As a plan continues its drafting process to protect the Grand Junction and Palisade watersheds from possible energy development, Palisade has added a component of hiring a firm to conduct a hydrology study which could add a substantial level of protection.
The study on the Grand Mesa that's being done by Western Water and Land has been on-going for some time and will not only act as a blueprint, but also as a possible secondary plan in case of an industrial accident.
On Tuesday, the company addressed Palisade's Board of Trustees and essentially what the study looks to do is identify each water source into the watershed.
Once identified the water at each source will then be broken down chemically, which can be used as a fingerprint of sorts and it's this breakdown that could become vital if a spill should occur once exploratory drilling begins.
The drilling is tentatively set to start in approximately 18-24 months.
"We can look at the chemical of that water if we see a hit or detection of a certain contaminate in the water, then trace it back to up-gradient location that we suspect the contaminate originated from," Hydrologist Bruce Smith said.
On Wednesday, stakeholders involved in the potential energy drilling project, including Genesis Gas and Oil, will be on hand at the Palisade Community Center from 5:30-8:00 p.m. to answer any questions the public may have concerning any aspect of drilling or what's currently happening with the watershed draft plan.