About 100 residents of Pine and Strawberry got some hopeful news about water at a town hall meeting last week hosted by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Brooke Utilities, Inc. unveiled a plan to work in conjunction with the Pine/Strawberry Water Improvement District to drill, equip and interconnect a deep aquifer well in Strawberry, known as the "K2 Well Project," in an effort to find more water for the region.
The cooperative effort between Brooke Utilities and the water district comes after a moratorium was placed on new hookups by the ACC.
Brooke will invest up to $1.25 million in the new well project and the water district will contribute $300,000, said ACC Chairman Mike Gleason.
Gleason said that Brooke Utilities wanted the assurance that there was water in the region, before it was going to invest money in any projects. After test drilling confirmed that there is water, Brooke was on board.
"If there is water, they will invest a million and a quarter to get it out," he said.
Gleason estimated that if the new well is established and can sustain the usage, about 650 new water connections could result.
Until the well provides enough water to prevent shortages -- and withstands a 72-hour pumping test -- the ACC's moratorium will be in place. Gleason said it could be up to two years before the moratorium is lifted.