The next chapter in the saga that began as the Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) 1041 Permit hearing before the Chaffee Bouard of County Commissioners (BoCC) more than a year ago, will continue at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, but the name of the organization has undergone some change. (For the sake of clarity. although the formal name is now BlueTriton this article will refer to them as NWNA). Questions related to that ownership transfer will be a topic of the May 4 session.
“There has been a change of ownership, and it’s unclear [to me] what was transferred or changed hands,” said Commissioner Greg Felt. “We recognize there has been a change. Our current permit does address that in the context of permit assignment.”
This session is continued from the BoCC April 20 hearing, in which a preliminary draft of the Economic Impact report from Harvey Economics, was presented for the first time. The Preliminary economic report presentation slides and the full report were put into the public record on April 21.
The overall timeline:
- Aug. 4 — Earlier, the BoCC extended the permit to Aug. 4.
- 1:00 p.m. May 4 — The topic will be the business structure and transfer of ownership, annual report, public comment, and rebuttal.
- 1:00 p.m. May 18 — Public hearing on the annual report and Nestle rebuttal to the economic impact report. for Nestle rebuttal…to ask questions of Harvey Economic,
Preliminary Economic Impact Report Findings
The report was broken into two parts; the economic impacts (positive impacts less the negative effects) and how those net economic benefits compared to the utilization of the resources.
Harvey asked the BoCC to think in these terms: What are the alternative uses for NWNA water uses? What would be the economic contribution of alternatives – is there a present or future shortage that would make a tradeoff relevant? And finally, is NWNA’s use limiting future uses?
The report was extensive but led to the conclusion that the presence of NWNA in Chaffee County had a gross positive impact on the county of $1.3 million per year.
- In 2030, assuming a 98-acre ft of pumped water, a 12-acre ft. of augmentation, there is a credit to the river of 12-acro ft. of water. The economic benefit of this water for alternative uses – thinking about “use” not in terms of the groundwater pumped, or augmentation water, but the amount reserved for NWNA – is 196 acre ft.; water that could be used for someone else, but currently reserved for NWNA.
- According to the Colorado Water Plan ( and a 2019 tech update of that plan) the total water use in Chaffee County from municipal and agricultural uses from 2019 to 2020 … is 127,000 -acre ft. of water…that NWNA water reservation of 196-acre ft, divided by the 127,000 amounts to .15 percent.
- According to the Harvey Economic report, the…