AXTELL– The plan to expand the Axtell water supply has been under discussion for quite some time, but good news surfaced recently when approval was granted, and permits were given to get the project going.
“The project has been in the work for a really long time,” Travis Blackburn, Axtell water board member, said. “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s so exciting.”
The Axtell Community Special Service District (ACSSD) is the public water supplier of culinary water to the residents of Axtell. The Willow Creek Irrigation Company (WCIC) provides secondary water to the residents of the same service area, and agricultural irrigation water to the irrigators in the area.
ACSSD holds shares in WCIC and receives its culinary water under WCIC’s water rights in the existing Michaelson Spring to the east of Axtell. Michaelson Spring is currently the sole water source for ACSSD. WCIC also relies on Michaelson Spring for a large portion of the irrigation water that is used in the secondary irrigation system.
During dry water years, ACSSD uses far more than its allotted portion of Michaelson Spring’s flow just to support minimum culinary water demands in the area. ACSSD and WCIC have long recognized the need to develop additional source capacity to serve the culinary needs of ACSSD. ACSSD is also required by the Division of Drinking Water to have a minimum of two sources because ACSSD serves more then 100 connections on its system.
“We actually have 140 connections,” Blackburn said.
After evaluating feasible options for developing additional culinary source capacity in the area, ACSSD and WCIC have determined that the preferred option is to develop the Pole Canyon Spring in Pole Canyon. The proposed Pole Canyon Spring Development Project will include the development of Pole Canyon Spring to the Michaelson Spring. WCIC has water rights to the surface drainage water from Pole Canyon and intends to file a change application to add Pole Canyon Spring as a point of diversion on the existing water right.
Several steps have needed to happen according to a letter provided by Andrew Flake, a project manager for Sunrise Engineering. For the construction to take place, ACSSD and WCIC needed to first obtain the permits and easements required. Other steps included performing necessary environmental, cultural, and biological studies required by government and funding agencies.
Before inflation happened, Blackburn said the project was looking at costing about $1.9 million, with 75 percent covered by infrastructure grants.
Blackham said that they have some grant money now and have applied to several other agencies for grant opportunities and for a partial loan.
“We have currently secured a grant with the county for infrastructure relief funding for $200,000,” he said. “We are now looking at options with Utah Division of Drinking Water and also with Royal water.”
Other options are companies who work with federal disaster relief funding which he said they do qualify for because of the drought.
They are currently in a moratorium because of the development project for six months, but he says that it will be around two years before the project will be complete.
“We are well on our way,” said Blackburn. “All we are waiting on now is for the snow to melt so that we can get up there and finish the final things to get going.”