Letter to the Editor: What to do?
There has been considerable news recently concerning the controversy between Helper City and the Bryner Ploutz ditch company in regards to providing secondary water to share holders of the ditch company to the area surrounding the Helper Junior High, an area commonly known in Helper as town site.
Bryner Ploutz is a non-profit association registered with the state of Utah as such. The company has been providing irrigation water to the town site area for almost 100 years. In fact an alfalfa field once occupied the area where the junior high is now located. Originally an open ditch ran through the area years ago and as housing developed in the area, the gutters of the various streets became the water way for access to the various share holders. This access has existed for many years.
Three or four years ago Bryner Ploutz installed a pipe line to replace its open ditch to provide for a pressurized system. In doing so only a major portion of the service area was pressurized, leaving the town site area to open access due to the high cost of digging up the streets to install the pipe line. The irrigation water in this area continued to travel openly through the gutters.
The controversy developed when Helper City planned to replace the infrastructure in the town site area including storm drain systems. This meant the irrigation system water to share holders in area would be drained off before reaching them. The idea arose that now was an opportune time to put the area into the pressurize system when the culinary water and sewer systems were being replaced. The obstacle, again the high cost of doing this, estimated to be $136,000 dollars.
Utah water laws stipulate that anytime a proposal is made to make a change in the existing right of way of an irrigation water system, those making the change are responsible for the cost of the change and upkeep there after. The president of the ditch company maintains that Helper City should of taken this into consideration when the infrastructure plan was devised. The cost of a pressurizing the town site area should of been factored into the original contract for work in the area he maintains.
It now appears that the ball is in the city council's court. To deny access to the irrigation share holders in the town site area invites a law suit. With the apparent lack of funds, the only solution to the problem at the present time seems to be, abolish the storm drain systems in the town site area and allow the irrigation water to continue to flow along the gutters of the various streets as it has for many years in the past.