Local leaders are celebrating the victory this week after learning last Friday that the Norwood region was awarded a $110,000 water grant.Wright‘s Mesa Water Planning and Prioritization Project (WMWPPP) partners are grantees who received support from the West End Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) in the application process.
“(WMWPPP) is pleased to announce that they have received a nod to their grant application from the Colorado Water Conservation Commission,” said a new press release issued Monday.
WMWPPP is a group that includes the Town of Norwood, San Miguel County, WEEDC, Norwood Water Commission, Farmers Water Development, Lone Cone Ditch Company, Norwood Fire District, and the San Miguel Watershed Alliance.
The idea to seek funding emerged in the summer of 2021, when Norwood Township Trustee Candy Meehan and District 3 Commissioner Holstrom were students in Water Fluency, a Colorado water education program. A meeting at Water Fluency focused on funding and understanding the availability of funding for the type of infrastructure needed in the local area “lit a fire” for Meehan and Holstrom.
Meehan led the grant application, and she and Holstrom teamed up with WEEDC’s Deanna Sheriff and Telluride Foundation’s April Montgomery to flesh out their idea of finding ways to harvest water from a known $80 million in funding Some of the projects identified by the Southwest Basin Roundtable.
“This grant is a huge step toward that goal,” the release said. “CWCB covered the majority of the project cost of approximately $165,000.”
In addition, all WMWPPP partners provide actual funding or in-kind services for the project to cover the balance of $50,000.
With funding, an engineering firm will be selected to conduct collaborative water infrastructure planning and prioritization analysis for Wright’s Mesa.
While snow conditions look good this winter, the region is still in a state of drought – climate change, housing and development needs, and the urgent need to repair and update the town’s existing water infrastructure.
The grant application shows a lot of collaboration, and the project includes all stakeholders: municipalities, fire districts, watershed organizations and agricultural groups.
“The unique partnership of the players who collectively support this grant runs counter to current political trends,” the release added.
Meehan and Holstrom, in particular, saw the grant as a celebration of Norwood’s future.
“When Norwood Township’s trustees and San Miguel County commissioners took a water fluency class together and heard about the impending ‘bucket’ funding, they knew it would bring different water partners together and make a difference for Wright’s May The development of the master plan work water will be a key element in supporting the successful implementation of the plan for future financing opportunities,” the press release said. “Candy and Kris both agreed, ‘We want to get things done.'”
The Colorado Water Conservation Commission decided to fund Norwood at its March 15 meeting and announced the decision on March 18.
“(CWCB) funded this work, which ultimately aims to create an efficient, synergistic and organized approach to our regional water future,” the release said.