Wells on the East Side are dry
Residential wells in North Summit are already dry and homeowners there say more development would further harm the water supply in eastern Summit County.
"You can drill, and suck another person’s well dry," West Hoytsville Road resident Leaettea Geary said in an interview. "There was a moratorium on water on our road in the late ’70s There wasn’t enough water until they drilled more wells."
And 22 more houses are slated for construction near her home, she lamented.
"We want a moratorium, and we need a water system," Geary said.
She and others want no more permits issued to builders near Wanship until Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and the state Division of Water Rights show enough water is available along the Weber River for new growth.
"[Developers] are competing directly with water that already exists in the area, and is allocated and decreed to other water users," Peoa resident Dennis Marchant said.
Marchant belongs to the Eastern Summit County Water Advisory Committee, which was formed to address water issues on the East Side.
"My understanding is Smith and Morehouse reservoir is nearly fully allocated," Marchant said about the Weber River headwaters east of Oakley.
About 20 people heard from Weber Basin and the state at a meeting Oct. 29 in Coalville.
"We’re really in crunch time here in Summit County," East Side Water Advisory Committee Chairman David Ure said. "We have to fine tune the overall theory that we’ve been living on."
But a number of applications filed for water in Summit County over the past several years have been denied, said State Engineer Jerry Olds, the chief water rights official in Utah.
Ure insists Weber Basin Water, which owns water in the Weber River, must deny requests to take water from the stream above diversion points county residents already use.
"We can’t see underground to see how much water there really is," Ure said. "We are talking about a specific area that has specific problems."
The users of wells in Hoytsville have complained to state officials about problems with their North Summit aquifer, Olds said.
"We understand that wells are diminishing in capacity," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said. "Let’s figure out how to fix some of our immediate problems."
But solving the problem could mean creating a water system for Hoytsville similar to the county’s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District in the Snyderville Basin, County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme said.
"It’s going to be costly and it’s going to take the cooperation of a lot of people," Woolstenhulme said. "In eastern Summit County we have started to see a considerable amount of growth."
Hoytsville resident Bill Wilde, a member of the Eastern Summit County Water Advisory Committee, said his neighbors have also complained about well damage.
But Tage Flint, general manager of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, insists his firm has not oversold water on the Weber River by over-allocating the resource to its customers.
"Why does there seem to be an underlying feeling that you’re over-allocated?" Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer asked Flint at the County Courthouse meeting last week. "[Citizens] don’t understand why we don’t have the ability to say ‘no’ to a developer."
"I don’t know," Flint replied.
Weber Basin Water built Smith and Morehouse reservoir for Summit County, Flint explained.
"We’ve been reserving it all this time," he said, adding that the reservoir has about 5,000 acre-feet of available water.
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