Frank Alfone to replace Jay Gallagher after 10 years at helm of Mount Werner Water District | SteamboatToday.com
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Frank Alfone to replace Jay Gallagher after 10 years at helm of Mount Werner Water District

Frank Alfone has been selected to replace Jay Gallagher as general manager of the Mount Werner Water District in Steamboat Springs.
file photo

What about lifting current water restrictions?

Home gardeners who find it incongruous that summer watering restrictions remain in place in Steamboat Springs in the midst of one of the wettest months of May on record are being asked to continue to abide by weekly limits.

Outgoing Mount Werner Water General Manager Jay Gallagher said Thursday he has no immediate plans to lift the restrictions, urging people instead to grow accustomed to watering their lawns three times per week. Stage two restrictions were imposed in April under the 2011 Water Conservation Plan because snowpack was below 80 percent (actually 64 percent) of median. And without prolonged runoff, there’s still a significant chance that a hot, dry June could lead to an extended lawn irrigation season, he said.

Yes, Fish Creek Reservoir, the city’s primary source of water, is in good shape. But policy is to rely on native flows in Fish Creek entering the water filtration plant for as long as possible, Gallagher said.

“Just because we’ve had a rainy spell doesn’t mean the snowpack has increased,” Gallagher said. “We’re trying to shepherd our resources. We can’t expand the reservoir any more. The reservoir is there to augment when natural flows (in the creek) fall be low 9 cubic feet per second (cfs). On a peak day, we need 8 to 9 cfs coming into the plant, and we try to let 7 cfs pass the plant and flow,” down the creek into the Yampa River.

Conserving water in the reservoir during times of plentiful supply helps to ensure the reservoir goes into the new water year at healthy levels, protecting against a drought the following spring, according to Gallagher.

— The board of directors of Mount Werner Water District in Steamboat Springs didn’t have to look far to find a successor for general manager Jay Gallagher. The board announced Thursday that veteran resort property manager Frank Alfone will replace Gallagher, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Alfone, a seven-year resident, has prior experience in water utility management. He spent six years as district manager for the Skyland Metropolitan District and the East River Regional Sanitation District near Crested Butte.

“We are very pleased that Frank has accepted this position and look forward to working with him to position the district for the future,” Board President Kathy Connell said.



What about lifting current water restrictions?

Home gardeners who find it incongruous that summer watering restrictions remain in place in Steamboat Springs in the midst of one of the wettest months of May on record are being asked to continue to abide by weekly limits.

Outgoing Mount Werner Water General Manager Jay Gallagher said Thursday he has no immediate plans to lift the restrictions, urging people instead to grow accustomed to watering their lawns three times per week. Stage two restrictions were imposed in April under the 2011 Water Conservation Plan because snowpack was below 80 percent (actually 64 percent) of median. And without prolonged runoff, there’s still a significant chance that a hot, dry June could lead to an extended lawn irrigation season, he said.



Yes, Fish Creek Reservoir, the city’s primary source of water, is in good shape. But policy is to rely on native flows in Fish Creek entering the water filtration plant for as long as possible, Gallagher said.

“Just because we’ve had a rainy spell doesn’t mean the snowpack has increased,” Gallagher said. “We’re trying to shepherd our resources. We can’t expand the reservoir any more. The reservoir is there to augment when natural flows (in the creek) fall be low 9 cubic feet per second (cfs). On a peak day, we need 8 to 9 cfs coming into the plant, and we try to let 7 cfs pass the plant and flow,” down the creek into the Yampa River.

Conserving water in the reservoir during times of plentiful supply helps to ensure the reservoir goes into the new water year at healthy levels, protecting against a drought the following spring, according to Gallagher.

Gallagher came to Mount Werner Water in December 2005, replacing Bob Stoddard. Gallagher’s career included management positions in the GIS and industrial imaging industry. He rose to prominence on the Colorado water policy scene and currently sits on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which is charged with compiling the state’s new water plan this year.

Mount Werner Water formed in 1965 as a special district under Colorado law to provide water to the areas near the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, but its role has evolved along with the city of Steamboat Springs.

Mount Werner Water’s service area begins south of Fish Creek and Angler’s Drive and east of the Yampa River. However, under agreement with the city, the district provides the treated water for domestic use to the city’s entire water service area, and the wastewater treatment plant operated by the city also serves district residents.

Connell said the district has invested more than $11 million in capital improvements over the past decade. That includes the Burgess Creek tank and pump station and the Alpenglo pump station. The district installed 13,000 linear feet of water main in that time and upsized the Burgess Creek sewer interceptor from Ski Time Square all the way down to the tennis bubble.

Upcoming projects include installing a 12” water main across U.S. 40 at Dougherty Road on the city’s southern boundary. That’s in preparation for increasing the capacity to treat water from the nearby horizontal well field from 2.5 million gallons per day to 3.5 million gallons per day. That would provide for redundancy to cover the city’s water baseline needs in case ash from a wildfire in the Fish Creek drainage, for example, prevented filtering at the main plant, Gallagher said.

Mount Werner board members include Treasurer Jim Randall, a retired veteran of the petroleum industry; Vice President Steve Frasier, president of Mountain Resorts; Bob Kuusinen, president of Vectra Bank Colorado-Steamboat Springs, and attorney Dan Berkey.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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