of Lamar where it would be routed behind the fairgrounds, south of the Spreading Antlers Golf Course, and on to its final destination of the water storage tanks.

Van Pelt told the group, the project could begin by 2020 if all the portions fall into place and would become an essential water source for southeast Colorado until 2070, given current population growth trends.

By Russ Baldwin





Filed Under: BusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyEnergyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthHistoryHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyUtilitiesWater ReportWiley


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.