The working group met a second time to discuss the issue of the Cherokee water rights in the Dawson aquifer and the impact on Flying Horse North and the Black Forest as a whole. As a reminder, this group is composed of representatives from HOAs surrounding Flying Horse North, adjoining landowners, the land use committee, the Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan (FOBFPP,) and a few others. We have chosen Duncan Bremer as our point man to spearhead this effort and are using the talents of Julia Murphy, a registered hydrogeologist who is one of our BF neighbors.
In the two weeks since our last meeting, Duncan has talked to representatives from Classic Homes, Cherokee, water attorneys and others who can advise us on the best path for this effort. The conclusions from these meetings and internal discussions are as follows:
1. Trying to stop Cherokee from pumping from the Dawson by legal action is NOT feasible. They have a water court ruling that grants the water to them and it will be completed when the augmentation plan is finished. It would be a wasted effort to go this direction. There are creative ways to adjust, re-allocate or trade water rights that may be possible and Duncan is researching what might be done there.
2. Now is NOT the time to start calling or writing letters to state and county officials. We do not have accurate information at this point and our efforts could easily be seen as an irritant by uninformed citizens. We need to wait on this until we are ready.
3. We DO need to develop a model of the wells, geology and aquifers around the Cherokee well sites. Such a model is very time-consuming and would take 1-2 months to develop because of all the inputs required and then all the adjustments, refining and other "tweaking" to make sure it is accurate. This model would tell us how the Dawson would be affected by pumping from Cherokee and Flying Horse. A model like this is recognized as an accurate picture of the water situation. The State of Colorado has a model that covers a much broader area with less specific information that we will use that as well. With such a model we can talk knowledgably to Cherokee, Classic and officials about the effect of these wells in this confined area. Julia Murphy is an expert who can construct this model and we want to give her the "GO" to work on it.
4. We DO need to bolster the membership roles of the Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan so we have a more broad support group of people who agree on our principles and support our efforts. We need your help in doing this. I would like you to personally take responsibility for your development and your neighbors and also contact friends that you know in other developments to tell them about the Friends. Please direct them to www.fobfpp.org where they can learn about the organization and join online. I am receiving a steady trickle of memberships but I wish it was a flood. We currently have 540 members, but just think of the impact we could have with 5000 members!
3. We DO need to raise money to pay for expenses. The water model will cost around $16,000 and then attorney and expert fees will add up as well. We feel that we need about $40,000 for this part of the effort. The FOBFPP organization is best suited to receive such funds and is a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization that can receive tax-deductible contributions for community efforts like this. The FOBFPP board and officers are examining right now how they would handle this and make it efficient and accurate.
At this point we are asking you for two things. First, spread the word and get your neighbors and friends to join FOBFPP. Secondly, think about what you would be willing to contribute to make this effort possible. We will come back to you soon with more specifics about where to send contributions.
This water issue is not confined just to Flying Horse North. It is an issue that affects everyone in the Black Forest. Water companies are looking for water sources all along the front range and they would love to buy more water rights here in the Black Forest. We need to be working long range to insure that we protect the water that we need for our homes.
For more information on FOBFPP please visit our website at www.fobfpp.org_
Black Forest Land Use Committee