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The lakes were deeded to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association in 1992 from Fairfield Inc. And when we say lakes, we really mean just the lake basin real estate and the four dams, the real property. The water in those lake basins is owned by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.The water in the lakes provides drinking water for the Pagosa Lakes area, water for fire suppression and to a certain level, raw water (un-treated water) for various groups in the core area of Pagosa Lakes such as the golf course, time share units, condominiums and the Recreation Center for the purpose of grounds and property irrigation. The Association has a Multiple Use Agreement in place with the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (the PAWSD) that has been in effect since 1992 and is updated every few years as needed. In a nutshell it states that the members of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association shall have recreational access to the lakes (water), shall run a recreational fishery program,  and will manage water quality issues in the lower three lakes such as aeration systems and weed and algae control programs. Water quality issues at Hatcher Lake, the primary storage reservoir for our drinking water, are managed by the PAWSD. The dams, shoreline areas and lake access areas are managed and maintained by the Association. It’s a joint agreement that protects everyone’s interest in the lakes, both Association members and the PAWSD constituents, which we are all one and the same. 

Hatcher Lake is far away in the picture and Lake Pagosa

Starting at the north end of things is Hatcher Lake, a 133 surface acre reservoir with 1735 acre feet of storage volume. Average depths are in the neighborhood of 15feet and the deepest area of the lake near the dam is over 34 feet deep. Hatcher Lake is great fishery that includes rainbow trout, brown trout,large mouth bass and yellow perch primarily. There are a few green sunfish and western white suckers in the lake as well as sterile, triploid grass carp. The lake is the primary drinking water supply reservoir for the Pagosa Lakes area and a water treatment plant on the west side of the lake can treat up to 2 million gallons of water per day. When you turn on your faucet, wash your clothes, take a shower or water your lawn there is a good chance that it is Hatcher Lake treated water.   A secondary source, the San Juan River water treatment plant and pipeline augments a percentage of our drinking water in addition to Hatcher Lake.  A new plant under construction at Hatcher Lake will be completed next year and will provide even better treatment capabilities, incorporating newer technology required to meet the increasing requirements of water quality from the State. The lake, due to the fact that it is a raw drinking water reservoir, does tend to drop slowly as the summers progress and it is not uncommon for the lake to be two to three feet down bySeptember. Water can be routed back into Hatcher Lake in the fall and spring from the Dutton pipeline diversion and often comes back up several inches if not more in the fall.

 A little farther down Piedra Road sits Lake Pagosa, a 106 surface acre reservoir with 1276 acre feet of storage volume. The average depths in the lake are around 13 feet and near the dam it is24 feet deep. The fishery in Lake Pagosa is comprised of rainbow trout, cutbow trout, green sunfish, black crappie, large mouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch,western white sucker and triploid grass carp. Lake Pagosa is considered a raw water storage reservoir by the PAWSD as well as a recreational lake. The lake levels in Lake Pagosa do not tend to fluctuate as much as Hatcher Lake or Village Lake. When Village Lake levels drop down the PAWSD will often allow some water to be let out of Lake Pagosa to re-charge Village to a degree.  Village Lake is below Lake Pagosa and so it is a simple matter of cracking open the main outlet valve on the dam at Lake Pagosa.

North Village Lake, Lake Pagosa & Stevens Reservoir

Just below Lake Pagosa and to the south is Village Lake. Village Lake is a 70 surface acre reservoir with 700 acre feet of storage capacity. The average depth in Village Lake is around 12 feet with the deepest area near the dam at 23 feet deep. The fishery in Village Lake is composed of rainbow trout, large mouth bass, black crappie, green sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish,yellow perch, western white sucker and triploid grass carp. Village Lake water levels do tend to fluctuate a bit more than some of the other lakes primarily due to contractual raw water obligations between PAWSD and the golf course,timeshares, condo associations and the Recreation Center. During the course of the summer the lake levels will come down, this year for example it was down about two feet at the end of July. However PAWSD did release water from both Lake Pagosa and Stevens Lake to bring it back up and some timely rains helped quite a bit too, and here in mid-August the lake is only down about a foot, not bad.

Lake Forest

Our smallest lake, south and west of Village Lake is a 42 surface acre reservoir with 465 acre feet of storage capacity. This is the lowest lake physically in our chain. The fishery in Lake Forest is composed of rainbow trout, large mouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, western white sucker, black crappie and triploid grass carp. Lake Forest averages about 6 to 7 feet in depth and near the dam it is 16 feet deep. Lake Forest water levels tend to stay fairly static and it is classified as a raw water storage reservoir by the PAWSD as well as a recreational lake.  During the drought year of 2002 there was some discussion of using Lake Forest as a drinking water source (Hatcher Lake came down 6 feet and Village Lake came down nearly 4 feet during that drought summer), piping water across the road to the PAWSD San Juan water plant near the main offices on Lyn Avenue. Of course that didn’t end up happening, some timely rains in the fall and snows the following winter luckily helped us out.