December 12, 2008

WiII-O-Wisp Metro• District seeks water diversion
Application continues effort to get Elk Creek water for subdivision

By Mike Potter
Staff Writer

The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District’s application for a water diversion will be returned to the district after Dec. 18 for it to review and answer questions before a final decision is made on it by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The district will be required to answer any questions from the Army Corps of Engineers arid respond to comments from the public regarding the proposed water diversion.

The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District submitted a proposal to get 0.7 cubic feet of water per minute for the subdivision from a nearby wetland.

The application is requesting authorization to disturb 1.3 acres of wetlands to construct a metering weir (dam placed across a river or canal to raise or divert the water), an infiltration gallery, an intake structure, a grit chamber, a diversion dam and a raw water line.

Application Diagram - This diagram shows what the Will-C-Wisp Metropolitan District would like to construct to get water from Elk Creek. (Diagram taken from the Army Corps of Engineers application)

According to the application, “the basic project purpose is to provide raw water to the District.”

Some of Elk Creek’s water is part of the metro district’s decreed water rights, which will serve the Tanglewood Reserve planned unit development.

The district has owned those water rights but hasn’t accessed a portion of them since the 1980s, according to Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District President Rick Angelica.

The planned unit development for Tanglewood was approved by Park County’s Board of County Commissioners in January 2O06

This is one of the steps the Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District must take in order to divert water from Elk Creek to the subdivision, said Angelica.

“This is just one of the permits that we have to get as we move down this road,” he said.

He estimated that there are 15 permits in all that would be required before work on constructing the water diversion could begin.

The water would be used for the Tanglewood development planned adjacent to Will-O-Wisp.

Angelica said the water would be taken from Elk Creek, piped to Will-O-Wisp’s water processing plant, and then taken to Tanglewood once the homes are built there.

Until then, Angelica said, Will-O-Wisp would use that water from Elk Creek to give its water wells a break.

“In the meantime, we’ll be using that water to supplement the Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District,” he said. “We’ll give our wells a chance to relax and replenish.”

Water will be diverted from Elk Creek at Glasman Ditch #2, utilizing a small intake structure and infiltration gallery location at the “decreed site” on Elk Creek, according to the application. Water collected will flow to the raw

water pumping station, where the water will be metered and pumped to the water treatment plant.

The water line will pass over Jones Creek, near Elk Creek, via a utility easement associated with the bridge.

“No impacts to waters would occur at that site,” said the application.

Margaret Langworthy, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the public comment period would be over on Dec. 18. After that date, the applicant must answer or respond to any questions or comments made during the 30-day comment period.

“There have been quite a few [comments filed],” she said.

She estimated between 10 and 15 comments have been made. Many are short and in support of the diversion, but others are longer and challenge the proposal, she said.

Langworthy said she would include any “significant” public comments in a response to Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District.

She said she expected more significant comments to come in before the comment period expires.

“I have indications that there might be some substantive ones coming,” she said.

The comments are part of the public record and are available for review.

The district will have 30 days to respond to those comments and requests for additional information from the corps of engineers before a decision is made on the application.  

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