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Developer implements Plan B for Cragmont Village water

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By Vicky Gits

Developer Ron Lewis is applying for permits to build an approved water treatment plant and storage facility using water diverted from Cub Creek.

The private utility company will serve up to 100 future homes in the existing Village at Cragmont subdivision.

The Water Court last year approved the plan to divert water from Cub Creek on grounds the pipeline will not result in material injury of the vested water rights of others.

“We take it out of the stream and put it into the hill. It creates more groundwater availability,” Lewis said.

Lewis expects the construction work to be finished by the end of the summer. The wells and the reservoir already are in place.

Jim Peterson of Bear Mountain Vista, who won a water battle against Lewis last year, said the water diversion probably won’t affect other users on Cub Creek.

“It might affect somebody closer to the stream,” Lewis said. “But it would only happen if the stream went dry. … As long as the stream is a flowing stream, it shouldn’t happen.”

The Bear Mountain case involved rock, Peterson said.

“What (Lewis) was trying to do was pull it out of solid rock (drill wells), and the rock doesn’t hold much water, so it’s much easier to exhaust the supply.”

In the Bear Mountain case, the judge decided there wasn’t enough water available to drill more wells without affecting other homeowners.

For more than a decade, Lewis was hoping to drill 10 to 100 wells on top of Cragmont Ridge but was forced to give it up after a group of Bear Mountain neighbors won a lawsuit at the state Supreme Court in December 2008. Lewis has owned the Cragmont property for about 40 years.

On with Plan B

Lewis had a Plan B, which involves use of a couple of infiltration galleries on Cub Creek. Infiltration galleries are wells that are situated below the creek bed. A concrete box is submerged into the streambed, and water percolates up into it.

The water Lewis takes up the hill eventually will trickle into the streambed from homes and their leach fields — hence, the idea of adding to the water supply in the rock.

While the new water treatment plant is under construction, Lewis has permission to buy water in bulk and haul it from the Evergreen Metro District bulk water station in Kittredge.

Cub Creek flows into Bear Creek, which creates Evergreen Lake and supplies the Evergreen Metro District water plant.

The 15 homes that will be served under the augmentation plan have been in place for nine months to six years. The water from Cub Creek will be stored in Sprucedale Reservoir, which Lewis owns, and piped about a quarter mile to Cragmont. Lewis already has installed the water mains, hydrants and a storage system.

For the last five years, water has been supplied from places outside of the Bear Creek basin, such as the South Platte at Bailey. Water usage has been documented to be 128 gallons per day per residence.

Augmentation is designed to accommodate 150 gallons of daily usage per residence. Wastewater will initially be treated using non-evaporative septic systems with soil absorption leach fields.

The replacement water from the stream system comes from 68.8 shares of capital stock of the Mountain Mutual Reservoir Co. (MMRC owns rights to flows from Harriman and Warrior ditches, Soda Lakes Reservoir Nos. 1 and 2, and Meadowview Reservoir of North Turkey Creek.)

Numerous parties opposed the plan, including Evergreen Metro District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the town of Morrison and the Cragmont Estates Homeowners Association, according to the decree.