PRWID Discusses Low Water Levels
|The Hill Subdivision pump house is currently under construction. The cost of the concrete work was discussed at a recent PRWID meeting.|
A water users meeting on Sept. 29 brought out facts about the Price River drainage that the Price River Water Improvement Board discussed during the panel's Oct. 5 meeting.
Based on figures presented at the Oct. 5 meeting, water flows from the drainage may be the worst in 30 years. And of more concern, the storage in Scofield Reservoir is the worst it has been since the historical low mark of 1992.
"Randy Julander of the state says that he isn't very positive about this year's outlook for more water to come our way either," said PRWID assistant district manager Jeff Richens. "However he did point out that the moisture in the soil in the area is the best it's been in some time."
While not all streams that feed the Price River have flow data back to 1964, Fish Creek statistics are available and the figures show that the lowest the stream has ever run during that period was in 1977 (a drought year) when it flowed at 3.40 cubic feet per second (CFS).
In 2004, the flow has been 4.60 cfs while the average mean during a 40 year period has been 10.80 cfs.
The White River flows have been up and down over the years, with this year's flow of 1.80 cfs not being the worst in years. But, it still isn't very good. The mean average for that stream is 4.73 cfs.
Mud Creek figures have been skewed because of the flooding of the Skyline mine by an unknown water source in 2001. The mine water has been pumped down that drainage at one point or another.
In 1992, the creek's flow was only 2.90 cfs, but in 2002 it was 24 cfs. A reduction in pumping occurred last year when Utah Power & Light drilled wells in James Canyon and began pumping some of the water in the direction of Electric Lake, so the flow has been reduced to 11 cfs in 2004.
However, a change has happened in the pumping program in the last month that will increase the flow of water down Mud Creek.
Because the Huntington Canyon drainage is a blue ribbon fishery and the mine water being pumped out of the mine at the James Canyon wells had high contents of phosphorous, the state has ordered pumping into the drainage be temporarily stopped. As a result, 3,500 gallons per minute is now being sent down Mud Creek and into Scofield Reservoir.
"Scofield Reservoir doesn't fall into the same category as does the Huntington Canyon drainage," said Richens. "Scofield has been affected by mining, the railroad and other factors for many years so that water will be pumped into the Price drainage for sometime to come."
As for the reservoir, it reached its peak at the 23,700 acre feet level this year. The body of water has a storage capacity of around 37,000 acre feet.
But at present it is at its lowest level for this time of year since 1992, which was a record low year since the reservoir was filled in the 1940s.
Currently there are 3,554 acre feet of usable water in the storage body, as compared with 1,220 acre feet at the end of September 1992. But looking at the overall 40 year picture, in 1964 the reservoir had 11,800 acre feet, in 1977, a drought year, it had 17,710 acre feet and in 2002 it had 8,663 acre feet.
While 2002 is in the middle of the current drought cycle, it was fuller than it might have been because of the constant mine pumping during that period.
Because of the low level of the water reserves, water officials have decided to heat tape the grates on the intake for the river so they won't freeze up when the cold weather comes. The same thing had to be done during the low levels of water in 1992. That intake is used to bring water down the river for PRWID's water system.
In other business, the board continued to work on the Hill subdivision pump house project management details. In the last two weeks, construction has progressed from digging the foundation for the building to actually laying concrete at the sight. Tuesday evening was the time for the board to look at bids for the mechanical and electrical ends of the project.
Bidders for the pipe for the project included National Waterworks at $13,062.77, Mountainland Supply at $9,493.46, W.R. White at $9,775.36, Southwest Plumbing at $12,238.76 and Grand Junction Pipe at $14,368.65 bid.
The board voted to accept the Mountainland Supply bid.
The pumps that were selected included two different types, one for the domestic water use and the other for fire flow in the case of an emergency. Bidders for the domestic pumps were Tram Electric at $2,572.50 and Utility Management Services at $3,123. However as discussion proceeded with the board, the Tram Electric pumps, while less expensive, did not meet the specifications.
"The pumps Tram bid on are 10 horse power pumps and it is questionable whether the controller system that is being designed will work with those pumps," said Richens.
The board decided to go with the pumps from Utility Management Services.
The fire flow pump bids came from Tram Electric for $3,685, and Sabol and Rice at a cost of $2,605. The board selected the lower bid on these units.
There were also a number of bids submitted on the electrical work, but due to some mixed bids (some included the actual work while others were only certain sections of that part of the project) PRWID staff recommended they do further research before presenting those packages to the board.
The project is a joint venture involving not only PRWID, but also the developer Richard Lee and financial investments from the homeowners in the development as well. Lee and some of those homeowners were in the audience at the meeting and were happy that things were progressing so well after two years of struggle to get the project done. But there were still some questions about cost, particularly based on the fact that PRWID employees are now actually involved in the construction since they are doing part of the initial concrete work on the structure.
"I am concerned about rates because the work your employees are doing now is beyond the minimal amount expected," Lee told the board. "I guess I have to wonder if the district is going to be making money on this project? I have no idea about those rates. I just want to be sure it is done the most economically possible."
Lee's question referred to the fact that $5,000 had been appropriated out of the concrete budget for PRWID employees to do the work He wondered about how that work would be charged to that money.
"Do you think were are going to make money?" asked PRWID district manager Phil Palmer. "Dick Lee is not getting hurt by this. There may be a lack of trust on both ends of this."
Richens explained that he leaves it up to the PRWID employees to decide what kinds of equipment to use (which can determine rates) and what hours are needed to do a job, because they are the ones out in the field actually performing the work.
"Our regular rate is $19.50 per hour and I don't think you could find a private company from along the Wasatch Front that would do it for less than $20 per hour," he said.
The discussion ended with everyone agreeing that the spirit of getting the project done was paramount and that everything else was peripheral.
In another matter the board approved a partial payment of $121,000 to TNT Construction on the Carbonville-Wellington water line project.
"We began the final punch list of things to complete on that project last week," said Richens. "The weather has hampered the completion of of the oil surfacing in some areas, but things are moving along well. At present we have paid out only 84 percent of the money but the project is 97 percent complete."