History of Cucharas Sanitation and Water District
Clear, clean fresh water has been flowing down through the Cuchara Valley for thousands of years.
For most of that time, if someone was thirsty or in need of bath, they simply went to the river or carried buckets back to camp.
Similarly, what we think of as "sanitation" today, was taken care of with a hole dug in the ground and an outhouse built above it.
As Cuchara developed from the Cuchara Camps of the 1900's to our modern water treatment facilities of today, much has happened along the way to bring the valley to where we are at this time.
Throughout the 20th Century, Cuchara grew slowly. It is presumed that as cabins and homes were built, that private wells were dug, outhouses were a common sight. In some cases, as indoor plumbing became more prevalent, private septic systems were installed at each home.
In the 1940's, a man by the name of John Albright began developing the area just west of Highway 12 across from where the Cuchara Chapel and the Community Center are today. This development, with cabins and homes still in use today, includes Aspen Road and High Road, and was the first to have a fresh water delivery system in the valley.
In the 1960's, Jack Britton began work on his Spanish Peaks home development in a meadow three miles south of the Village. This development was the first to offer fresh water, sewer service and propane delivery in one comprehensive system.
In 1974, the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District was formed to provide guidelines and policies for safe water and waste water treatment in the area. Their comprehensive planning paved the way for the construction of the valley's first Water Treatment Plant in 1978, built right below Cucharas Pass at MM19 along Hwy 12, where the Cucharas River flows down from Bear and Blue Lake.
With improvements in water treatment, this facility was replaced in 2001 at the same location.
1978 also saw the addition of another water treatment plant on Dodgton Creek. And in the early 1980's, the Panadero Ski Corporation began development of the ski area along with homes and condominiums. With this development, came the first waste water plant in the area, located just up the hill from Highway 12 near the current Fire House. Also, included in the development, was another Water Treatment facility to collect water from Baker Creek as it passed by the ski area. This treatment plant remains in use today.
Up until the building of the CSWD Wastewater Treatment Plant in 1994, Cuchara did not have a comprehensive waste water system in place. Throughout this time, as homes were being built in other areas of the Cuchara Valley, each would have a private septic tank. This all changed when the Wastewater Treatment plant opened on January 16, 1995 just north of the Village of Cuchara.
In 2007-2008, residents of Pine Haven were brought into the system.
Today, nearly all the residents and businesses of the Cuchara Valley enjoy clean, fresh water supplied by three major sources, the Cucharas River, Baker Creek and Dodgton Creek. Our Waste Water Treatment System is high quality, with fresh filtered clean water being placed back into the river for users downstream.
The Cucharas Sanitation and Water District is proud to serve the residents and visitors of Cuchara Valley.
And we look forward to providing clean fresh water for many years to come.