Water is on the way for county well users | SummitDaily.com

Water is on the way for county well users

Well users: Do you have a well permit? Don’t know what that means? Don’t wait for a red tag on your front door to find out.

Many people in Summit County draw water from wells, and many of them don’t know they need permits. If you bought a house and weren’t clued into this issue, then shame on the real estate agent.

What’s more, you need a special kind of permit if you so much as water an outdoor plant, let alone fill a hot tub, water a lawn or maintain livestock.

The Summit County Board of County Commissioners is on the verge of winning water court approval for an augmentation plan to protect well users who don’t have permits to use water outdoors.

It has been seven years in the making, and only legal nitpicking from the Denver Water Board stands in the way of getting final approval. Denver Water would do Summit County a favor by clearing out of the way in this issue.

In essence, the county’s water augmentation plan allows well users a chance to lease water for outdoor use, although the water will still come from their own wells. County commissioners and assistant county manager Sue Boyd are firming up final prices. They are to be commended for attempting to create pricing that will discourage extensive outdoor use. As we have learned, this is the arid West and water is a precious resource.

The augmentation plan got its start when it was learned that accessory units, known in the real world as caretaker units, were treated like an illegal outdoor water for homeowners with basic well permits. These permits only allow water to be drawn for use inside the four walls of the main house.

So it all started as an employee housing issue.

Look for the plan to be available some time this summer, Denver Water Board willing. Well users who are not paying attention to the issue, or choose to ignore it, will find themselves cited by the local water commissioner for illegal water use.

He’s been watching this issue for a number of years, holding off until the augmentation plan is in place as part of an informal standstill pact. He knows who the offenders are. Their green grass and hot tubs give them away.

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