Image Link 06-12-2019

Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting
June 12, 2019

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Approval of CDS mylars; vouchers; Walmart liquor license renewal; and variance report receipt.


> County Manager Sam Albrecht reported that 2020 budget meetings were ongoing with county staff and department heads. Albrecht stated the county had received 25 or 26 resumes for the advertised Facilities Manager position. Also, three contractors have been invited back for presentations on their solicited proposals for an update of EC government facilities.

> CDS Director Christina Stanton reported that the county-wide review of XX “illegal” land parcels is scheduled for hearing by the Planning Commission next week on June 18 with presentation to the BOCC on June 26. If all parcels are approved for rezoning, the county will still have around 40 parcels that need zoning resolution. (See DOLA zoning rules here:


Elizabeth resident and President of Elizabeth Main Street, Chris Ware, requested that the county work with the town to establish a high priority for completing paving of CR13 (aka Pine St) through the town of Elizabeth. The increased road traffic through the town due to growth and development pushed by the county and the town necessitates paving the road for safety and dust mitigation.

A resident of the Wild Point subdivision requested that commissioners look into the E86 water district that services Wild Point. The gentleman said he had recently attended the water district’s board meeting and questioned how much they were charging for water they were selling to outside customers. He received only vague replies from the water board. Commissioner Richardson said the water district was governed by its own special district service plans (approved by an earlier board of county commissioners) and they had rights to sell the water. The resident also requested that the county needed to repair 4” cracks in the paved roads of Wild Point. Richardson said the roads in the development were a “mixed bag”. Some roads are still under developer warranty, some are still under developer control and some are under county control. The county will look into it.


1. Briefing on Scientific Investigations Report 2019‐5014 "Groundwater‐Level Elevations in the Denver Basin Bedrock Aquifers of Elbert County, Colorado, 2015‐18" ‐ Colin A. Penn & Rhett Everett, Hydrologists, United States Geological Survey Colorado Water Science Center.

Colin Penn (USGS) presented findings from the joint Elbert County/USGS water supply study covering the period from April 2015 through April 2018. The well monitoring and water supply study is continuing through 2020. It seems all parties believe the study should continue beyond that, but funding will mostly likely guide that decision.  

My take away from the presentation is that aquifers that supply Elbert County residents are declining, in general. Mr. Penn said the county should not consider water supply and usage in a vacuum and pointed to studies and reports from Douglas, Arapahoe, and El Paso Counties. This study of 42 wells in Elbert County showed average declining trends in four of five aquifers ranging from -0.46 to -1.96 feet per year. Only the Upper Dawson is receiving enough recharge to show a positive 0.03 ft/yr increase in water level. The Lower Dawson, with the average drop of 1.96 ft/yr actually had a well with -4.91 ft/yr drop. The wells showing greatest declines are predominantly located along the western edge of the county. Mr. Penn stated that changes in groundwater elevations of plus/minus 1 ft/yr are not considered significant.

Editorial Note: Commissioners’ statement in the Elbert County Connection insert of the June Prairie Times advertiser that, “Elbert County citizens are only projected to consume about 1% of the available aquifer water over the next 31 years.”, misses the point that the county must not look at its own water consumption in a vacuum. We are surrounded by large water guzzling counties, all drinking from the same glass.

The complete study report is here:
Or as a large (slow loading) PDF HERE

A summary extract from the report follows (pg 24 of the report):

“All five aquifers had wells with a rise in groundwater level elevation and wells with a decline in groundwater level elevation, based on the relative change in the groundwater- level elevation between the April 2015 and April 2018 measurements. The upper Dawson, lower Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifers had average trends of 0.03 foot per year (ft/year), −1.96 ft/year, −1.04 ft/year, −0.46 ft/year, and −0.65 ft/year, respectively.

Trends in groundwater-level elevations in the upper Dawson aquifer were not consistent. Some wells had declining levels and some rising levels, but all trends in this aquifer were within a range of ± 1 ft/year. The heterogeneity in trend direction and location could be an indication of local zones of recharge. The magnitude of negative groundwater-level elevation trends in the lower Dawson aquifer had a larger range than the other four aquifers, ranging from −0.25 ft/year to −4.91 ft/year, with 4 of 5 negative trends in excess of 1 ft/year and an average discrete trend of −1.96 ft/year.

Negative trends in the lower Dawson aquifer were concentrated along the western border of Elbert County, which is central to the aquifer’s extent. The only positive trend in groundwater-level elevation in the lower Dawson aquifer occurred for a well at the eastern edge of the aquifers extent.

Of the seven wells where water levels were monitored in the Denver aquifer, a statistically significant trend was observed in only one well (-1.04 ft/year). A longer study period and more static measurements could increase the frequency of significant trends. Like trends for the upper Dawson aquifer, groundwater-level elevation trends at wells in the Arapahoe aquifer and Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer were all within a range of ± 1 ft/year. Trends in continuous groundwater level elevations were in agreement with significant trends in discrete groundwater-level elevations.

Potentiometric-surface maps of the upper and lower Dawson aquifers for April 2015 and April 2018 show that differences in hydraulic head from the two measurement periods were greatest along the western part of Elbert County.

Results of this study can be used by local water-resource managers to make decisions about water use within Elbert County and could be used to guide future groundwater monitoring options. Results also could be used for a regional study of groundwater-level elevations in the Denver Basin aquifer system to provide additional calibration data for the Denver Basin groundwater flow model.”

2. County 2018 Budget Audit
Commissioners met yesterday with auditors for a study session on the 2018 audit. June 30th is the due date for delivery of the audit to commissioners. County audits are due to the state by July 31.

--Susan Shick