Lack of water meters leaves Montana Vista property owners frustrated and unable to build

There are currently a lot of vacant lots on the outskirts of the Montana Vista area, near Red Sands.

Landowners in Montana Vista are experiencing long delays in constructing homes on their properties, and El Paso County says old water infrastructure is to blame.

There are currently a lot of vacant lots on the outskirts of the Montana Vista area, near Red Sands.

The problem is, people in the area haven't been able to build homes on their properties for more than a year due to a suspension on new water meter connections.

In order to build a home on your property you have to have a water meter.

The suspension on water meter allocations was implemented by the county and the Public Service Board in June 2016, leaving property owners frustrated and stuck.

The county tells CBS4 the East Montana Water System can only handle a certain capacity of usage.

For that reason, it is limited on the amount of meters it can issue.

Property owner Terry Coss tells CBS4 she bought land in April 2016.

She moved back to El Paso from Dallas in order to build her new home.

But instead, she is stuck living with family indefinitely while she waits for answers.

"We were just stuck with the land that we were only making payments on,

but we weren't getting any answers either on when we were going to get a water meter or how long it was going to take. We were told it could be months or it could be years," she said.

"As we've seen growth in the area, both commercial and individual homeowners, that growth has taken up more (water) meters. So as a result today we don't have the same capacity for new connections," said Jose Landeros, senior policy adviser for Precinct 3.

Relief is coming to landowners like Coss.

This week county commissioners approved an additional 500 new water meters for the East Montana Water System. Those will go out to more than 100 people on the wait list for new meters.

The county is in the process of figuring out a way to ration and distribute the remainder of the water meters.

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