Study Ordered to Establish Baseline for Groundwater in Delta County

May 28, 2013

Delta County Commissioners recently approved a $15,000 study to be performed by Ken Kolm Hydrologic System Analysis that will provide a baseline for the state of groundwater in the North Fork Valley.

Credit North Fork Merchant Herald

Environmental Health Director Ken Nordstrom presented a contract for commissioners to sign, launching the second phase of a groundwater study for the county. The first phase covered the Oak Mesa area and the second will address the North Fork.

“This is the study that will focus on the upper North Fork river area of Delta County,” says Nordstrom “with a special focus on sustainability and vulnerability of the ground water resources. So this is phase two study to perform hydrologic and groundwater systems within the study area. And the study area will be from Hotchkiss to northeast of Paonia, basically the North Fork River Valley and the terraces surrounding it.”

According to Nordstrom, “The study will produce a GIS data base and maps of the hydrologic and hydro-geologic characteristics of the groundwater systems. And the maps and supporting reports are used to support our planning, and our zoning and other decision-making tasks of the county staff, protecting our groundwater resources for public and private drinking water supplies.”

The GIS information will be used by the County’s planning department, health department, the commissioners themselves, and the planning commission.

“Whenever a subdivision, a gravel pit, whatever development comes along, it seems to me that one of the main questions that our planning commission and agencies get is, what’s going to happen to my groundwater?” says Nordstrom. “How is that going to be protected? How is this going to affect the hydrologic systems in the area? So this provides a scientific basic approach to understand, where does that groundwater come from, how vulnerable is it? Then we can take that development, whatever it is, and relate it to the study and provide some answers to people that we didn’t have before, a good study and understanding of the systems in Delta County.”