Council Will Use New Well Water For Current Residents

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The Payson Town Council, at its meeting Nov. 17, renewed its commitment to the citizens of the town when it directed that the excess capacity from the RH wells be designated as a cushion for the people the town is already committed to serving.

Issues regarding the Town of Payson's acquisition of wells in Star Valley remain to be settled. However, the council directed the legal department to prepare a resolution that would establish a three-part policy on use of the wells, if they become a part of the town's system.

The RH wells, at safe yield, can produce an excess of 130 gallons per minute beyond what is needed for projects planned for their use. ("Safe yield" operation means operating wells so that the amount of water withdrawn does not exceed the amount replenished through natural recharge.)

Part 1 of the town council's action directed the legal department to prepare a resolution clearly stating that this potential additional capacity be designated as a cushion for the people the town is already committed to serving. This means that if the wells come into the town's system the 130 gallons per minute excess is not to be treated as "new water" under the town code and will not be used for any development that requires "new water."

The town has repeatedly stated its intention to operate the Star Valley wells in accordance with the town's safe yield policy. This means if we receive them, we will operate the wells so that the amount of water withdrawn will be equal to the amount that will be replenished through natural recharge of the aquifer. This practice will protect neighboring wells while ensuring a continued supply for the town.

The second part of the council-directed resolution will reaffirm that the safe-yield policy will be followed with respect to Star Valley wells and that staff will include the RH wells in the water department's annual report to council.

In addition to the use policy for the RH wells, the council directed that the resolution include a statement that the Sky Run wells on the north side of Highway 260 in Star Valley, which may also become the property of the town, be operated as monitoring wells rather than production wells.

Staff plans to include the proposed resolution on the agenda of the Dec. 8 council.

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