Residents approach Price's officials with water rights concerns
For Price residents with water rights, getting as much use as possible out of a short window of waterering time is important.
Without adequate water, the hours spent producing small gardens of vegetables and flowers are lost to the effects of the summer sun.
Several northeast Price residents with concerns about water rights approached the city council during the period for public comment at the regular meeting on June 9.
Reportedly, because of a continual problem with the ditch becoming clogged, the gate of the ditch had been repeatedly closed by the water master until the obstructions could be cleared.
It is the water users responsiblity to keep the ditches clear of debris so that the water can run easily and not overflow.
However, Roy Hofer, a longtime Price resident and water user, said the residents were struggling to keep the ditch clean because of private fences that had been put up by property owners.
The fences have purportedly denied the water users access to clean the ditch.
As a result, several water users were missing their water turns.
Hofer said the group's major goal in approaching the council was to find out if there was an accessible right of way on the ditch that runs between 300 and 200 North and 300 and 200 East so that the water users could keep the ditch clean and open.
Hofer also indicated that the same residents with the fences were causing the plugging of the ditch when they placed blocks, bricks and other items in between their fences and the ditch to keep their animals from getting out.
The group of residents approaching the council members at the public meeting indicated that they were looking for assistance from the city officials so that the irrigation water didn't have to keep being shut off.
Mayor Joe Piccolo assured the group of citizens that the council was looking into the problem. But the mayor asked the residents to be patient because the issue had just come to his attention.
"I realize this might not be a new problem. But in the eight years I've been on the bench, I've never heard of it," pointed out Piccolo.
The Price council members also fielded the other side of the issue from a non-water using resident who had had problems with ditch flooding his yard and basement.
Price resident Gary Johnson requested that the council either maintain the ditch or close it because he was tired of feeling like he could not leave his home without worrying that the ditch would overflow.
"If it needs to become a court issue, I am willing," he stated.
The major assured Johnson that the council did not want the ditch to create property damage and that the correct solution would be sought after.
In the meantime, the mayor recommended that the irrigation water users address the neighbors who seemed to be blocking the ditch
"I would bet that peer pressure is the best way to fix this problem, although it's not the only way," pointed out Piccolo. "Peer pressure in keeping the ditch open will provide water turns."
The major closed the public comment period, indicating that the council members were currently trying to research all of the facts. Piccolo indicated that the city officials would get back to the residents when more was known regarding the matter.
During the Tuesday interview, Hofer said the city's solution may not help the water users because the non-water users had no investment in the ditch being kept clean.
"A lot of people rent and don't have water rights so they don't care," commented the Price resident. "The city needs to get a hold of these people, but they say it is our problem."
"I'll almost bet that we're not going to succeed because I've been here 30 years and it's always been like this," concluded Hofer.