What We Do
Located at the headwaters of the San Juan basin watershed, the PAWSD service area enjoys some of the cleanest naturally-occuring water in the state, uncontaminated by upstream wastewater discharge, industrial pollution, energy and mineral extraction activities or mine tailings.
Our mission at PAWSD is to make sure that this resource, and the collection and treatment of wastewater, is something our customers can depend upon, now and in the future.
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Raw water, or non-potable water, is water that has not been treated for human consumption. The raw water sources for the District are the West Fork of the San Juan River, the San Juan River main stem and Fourmile Creek through the Dutton Pipeline. The total amount of direct diversion capacity from the San Juan available to PAWSD is 6.9 cubic feet per second (cfs), but the ability to divert this amount is affected by low river flows due to drought and diversion by water rights that are senior to those of PAWSD. In 2006, peak week demand was 6.0 cfs.
From diversion source to treatment plant or reservoir, PAWSD maintains about 20 miles of raw water pipeline.
Raw Water Storage
To ensure reliable water supplies, water is stored in reservoirs. Reservoir capacity is defined in terms of an acre foot. Approximately two-thirds of an acre foot is needed to supply a family of four for one year. The storage reservoirs and current capacities used by PAWSD are:
| Name of Reservoir
|| Capacity (AF)
| Lake Hatcher
| Lake Pagosa
| Lake Forest
| Stevens Reservoir
| Village Lake (for raw water irrigation use only)
Some raw water sources/storage are not always available. A proper balance of reservoir versus river sources makes us a more drought resistant community.
After water is collected from its various surface water sources and/or stored in PAWSD’s reservoirs, it is treated at water treatment plants (WTP) to make it safe to drink and to remove unpleasant odors or tastes. PAWSD has three WTP’s that are operated as needed. District One has two WTP’s: Hatcher and the San Juan. As their names imply, the Hatcher WTP (rated at 2 million gallons per day) treats water from Hatcher Reservoir and the San Juan WTP (rated at 3 million gallons per day) treats water from the San Juan River. District Two is supplied raw water by gravity pipeline from the West Fork of the San Juan River across Jackson Mountain to the Snowball WTP (rated at 1.5 million gallons per day).
The District’s total rated treatment capacity is 6.5 million gallons per day. During 2007, PAWSD produced and treated approximately 1,964 acre-feet of water (or about 634 million gallons).
All WTP facilities are scheduled for continual improvements in order to keep pace with changing technologies and water quality regulations.
Treated Water Storage
Once the water is treated, it is stored for use. Twelve storage tanks provide storage of treated water with a combined capacity of 5.28 million gallons.
The PAWSD service area is a relatively large 76 square miles and not densely populated. Treated water is distributed through a network of approximately 290 miles of water mains, booster pumps and over 1200 fire hydrants.
The existing wastewater collection system consists of nearly 100 miles of mains and 24 lift stations. Infiltration within the system occurs only during those times of high rainfall or a fast snowmelt. The District has an ongoing infiltration/inflow correction program as part of its wastewater maintenance effort. The wastewater collection system is not interconnected with any storm drainage system.
The District operates the Vista Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Highlands Lagoon Treatment Plant, both which service primarily the northern portion of the District. Both treatment plants are in compliance with all discharge standards required by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. The elimination of the Highlands Lagoon treatment plant, and pumping the wastewater it currently treats to the Vista WW Treatment Plant, is being studied at this time.
At PAWSD, we believe that water conservation education is the key to community awareness and appreciation of this vital resource. Together with the Southwestern Water Conservation District's Water Information Program, PAWSD provides water conservation programs, workshops, fairs and tips to the public. Click here for more information on the District's conservation program.