Water district & authority file joint COVID-19 related emergency declaration

Administrative procedure can help facilitate access to funding, other resources.


Eagle River Water & Sanitation District General Manager Linn Brooks executed an order Friday (3-13) declaring a local disaster emergency in and for the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority service areas, effective immediately. The executive action is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has now been recognized by Eagle County and state of Colorado Public Health Officials as well as the Governor of Colorado and President of the United States, in declaring states of emergencies.

This administrative procedure, authorized pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-33.5-709(1), allows for action by the principal executive officer of a political subdivision to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and interjurisdictional disaster emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance under such plans.

The declaration, which was filed with both Eagle County and the state of Colorado, activates the district’s plans for emergency situations for a seven-day period, ending March 20, and then must have consent from the district and authority boards of directors. Further consent is expected at their March 26 board meetings. Filing a declaration is a typical step in the emergency management process and helps trigger the district’s ability to make emergency appropriations as well as apply for aid and assistance from state and federal agencies for implementation of emergency plans.

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a public health emergency of international concern and community transmission has been confirmed in Eagle County. The risk of COVID-19 to the district and authority’s mission is the potential for mild to severe staff absenteeism and shortage of critical operational resources, which could disrupt the ability to provide high quality drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater collections and treatment, and meet regulations.

To minimize the impact of COVID-19 and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of district/authority staff and constituents, the district has enacted emergency preparations and procedures. The objective of these emergency preparations is to sustain community and environmental health during the COVID-19 outbreak through proactive planning and response to ensure effective operations, public confidence, and regulatory compliance.

During this time, the district and authority’s top priority is the health and safety of staff members so they can continue to fulfill their mission to the community. With that in mind, the district has made operational adjustments that limit public access to district and authority facilities. The district is encouraging the public to conduct as much business as possible via phone (970-477-5451) and/or online services.

For questions about COVID-19, call the Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public (CO HELP) at 1-877-462-2911. For local updates, visit ECEmergency.org.