Letter: Where is Berlaimont going to get all that water?
I read with interest Peter Hart’s Aug. 13 column in the Vail Daily on the wildfire risks involved with the Berlaimont development. What I see as the elephant in the room is water. The proposal with most traction is that the 19 homes, with smaller property manager cottages, will have their water trucked to the area. Is that reasonable?
Google tells me that the average home of four people uses 400 gallons of water a day. With 19 homes, not even counting secondary residences that would be three trucks a day carrying 2,500 gallons each, 365 days a year. These are big diesel trucks that will roar up the winding mountain roads. And 400 gallons a day is average — a high-end development will use way more than average everything.
Where will they get the water? Will they buy it from Edwards or will their trucks drive farther to get it? Will there be a Berlaimont fill site with a hydrant for pumping potable water? Will the city have to provide that facility? And will the fill site be able to handle the truck traffic or will they have to expand and make room for this new regular intrusion?
The water issue and fire issue overlap with lawns. Will there be regulations for water use and fire mitigation in this private enclave? Will there be irrigated grass surrounding the homes, and if so, how many more trucks will grind up the mountain for that? Will they be required to mitigate brush and trees to 30 feet from the home with trees trimmed to 4 feet from the ground as is standard in other high mountain gated communities? What will grow in that 30 feet that won’t burn or require water?
We live in a high mountain desert and water is our greatest and most endangered resource. Is it reasonable for all involved from the wildlife, to the public owners of the land to change the ecology of this arid, fire-prone area?
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There are plenty of high-end developments in the area but none like this. Is granting access to build this many houses in such a remote and arid spot reasonable? That’s a decision for Scott Fitzwilliams of the Forest Service. From the standpoint of the natural environment and the impact on public resources and energy, the road to this development seems far from reasonable.