401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Orchard City looks for missing water

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Several items were on the agenda for the Sept. 12 Orchard City water committee. First, the Bull Mesa Pipeline group proposed replacing Bull Mesa's upper line and having the town take it over.

Ultimately the committee decided no, because it would "take on a lot responsibility but not a lot of benefit," according to Trustee Dick Kirkpatrick.

Then, Steve Kehmeier amended the proposal to a tap relocation. In the end he accepted the town's terms and this item will be on the work session agenda Oct. 3.

Jan Waggoner approached the committee with a water exemption request. Because she has commercial fruit trees in her front yard, she requested that from June to September she be eligible for commercial and not domestic rates on that tap.

She indicated her entire orchard suffered because of the drought, with the front trees taking more damage due to more restrictions on water use.

While there was apprehension, the committee decided to have the drought task force evaluate the situation as a whole, not just circumstantial to this one request. Trustee Mel Cook assured Waggoner, "Don't give up hope yet."

The committee then evaluated the estimates for cleaning the dredge backwash pond and decided to move forward with the project.

The water audit was discussed next. Water use is down significantly with a six million gallon reduction in consumption in August from July. The town is still looking for a leak to account for a large amount of missing water.

Several projects are projected for 2019 such as purchasing a hydrovac machine, tablets to help with meter reading and the replacement of two town trucks.

During comments, trustee Doug Keller brought up the possibility of issuing rebates as a gesture of thanks for those that used under 10,000 gallons of water each month during the drought.

Trustee Cook brought up that this could be problematic for those who had leaks, and that citizens already had an incentive to save money by reducing consumption. The trustees plan to look at the idea more at their retreat.

Finally, an update on the springs was given to conclude the meeting. From a five-year average analysis, the springs typically produce an average of 756,000 gallons per day. In August they produced about 665,000 gallons per day.

Currently these springs produce about 329,000 gallons per day.

While water use is less than 50 percent from spring water, the reduction in spring flow could become an area of concern.

The general consensus was that the town's water supply is sufficient but "there isn't any to give away." One citizen expressed concern over water use being able to meet future town growth.

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