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Centerfield City Council announces new schedule for secondary irrigation water use 

 

By Rhett Wilkinson 

Staff writer

8-13-2020

 

CENTERFIELD—The Centerfield City Council has approved a new schedule for use of secondary irrigation water and implemented a plan for communicating with residents about the schedule.

The action came at the city council meeting last Wednesday, Aug. 5, where about a dozen residents complained Gunnison Irrigation Company is not providing an equal volume per water share to residential lots throughout the city.

However, when one of the attendees asked if there was evidence that the irrigation company is not distributing water fairly, Councilman Jaden Sorenson, who has specialized in irrigation issues for the council, said there isn’t any such evidence.

Rex Brown, a retired dairyman who has served on the county planning commission, acted as spokesman for residents at the meeting. He distributed a handout that said the irrigation company, which delivers water both to homes in the city and to agricultural users out of town, needs to be held accountable to deliver the same amount of water per share to all shareholders.

“It appears this that this has not always been the case…,” the handout said. “Centerfield (City) always runs out of water first.”

The handout said irrigation water is often being wasted and added, “When the two groups (townspeople and farmers) water together (e.g., at the same time), there is often inadequate pressure it the system.”

The handout brought up the fact that in Centerfield, water shares are not attached to home lots. A lot can be bought and sold without water, the handout said. Sometimes someone sells a lot but doesn’t sell the water share that has been used to irrigate the lot and turns around and rents or sells the share to someone else.

Mayor Thomas Sorensen said the fact residents aren’t getting enough water does not trace solely to water delivery by the irrigation company.

“We’re running out of water,” he said. “It boils down to that … We pray for more snow and we pray for less wind….A lot of the problem, once you dig into it, cannot be placed on the farmers.”

The mayor said there are people who think they have water shares but don’t. He said he had been digging into the problem, but doing so is a huge amount of work.

At present, he said, he was “about 134 shares short of having everything accounted for”—there are “134 shares being used that aren’t there.”

The plan approved by the council called for the city to be divided into three sections, with each section assigned two days when residents can turn on irrigation water.

The day after the council meeting, a text notification was sent out to residents about the schedule. The city also posted the scheduled the next day on its Facebook page.

The three sections are the West Section (west of Main Street), the Center Section (Main Street to 300 East) and the East Section (east of 300 East).

Assigned watering times are:

  • West Section: Monday and Thursday, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
    • Center Section: Tuesday and Friday, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • East Section: Wednesday and Saturday, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

“Each home with a share of water needs to calculate how long you can water,” the Facebook post said. Residents were instructed to count the number of secondary-irrigation sprinklers on their property and divide that number into 1,000. For example, if a property had 20 sprinklers, they could run each sprinkler for 50 minutes.

“If you do not own or rent a water share or irrigation water, do not use the secondary water,” the Facebook post directed.

The handout Brown distributed addressed not just current problems but also the future of the secondary system. It called for preparation of a plan to provide secondary water as population grows.

The plan must cover needed upgrades to the system and how to pay for them, Brown’s handout said. Potential revenue sources, the document said, include a maintenance fee and a grant.

When the city council approved the 2020-21 budget about six weeks ago, it included $150,000 for capital improvements to the secondary irrigation system. A key element of the plan is installation of a valve designed to equalize pressure between the west and east sides of town.

Residents have complained that the west side, which is downhill from an irrigation pond, has much better pressure than the east side.

In other action at the meeting, three building permits were approved, all for houses, for Bud Shumway, Ron Smith and Adam Hansen.

Reed Udy sought a building permit for a fourplex, but the council told him it would approve a duplex, but not a fourplex, without more research. Udy decided to do more research in pursuit of the fourplex.

The council approved a business license for Shane Knudsen and his business, S&S Self-Storage.