San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District
Wagon Wheel Gap - D. N. Wheeler
The SLVWCD Board of Directors are broken into two categories:
Category 1: One Director from each county that has more than 1% of land within the boundaries of the District. Directors must own land in the county they represent and have resided there for no less than one year. Alamosa, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties each have one Director under these criteria.
Category 2: The balance of Directors (7) are allocated among the counties within the District's boundaries, proportionate to their population and the total population within the District's boundaries. Directors must own land in the county and have resided there for no less than one year. Under these Criteria, Alamosa and Rio Grande Counties each have three Directors, and Saguache County has one Director.
Current Board of Directors:
When Board vacancies occur, public notices are published in area newspapers and interested applicants may submit a letter of interest to the District Court Judge, who appoints the Board Directors.
The District was formed in 1949, pursuant to the Water Conservancy Act, Colorado Revised Statutes § 37-45-101, et seq., to construct and manage a reservoir on the Rio Grande. Working with the Bureau of Reclamation, the District's Board selected Wagon Wheel Gap for the construction site and developed plans. However, the farmers of the San Luis Valley were divided in their support and the reservoir was never built.
The District later stepped into the role of providing augmentation for domestic, commercial, and municipal wells in five counties of the San Luis Valley. This was in response to the State Engineer's rules governing small capacity wells, promulgated in 1972. The District purchased transmountain water rights as well as water rights originating in the Rio Grande Basin and organized an augmentation program. Through the augmentation program, the water rights are used to augment, or replace, the injury to water users caused by the pumping of small wells. Because the District provides this service, there is an opportunity for towns, businesses, and homeowners to obtain new non-exempt wells, allowing for growth in the local economy.