Tres Santos Development Has No Water Meter

Not only are they taking water from the city, which they promised not to do, but they’re not paying for it
BY: CARRIE DUNCAN

The fight against the big development called Tres Santos, to be built in Todos Santos, took a bizarre twist last week when it was discovered that the development was not paying for the water they’re using.

They have always claimed to be building their own desalinization plant, but when this reporter asked to see that work in progress, she was shown a water storage tank and told it was a desal plant. When asked to see the well that would feed it, she was told it was “out in the fields” with a wave of a hand and a shrug of the shoulders.

But the big news this week was first, that the water agency official in La Paz admitted they never even issued Tres Santos a water meter, so could not have been charging them all these years. The second bomb  exploded when through the Colorado Open Records Act, (CORA), it was discovered in a series of emails that the Colorado State University campus built on the site in Todos Santos never planned on building a desal plant. Instead, they built a 120,000 gallon water storage tank that is one third larger than the town’s pila and started drawing from the town’s dwindling supply of water and stock piling it away. The tank sits on a hill behind the campus and feeds the fields of vegetables the university is growing as well as the $425,000 homes Tres Santos is building and selling along the edge of the fields. It’s a real estate feature: instead of living alongside a golf course, these folks would be living alongside a cabbage patch. In true real estate speak, they call the houses garden cottages in a sub division called Town Farm. Wayne Trudeau, the development’s liaison with the press, explained the water use was justified because the towns people could buy the veggies for home consumption or eat at the restaurant that would be built to serve them.

Another subject discovered in the big CORA email reveal was that to receive the $4.3 million to build the campus, CSU personnel had to promise not to say anything negative about the developer, on pain of losing the facility. (CSU’s so called sustainable agriculture program was funded by Black Creek/MIRA, built to look like a Mexican satellite campus.)  Exact ownership percentages are blacked out in the documents obtained under CORA, but the agreement does bring into question the independence of faculty, researchers, and the entire CSU System to even be allowed to bring up the subject of sustainable water use.