FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE HIGHLAND
PARK WATER SUPPLY AND WATER AUGMENTATION PLAN
1. HOW DEEP WILL I HAVE TO DRILL FOR MY INDIVIDUAL WELL?
Highland Park, Filing 1 wells are typically in the Dawson aquifer, which varies between 280 and 365 feet deep. Filing 2 wells (east of Cottonwood Creek) are predominantly in the Denver aquifer, which is there wells exist in the surrounding area with adequate yields for residential uses. Highland Park owners may drill as deep into the approved aquifer as they like; full penetration of the aquifer is recommended by the State for longest and best production of water.
2. WHAT CAN I USE MY WATER FOR?
Water from individual wells may be used for in-house domestic purposes, and the irrigation of a
combined area of lawn, trees and garden up to 5,000 square feet per lot.
3. WHAT IS A WATER AUGMENTATION PLAN?
In short, a water augmentation plan is a procedure for replacing water to a stream system whose flows are depleted by the consumption of water, where the water user does not have a right to the water consumed. Consumption or “consumptive use” means the water has been placed in the evapo- transpiration cycle or otherwise not returned to the stream system.
According to current ground water laws, if water under the land would reach a stream system within approximately 100 years, it is deemed to be “tributary” (or sometimes, “not-nontributary”) to that stream system; it supports the stream’s flow. Other users may have rights to the stream flow; therefore, a new user cannot consume the water unless the new user has a “water right” (decreed by a Water Court) which allows their use of the water. Otherwise, a downstream user with senior water rights could be damaged because he might not have enough water for his purpose. So, absent a water right, the new user must figure out a way to replace or “augment” his water use so the existing stream flow remains the same as before he used it. Augmentation may be made by purchasing water rights on the affected
stream system or by physically replacing the water used from another legal water source.
An augmentation plan is submitted to the Colorado Water Court which governs the particular drainage basin in which the affected stream system lies (Division 2, in this case). If the Court approves the plan, it will issue a decree which grants the use of the “tributary” or “not-nontributary” water, provided that ongoing augmentation (replacement of used water) of that use occurs per the plan.
4. HOW DOES THE HIGHLAND PARK AUGMENTATION PLAN WORK?
Highland Park lies in the Arkansas River basin. In the area around Highland Park, its tributaries are Cottonwood Creek and Sand Creek. The State says that use of individual wells on Highland Park lots will eventually cause a depletion of water to downstream users in the Platte and Arkansas River drainage basins; therefore, to get such wells approved, Highland Park must augment (replace) a certain amount
of water to the stream system.
The developer filed an augmentation plan in the Water Court of both drainage basins and received approval for such individual wells. The applicable Water Court case numbers are 95 CW 188 (Div. 1) and 97 CW 148 (Div. 2), and the decrees were issued and recorded in the El Paso County public records in Book 6861, Page 1173 and at Reception No. 200074498, respectively.
The consumptively used water will be physically replaced from one or more sources. These include the return flows to the stream systems from the non-evaporative septic systems to be installed for each home, and use of return flows from wells owned by the Cherokee Metropolitan District (Cherokee).
5. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE AUGMENTATION PLAN?
The Highland Park Neighborhood Association, Inc. (HPA) is responsible for maintaining the augmentation plan. The developer, Little London, LLC has contracted for and paid for rights to certain Cherokee return flows and assigned that contract to the HPA. The developer has also conveyed to the HPA all decreed groundwater in the Arapahoe and Laramie/Fox Hills Aquifers by deed recorded at
Reception No.200068420 of the records of El Paso County. Cherokee is a quasi-governmental organization and handles releases of water from its wells, also reporting to the State the amount released for Highland Park. Dues that owners remit to the HPA pay for the ongoing costs involved.
6. WHAT ARE THE ONGOING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AUGMENTATION PLAN?
(§ refers to the appropriate section of the Highland Park decree)
1) Individual wells may be required to be geophysically logged as drilled to obtain additional data about the aquifer characteristics. This information will be used in later augmentation and water right calculations (§15.A.).
2) The well permit number is to be displayed on or near the well head for inspection and identification purposes (§15.C.).
3) Owners need to install and maintain a flow meter on their well and maintain records of water use (§15.
E. and F.). The owner’s builder, plumber or well installer is usually responsible for this.
B. WATER USE:
Each owner may pump up to 0.56 acre feet (182,504 gallons) each year from their well for household uses and irrigation of a combined area of lawn, trees and garden up to 5,000 square feet per lot. Septic systems must be of the non-evaporative type (§28.1.).
In November of each year, the actual water usage (based on the meter readings), the calculated consumptive use for the period of November 1 through October 31, and the replacements made must be reported to the appropriate Water Division Engineers (§28.F.(2)). The HPA will also report to Cherokee, so they know how much water to release. Cherokee will report to the Water Division Engineers and/or HPA the amount of water released for Highland Park.
Water replacements must be made as required by the Division Engineers on a monthly basis or other basis set by the Engineers (§28.F.(3)).
7. WHAT IS THE ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST OF MAINTAINING THE AUGMENTATION PLAN?
This will vary, but at present the HPA dues of $295.00 per year are thought to be adequate to pay for ongoing augmentation work, as well as other functions. Cherokee routinely releases water and additional ongoing expense to Cherokee is not anticipated.
8. WILL HIGHLAND PARK OWNERS HAVE TO PAY FOR DRILLING OTHER AUGMENTATION WELL(S)?
This is not anticipated. If additional augmentation water ever were required, it may be necessary for the HPA to negotiate with Cherokee or other water source at that time for such additional augmentation water. In addition, the developer has deeded the decreed water in the Arapahoe and Laramie/Fox Hills aquifers under Highland Park to the HPA, so that the HPA could later drill an on-site augmentation well
(s), if necessary. An easement will be reserved for such well(s), should the need ever arise.