After a lengthy two-hour executive session Tuesday night, the Star Valley Town Council decided to keep its water attorney on the books and in the creeks looking for answers.
For a town incorporated three years ago over concerns its water was being depleted by the Payson-owned Tower Well, it is only natural council would continue monitoring its water situation and looking for new ways to mitigate concerns it could one day run out of water, said Star Valley Town Attorney/ Manager Tim Grier.
“The council made the decision to continue having Ms. (Karen) Nally look into all things water,” Grier said.
Water Attorney Nally is charged with examining what options the town has available for procuring new water sources.
Possibilities include tapping into the Blue Ridge Reservoir, which will deliver 3,000 acre-feet of water to Payson once it builds a $30 million pipeline and supplies 500 acre-feet to surrounding communities, which Star Valley hopes to be among.
“The council recognized we don’t have all the answers and we need to continue to look at all options,” he said.
The citizens of Star Valley have told the council repeatedly they want the council to look at solutions for water and “we are still committed to long-term, sustainable water sources,” Grier said.
Currently, Payson uses about 1,800 acre-feet annually — all from wells. Star Valley residents use 807 acre-feet annually, according to a hydrologist firm’s report.
Although Star Valley is currently pumping out less than what rainfall puts in, the town would run into problems if a drought hit the small community.
The town sits on a bed of crushed granite, which has limited storage capacity. Only small pockets of water are found in cracks and wedges of the aquifer. If a long- or short-term drought hit, it would take some time to replenish.
Grier said the town realizes that water will always be a concern given the geography, and it must find a way to bring SRP water to Star Valley, if it is given a piece of the allocation.
“The Tower Well is far in the rear view mirror. We have made peace with those water issues and moved in new directions,” Grier said. “By looking at every available option, we hope to find a viable one or at least know that we have diligently looked at everything.”
Nally started working with the town a year ago and was the last attorney to analyze litigation regarding the Tower Well.