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BDW service to rural users hampered by lack of easements

Posted 10/13/15 (Tue)

By Cecile Krimm
Residents along the BDW (Burke-Divide-Williams) pipeline are being warned that a lack of easement agreements could delay delivery of rural water service. The Western Area Water Supply Authority (WAWSA) issued a statement last week explaining the issue.
Although service to 170 prospective rural customers on the BDW pipeline has been given a high priority for completion, difficulty in locking up the necessary easement agreements could prevent the build out from moving forward.
“When we have a large number of easements that have not been acquired, as we currently do in the rural BDW service area, it really holds up construction and those delays cost money,” said Jaret Wirtz, executive director of WAWSA.
“We wanted to get as many people off that water to eliminate the negative health effects associated with arsenic as soon as we could,” said Wirtz, but service to some could be delayed indefinitely due to a lack of easements.
Recently, the WAWSA board decided it will not seek bids for any projects with less than 90 percent easement acquisition completed. The policy is intended to ensure contractors can get to work as soon as possible after a bid is accepted.  
“I know land owners are experiencing some easement fatigue right now. They may feel like they’re constantly being asked for access to their land,” said Wirtz, but in this case there are some big benefits.
“WAWSA’s pipelines will deliver high-quality treated water to your property and the properties of your family, friends, and neighbors. The risks associated with other pipelines do not apply to drinking water,” he said.
Wirtz went on to assure landowners that reclamation services have improved greatly in recent years to minimize any damage.
As of early October, about 83 percent of the needed easements for the BDW project had been acquired. Landowners who have questions can contact Nathan Kleyer, WAWSA Easement Coordinator, at 701-774-6605.

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