CENTERFIELD—In another active week, the Centerfield Water Board made a recommendation to the city council to begin rationing irrigation water on April 15.
The board also said installing water meters city-wide would be necessary and financing water distribution studies.
Most immediately relevant, the city will begin rationing irrigation water on April 15, the same day it is likely the water will be available for use, unofficially. The water committee made this recommendation to the council last Wednesday, the same day Gov. Spencer Cox declared a drought state of emergency, the first since Gov. Gary Herbert declared one in 2018.
“It’s assumed by the Gunnison Irrigation Board that water isn’t going to be released from the reservoir in April,” Councilman David Beck said at a city council meeting last Wednesday.
He also alluded to this information and that it was “likely” the city would only receive as low as a quarter of the normal delivery amount this year as reasons for the city to take water-restriction measures.
This strategy coincides with other efforts the water board and city council have sought to maximize secondary water output this year. The city is looking to create an ordinance that would require the sale of a property that has a water right to include the right in the sale.
Another provision to this ordinance would require all homes built in Centerfield going forward to install meters to measure secondary-water use.
Another plan the committee and council are looking to enact in the long term, possibly within the next five years, is to install the meters at every home in order to better track water use.
“I believe that metering is going to be mandatory soon, and you guys are right to be trying it,” said Keith James, who brought meters made by the company Zenner to show to those present at the Tuesday work meeting. In various meetings in recent months, multiple council members have expressed eagerness to carry out the plan of installing meters at every property in town.
James estimated that about 500 lots in Centerfield would need metering.
Of those, he said about 60 percent, or 300, would need 1-inch-compatible meters, which cost $150 each and reportedly can measure up to 35 gallons per minute of water flow. Most others would require 2-inch meters, which jump to around $800 in cost. James said Zenner was the only relevant company that would guarantee this type of product, since secondary water often carries debris that clogs pipes.
An additional feature, which Councilman Jaden Sorenson said would best fit the town’s needs, is radio communication from the meters that can alert the town when users go over the amounts they are allotted.
The council said it has initiated a search for grant funding for the project but has expressed intent to move forward with the plan even if the cost falls on residents. As of now, no final decisions about the potential requirement of secondary water meters everywhere in town have been made.
Following a meeting with water engineer Garrick Willden of Jones & DeMille Engineering, Willden reported cost estimates to the council at last Wednesday’s meeting.
One proposed study of Centerfield culinary water would investigate how to increase output from the spring from which it comes. As of now, the city is not using the amount of water it is allowed from there.
Willden said his firm would charge approximately $60,000, which would include costs of examining the delivery system options and assistance in filing for grants with the Community Impact Board.
Another study would examine areas in town with inconsistent pressure levels of secondary water output. This would cost the city an additional $25,000.
The council did not vote or make any official decision to move forward with either plan. But Councilman David Beck said he believed at least the culinary water study was “absolutely necessary,” and Mayor Tom Sorensen said he was “all for moving forward.”
Throughout the work meeting and city council meeting last week, attendees and board and council members reiterated the need to better educate residents about how much water they can use in accordance to their share amount.