PRWID Exploring Options to State Engineer Decision
The Carbon Canal winter project was a topic of discussion at the Price River Water Improvement District board meeting on June 21.
But the focus of the discussion narrowed when it came to water rights for the project.
The project, which was approved earlier in the year, will provide water piped through culinary lines for livestock during the winter.
In the past, the canal company released water periodically during the winter months so ponds and basins could be filled for the cattle. But a piped livestock watering system would serve the purpose more efficiently.
The canal company developed the plan to extend PRWID lines to the areas and has worked with the district on the construction of the project.
However, the focus of the discussion at the district's last board meeting centered around what was happening with the water rights involved in the supply.
Individuals wishing to hook onto the PRWID lines typically need to turn over a water share to the district in order to be approved for a connection.
But in the case of the proposed livestock watering plan, the canal representatives proposed turning the company's winter water rights over to the district to cover the hookups that will be installed as part of the project.
However, some of the hookups will be used year round and Carbon Canal Company has applied to the state water engineer's office to change the winter rights to year round rights.
If the request is granted, the company will turn the rights over to PRWID.
But the state water engineer's office has not responded to the canal company's request.
Consequently, the question has arisen what would happen if the change is not approved.
"I think that we should look at this the same as we do at Scofield, where much of the year people don't live there," said PRWID board member Keith Cox. "If we follow policy anyone who connects up has to surrender a share of water regardless of whether it is a cabin, a home or anything else. I think we should treat this just like every other situation."
However district manager Phil Palmer said that he was concerned about being fair to the canal company and their users as well. He said they would be turning over water to the district and that water might well be sufficient to cover the use.
"Well, the way I see it we can't ask for one individual to do it and not another," said board member Tom Matthews. "I have a cabin in Scofield. The water is shut off for the winter. I don't get a share back or an allowance because of that. We would be opening the door down the road for other exceptions if we allow that."
That brought up a point that Cox wanted addressed. He asked the administration if they had ever granted any exceptions on share turn over to those who use less water because it isn't utilized year around.
"No, we never have," was assistant district manager Jeff Richen's reply.
A motion was made that if the state engineers office does not authorize year round use, and if the canal users want to use the water more than six months out of the year, they will have to turn over a share of water to PRWID. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business, the board also considered a change to the sewer connection policies. The policy that PRWID has been using states that, "All sewer lines will be installed with a minimum of six feet of cover over the top of the pipe."
However, the problem has been that not all sewer lines come out of a structure six feet or deeper and in some cases the main line is actually less than six feet deep, so it is impossible to have a line from the structure adhere to the district polices.
Board member Tony Gonzales said that he thought that type of requirement was odd because in Helper "our guys decide on what should be done according to the situation."
Cox wondered about the requirement but was concerned that it was there to keep sewer lines from freezing during the winter.
"I think the intent of that regulation was because of concern the district had about clearance with other utilities," stated Palmer. "It appears to me this is more a matter of language than anything."
There was some discussion about the freezing possibilities of a shallower line, but few felt that is a problem in this area. In fact most of the board seemed to agree that three feet in depth is adequate.
A contractor that was in attendance told the board that he thought there were other considerations that are more important than depth.
"My greatest concern on a sewer line is the grade, not the depth," said Kerry Krompel. "In most new construction the lines are never less than 30 inches because they come out under the footer of the structure."
After some more discussion about grades and depths of lines, the board voted to change the policy to be variable according to the circumstances of the structure, the placement of the mainline and other considerations.