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Old 01-16-2013, 03:22 PM
 
16 posts, read 53,734 times
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How do people in this area get their water? Private Wells? Municipal Resevoirs? Private companies? Are there usage restrictions? How about for agricultural purposes? Water Rights? Being from the East coast, we just sink a shallow well and pump out whatever we want.


Pagosa Springs looks like it might be worth a closer look when I take my trip out this spring. I'm looking for a somewhat secluded area not too far from either Idaho or Arizona.


I'd like to buy about 5 acres, a house, and have a couple of beef, a small orchard, and a big garden.




Anyone care to educate me on water issues? Any and all info regarding the area would be helpful and greatfully appreciated.


Ron
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:33 PM
 
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Water is a hot button item in COLO and the west.

Before buying ANY property you need to nail down exactly what water rights come with that property; IIRC you often need 35+ acres to have a well for a garden.

Growing season is short here, especially at higher elevations. It can be done but it's a different world indeed. There are orchards over on the western slope, near Grand Junction, and some farming too.

With low rainfall here there's not much grass for cattle, making it hard to graze cattle on small acreage. Call the local extension service and see what they can tell you about the "carrying capacity" of the land in that area, and you may as well ask the agent about gardening and orchards.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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I suggest that you contact the Pagosa Springs Town Hall and also Archuleta County, as there will be properties in the area that are not incorporated. They will be able to help you with your questions about water.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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Wink Out on the range (water wise)

As mentioned, water is not a given in Colorado.

My guess is that Pagosa Springs is on a municipal water system, probably principally derived from the San Juan River. Most of the many outlying residences likely use well water. In either case, one should know in advance how much water, and for what uses, they are legally entitled to, as well as likely sustainable flow rates.

Among other considerations could also be fracking. Not sure about Archuleta County, but there are certainly examples of that going on in adjacent La Plata County (i.e. Durango). Hydraulic fracturing is definitely a growing issue in some places, such as along the Front Range, and with the potential to severely compromise one's water. Even should that not occur, at minimum with the potential to show up and largely give themselves free reign on your property, save in the unlikely event you actually also purchased the mineral rights. The rest of the family may not be too keen on that, not to mention the cows.

There are working ranches near Pagosa Springs. With this ongoing drought hay for livestock has become more dear and expensive. You might want to consider more than five acres if serious about running a few head as more than an expensive hobby.

. . . and have the water for it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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There are some subdivisions on the outskirts of Pagosa Springs ( along US 160 heading toward Durango ), where water needs to be hauled into the homesites.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:49 PM
 
16 posts, read 53,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Water is a hot button item in COLO and the west.

Before buying ANY property you need to nail down exactly what water rights come with that property; IIRC you often need 35+ acres to have a well for a garden.

Growing season is short here, especially at higher elevations. It can be done but it's a different world indeed. There are orchards over on the western slope, near Grand Junction, and some farming too.

With low rainfall here there's not much grass for cattle, making it hard to graze cattle on small acreage. Call the local extension service and see what they can tell you about the "carrying capacity" of the land in that area, and you may as well ask the agent about gardening and orchards.



I just found data saying you need 5 acres to have a well in some areas, is "IIRC" a zoning designation?




I plan on having a greenhouse for growing warmer weather crops


I figured that since you got about 50% of the rainfall there as here, you'd need about twice the acreage there v. here per head. Here, 1 acre per head is sufficient for grazing, with a bit of supplement........not looking to raise cattle for $, just for eating and they make fine lawnmowers.....there's nothing like a grass fed, grain finished 3 week dry aged angus, especially when it mows your lawn for you AND provides you with free fertilizer for your garden.......



It seems from looking at real estate sites for the Pagosa area that I could afford more than 5 acres, but I just dont see many properties > 5 acres that are not huge

Last edited by 2nd Chance; 01-17-2013 at 06:09 PM..
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,421,317 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Chance View Post
I just found data saying you need 5 acres to have a well in some areas, is "IIRC" a zoning designation?
"IIRC" is short for "If I remember correctly."
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:00 PM
 
16 posts, read 53,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
"IIRC" is short for "If I remember correctly."

Gotcha......never saw that one before, and I'm somewhat internet savvy.....I thought
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:12 PM
 
16 posts, read 53,734 times
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Welcome to PAWSD!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:10 PM
 
825 posts, read 1,604,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Chance View Post

I plan on having a greenhouse for growing warmer weather crops


I figured that since you got about 50% of the rainfall there as here, you'd need about twice the acreage there v. here per head. Here, 1 acre per head is sufficient for grazing, with a bit of supplement....

I just dont see many properties > 5 acres that are not huge
Even by Colorado standards, Pagosa Springs is a dry area - 10 in. of rainfall per year. At a guess, you will need 10 - 15 acres to pasture one head of cattle without irrigation in "normal" years. To get a household well permit (which allows you to water one acre, if I remember aright) for your greenhouse you need either a grandfathered well or a minimum of 35 acres. Smaller parcels get a domestic permit which does not allow any water to be used outside the house whatsoever.
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