The original developer of Summit Park hired a water diviner to assure prospective property owners there would be plenty of water for his project. Not surprisingly, the small private water company he set up to serve the neighborhood quickly outgrew its resources and for a time had to rely on water trucked in by the county.
Throughout the 1980s and '90s, as the Snyderville Basin grew into a sprawling metropolis, Summit Park's predicament was replicated over and over. Developers came and went and most of the independent water companies they established scrambled to find additional sources to keep up with demand.
Some went under or merged with others forming a few better managed companies that were able to procure more reliable water rights. The county, too, formed a water company that covered remote subdivisions or absorbed some of the companies that failed.
Fortunately, no one was left high and dry, and in times of serious water crises, everyone pitched in to help. But the process was expensive, competitive and often litigious. Water companies continually sued each other and sued the county which left customers biting their fingernails and clinging to their wallets.
But all that may change today.
Thanks to some visionary leadership and tireless negotiators, six major water entities in Western Summit County have drawn up a far-reaching agreement to work cooperatively to utilize the region's water resources in the most effective and equitable way possible.
The entities include: the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, Mountain Regional Special Service District, Park City Municipal, the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, Summit County, and Summit Water Distribution Company.
Together the entities control water from a range of sources and facilities that will provide the redundancy necessary to keep clean water flowing to western Summit County's burgeoning neighborhoods.
The agreement is particularly significant because it underscores that water should be managed as a public resource rather than as a privately held commodity. It is scheduled to be ratified at a ceremony today, Wednesday, June 26, at 11 a.m. at the Swaner EcoCenter and it is an event worth celebrating.