WALES—The water supply in Wales is finally adequate to meet current culinary water needs, Mayor Byron Davis reported, but will there be enough for firefighters?
In the July town council meeting, Davis said he wants to make sure there is enough capacity to supply the town’s fire hydrants, and that the design of the hydrant layout can assure the fire department can fight fires anywhere within town limits.
To that end, the town has commissioned a study of its water system by Wall Engineering, a firm the city has used before. Lynn Wall, one of the firm’s representatives, said the study will cost $2,000 to $3,000 to complete.
“We also want to make sure we have the capacity to accommodate future growth,” Davis said.
Wales gets its water from two water wells, an older one on the west side of town and a new one on the east, plus a spring coming off the Sanpitch Mountains to the west.
Town water master Wendle Roberts said the older well is pumping approximately 100 gallons per minute (GPM) this year compared to just 45 GPM last year. The newer well is pumping 80 GPM, but it sometimes exceeds the capacity of the holding tanks that feed the water into distribution pipes.
Davis says the capacity of the new well has yet to be fully tested. He believes that the final pumping capacity will be significantly higher than the current 80 GPM.
Every time the new well shuts down because the tanks are full, Roberts must flush water through the pipes between the well and the tanks to get rid of sand, he said.
Although he hates doing so, Roberts said, he sometimes lets the holding tanks overflow to minimize the sand problem.
Roberts said he thinks that the spring is producing 20 to 30 GPM but can’t tell for sure because the meter is broken.
Before the new well existed, Wales imposed a moratorium on new water hook-ups because water sources in place at that point were deemed to be inadequate to support new connections. When the new well came online, the moratorium was lifted, although the town still restricts the days of the week residents can water their yards.
Wales made another water conservation measure by raising the minimum lot size from 1/2 acre to 1 acre. “That has the potential to cut future water hookups in half,” Davis said.
During the council meeting, there was concern over the proposed Dale Lewis sub-division just outside the city limits near the new well. Davis said Lewis wants to sink wells for his project very close to the town’s new well, and the council opposed the request. The council worried that wells drilled in the same aquafer that is providing water to the city could overdraw the aquifer and render the city’s investment in the new well worthless.
“We’re not going to stand by and just watch that happen without a fight,” Davis said.
Davis said the town has filed a complaint with the Utah Water Board over the Lewis subdivision water issues, which will come up for a board hearing in Richfield in September.
Lewis did not respond to requests for comment on this story.