KLINE – A splash of pressurized water from the overhead hose sprayed out onto the crowd as Doug Mize moved the nozzle between his two water tanks on Monday morning. Mize sits on the La Plata West Water Authority Board, and the 25-person crowd in attendance was there to celebrate the opening of the utility’s recently completed water dock, located in Kline.
The dock allows residents of western La Plata County – where well water can be scare and only 154 homes are tapped into a water main – to fill their hauling tanks without traveling to Durango.
The fill station is “rapid, wet and convenient,” one user said as he pulled away from the dock.
The dock is located at 555 County Road 122.
Customers receive a personalized code for their account, which allows them to fill their tanks at a rate of about 80 gallons per minute between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Water costs a quarter cent per gallon, or $25 per 1,000 gallons.
“It took many helpful hands to make this station happen for our community out here on the Dryside, where it’s needed,” said LPWWA Board President Mardi Gebhardt.
The water flowing out of the dock comes from Lake Nighthorse and is treated at Lake Durango, before it enters LPWWA’s Phase 1 pipe. The pipeline flows along Wildcat Canyon Road (County Road 141) to the intersection with La Plata Highway (Colorado Highway 140), where it turns south and services taps along the highway down to Marvel.
La Plata County commissioners approved the distribution of the $3.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds dedicated to social impact projects in November. LPWWA’s water dock was one of the selected projects, and it received a $100,000 grant.
“The presence of this water dock allows for much shorter trips,” said Commissioner Clyde Church at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Instead of going to Durango, it saves time, it saves money, it saves fuel. There’s an economic benefit to the community out here.”
The Durango water dock – the next closest source of bulk potable water for residents of the Dryside – charges just $6.45 for 1,000 gallons of water. But Mize said he is likely to break even on his bimonthly water refills given the price of fuel.
Steve Krest, who lives off La Plata Highway near the state line, said the dock will be “a great boon to us.”
He and his wife use about 40 gallons of water per day. When their well went dry in September, Krest said he had to spend thousands of dollars to install a cistern, which he fills with nonpotable water from the spring in Marvel. He said he filters his water through a reverse osmosis system in the house.
LPWWA is still searching for at least $3 million in funding for Phase 2 of its pipeline project, which would run water lines west of the La Plata River.
“We’re hoping all this will get people paying attention to what’s going on out here,” said LPWWA Board Treasurer Deb Flick.