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Front Page » June 3, 2004 » Local News » Water improvement district reviews reserves at board memb...
Published 3,757 days ago

Water improvement district reviews reserves at board member's request


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor


Vehicles travel along 1500 West in Carbonville as construction continues in the area. A discussion during the PRWID board meeting on Tuesday centered around the conditions of the road.

A fallacy many people in the county may believe was laid to rest at the Price River Water Improvement District's board of directors meeting on Tuesday .

Many Carbon County residents believe that the PRWID owns almost all of the water stored in Scofield Reservoir.

However, at the request of board member Tom Matthews at the last meeting on May 18, the district staff assembled documentation on exactly how much water PRWID actually owns.

"Based on the information we have assembled, the district outright owns 2,813.51 acre feet of reservoir water," pointed out Phil Palmer, PRWID manager.

When compared to the nearly 40,000 acre feet of water that Scofield Reservoir can store, PRWID's holdings are just a small amount.

But the water improvement district also has the use of additional shares and acre footage based on agreements with two other entities.

"We also lease a winter water right from Utah Power & Light," explained Palmer. "We can use that water from Oct. 1 through March 31."

The amount of water spelled out in the lease states that the district can use up to three second feet of water during that time, or if used to its full extent, 2,172 acre feet of water. The cost of the lease is $3 per acre foot.

The district also has the use of 334 shares of water that is given to PRWID by Wellington city based on an agreement signed in October 1978.

"The title to that water remains with Wellington, but its use is relegated to PRWID," stated the improvement district manager.

Palmer also pointed out that other than the water the district actually owns, nothing else is a sure thing.

The situations could change with leases or agreements that could affect the water supply the district uses to sell to customers in the unincorporated areas of Carbon County.

PRWID also supplies water to Wellington city and arranges exchanges with Price at times. The exchanges generally take place during the summer when Price's needs outstrip the capacity at the city's water plant to meet the demands of local residents and businesses.

At present, the water improvement district is supplying 200 to 300 gallons per minute to Helper because of a temporary shortage the city is experiencing due to well failure.

But of course the ultimate determination of how much water the district will have from year to year depends on Mother Nature more than it does on any kind of man-made parameters and agreements.

The current year is a good example.

"The Price River Water Users Association has announced that it will only be delivering 50 percent of normal flows from the reservoir this year," indicated Palmer.

The association controls Scofield reservoir. The organization made the delivery reduction decision because the high mountains did not receive adequate snowfall and runoff is significantly below normal, despite heavy snow in the valleys of Castle Country during the winter months.

Additionally, the parched earth in the mountains from six years of drought sucked up most of the melting snow's moisture when a heat wave hit in early April.

The meeting was also highlighted by a review of the water project that is going on in Carbonville and an exchange between Matthews and staff on the condition of the roads in that area.

"There is a real problem on 1500 West with what amounts to a single lane for traffic," stated Matthews. "I think something needs to be done there to fill in some of the holes so that people don't have to try and do with it the way it is."

Matthews, who had voiced similar concerns at the last board meeting, pointed out that it appeared nothing had been done since he asked.

However, assistant PRWID manager Jeff Richens begged to differ with the board member.

"They have filled in some of the areas and crossings with gravel," pointed out Richens. "But if you are talking about the actual lanes, that is not what I thought you meant."

Matthews indicated that he thought the request was very clear. But Richens told the board member that he "thought it was the crossings only."

Matthews reiterated the opinion that something still should be done about the holes and the cutoff shoulders on the road.

Two residents of the area, Clark and Barbara Warren, were also present at the meeting to voice several problems the couple are having because of the construction.

"I have called PRWID three times about one problem or another," pointed out Barbara Warren. "The district has helped us out very quickly every time. But we have one question. How long is this construction going to continue? How long will it be before it is completed?"

Palmer told the residents that it wouldn't be much longer until the work is finished. The PRWID manager estimated that the construction in the area should be complete, with oil applied on the roads, within the next 30 days.

"I know a lot of people are upset about the dust," indicated Clark Warren. "But much of that isn't only due to the construction work that is being done but by people driving too fast down the roads there. I have seen people driving 40 miles per hour through those construction zones. In fact, I have seen some workers almost get hit by the fast traffic."

"We need the sheriff's department set up there and not just pass through on patrols to catch those that are doing it," added Clark Warren.

PRWID board member Keith Cox suggested that the water improvement district contact the county sheriff's office and ask whether deputies could help out on the problem.

The board agreed with Cox' suggestion.

Richens also reported that the construction work is currently on schedule and a number of parts of the project have been completed.

"The bore hole under the tracks at 2030 North is complete," noted the water improvement district's assistant manager. "We have also pulled off the property where the other bore hole was done. Today, the contractor zipped the asphalt on 1500 West to get ready for excavation there."

The staff also reported that some of the lines that have been installed have been tested and new meters are being installed.

"What we are trying to do is to complete this work with as little interruption to water service as possible," said Palmer. "That's our aim and goal."

Staff also reported that the Four Mile Hill water tank is now back in service from a corrosion control project that was completed in early May.

"We are, however, still using the temporary tanks in Kenilworth because of some completion work the contractor has to do there," said Palmer.

There was also some discussion about how the cost of energy is beginning to affect the district, as it has everyone who is using gasoline.

"I just wanted to be sure we remind the departments that they need to be very conservative in their purchasing so we don't over run our budgets," said board recorder Guido Rachiele. "This could put us in a very tight position."

Staff also mentioned that many of the deliveries for chemicals for the plants and other items have bills of lading that include "fuel charges" on them. Obviously the cost of higher transportation costs are being passed onto customers.

"We have cautioned departments to be as careful as they can," stated Palmer.


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