Crowd Expected At Pine Water Meeting

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Gary Sherlock, president of the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District, is expecting a crowd at the town meeting to be held Wednesday.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were 300 people there, especially since we ran out of water Memorial Day weekend, even up in Strawberry -- and that has never happened -- and the next weekend, too," Sherlock said.

The meeting is designed to present information about the joint well development agreement between Pine Water Company and PSWID. Included in the presentation will be an overview of the deep well site in Strawberry, called K2, and the reason for its selection; the joint well agreement; hydrogeology within the district and at the K2 site; the geophysical survey that was taken and the techniques used; and the advanced drilling technology and process that will be used.

Sherlock will facilitate the meeting, set for 6 p.m., Wednesday, at the cultural hall of the Pine Community Center.

Jim Richey, a member of the PSWID board, will present the overview. Bill Haney, also of the PSWID board, is scheduled to talk about the agreement with Pine Water Company. Board member Wes Suhr will discuss hydrogeology. Specialist Norm Carlson will talk about the survey made of the site and the techniques used, and well driller Jay Click will present information on the drilling.

"The public will have an opportunity to ask the panel questions," Sherlock said. PSWID and the Pine Water Company made the agreement to jointly develop the K2 well site in Strawberry on May 1.

The construction of the production well is planned to start in late spring of 2008, provided it is determined the site can produce 150 gallons per minute.

With a favorable review by the Arizona Corporation Commission, Pine Water Company hopes to complete drilling and begin servicing customers in the summer of 2008.

Work on the agreement started March 20, 2006, with an offer from Brooke Utilities Inc., which owns the Pine Water Company, for investigation and development of a deep well on their K2 Site by the PSWID and Pine Water Company. A proposal to pursue the project was approved by the two entities in September 2006. This proposal set the stage for negotiations on a "definitive agreement" to drill a test well and, if the test is successful, proceed with development of the well. After five negotiation meetings, the PSWID board unanimously approved the agreement on Tuesday.

PSWID will make a capital investment of $300,000 in the project, not a loan, as determined by the district's attorney, William Sullivan. The water company will make a capital investment of up to $1 million, in addition to the PSWID money.

"Total project cost is estimated (to be) between $1 million and $1.3 million for exploration with a test well, development of a production well, tanks and interconnections," Richey said.

The PSWID money will be placed in escrow, if the corporation commission approves the agreement with Pine Water Company and the water company notifies the district, in writing, of the additional $1 million funding commitment for the entire project. The schedule depends on how quickly the ACC approves the agreement.

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