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Wary of water supply, PRWID will limit surplus leases in early spring

Sun Advocate associate editor

With Scofield Reservoir less than half full and winter storm season getting close to the end, the Price River Water Improvement District is playing it safe with its surplus water leasing this spring.

"We don't want to oversell so PRWID customers are assured of enough water," said board chairman Richard Tatton.

So the district is going to limit leases to 1,200 acre feet for the first week, and act as an agent for Helper to lease another 200. That's down from last year, when the availability was more certain.

PRWID is also placing a limit of 50 shares per parcel of irrigated land during the initial leasing policy. That's a shift from the first-come, first-served basis of past years, where lessees could sign up for any amount from one acre foot to hundreds.

District staff got many complaints from people who could not get water because the big buyers were ahead in line and soaked it all up.

The new policy is intended to give more people the opportunity to lease water. It also will allow the district to buy some time to get a clearer forecast on availability later in the spring.

More water will mean more can be leased.

The price this year will be $18 per acre foot. That will bring in $21,600 in additional revenue, which can be used for general purposes, including the purchase of additional water shares if they should become available.

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