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Nibley City Council tackles water-use issues, new culinary well

October 23rd, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Morgan Pratt

NIBLEY — Water filled the agenda at last week’s Nibley City Council meeting, as councilmembers heard about a study of town residents’ water use, and approved water rights agreements for a new well on 640 West.

Utah State University sociologist Douglas Jackson-Smith gave officials an overview of his survey on the water-use habits of 116 Nibley residents, part of statewide study. Jackson-Smith said 56 percent of Nibley residents said they could do more to reduce their indoor water use; 29 percent said they could use less water outdoors.

In other survey results, Jackson-Smith said, 24 percent of respondents said they did not know how much water they used on a day-to-day basis, and 14 percent said they had not reduced their water consumption over the past five years.

The Nibley survey is just one small piece of the puzzle for the iUTAH project — a five-year statewide “innovative Urban Transitions & Aridregions Hydro-sustainability” project focusing on Utah water resources, and sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Statewide, the iUtah Household Survey evaluated 2,400 households, including 116 in Nibley. The response rate for the survey was 69 percent.

 

In related business, the City Council approved water rights agreements pertaining to a new culinary water well on 640 West.

Obtaining and protecting water rights is the most essential element of the Nibley City master plan, which was approved in 2012, said public works director Justin Maughan. Since then, city has been working prepare to drill the new well.

City recorder David Zook said two companies, Pacificorp and College Irrigation Co., expressed interest in building the well. Before they could start construction, the city had to prove to the state engineer that they have enough water rights to start drilling.

“That came about because of all of their involvement in hydropower operations,” Zook said. “They are concerned about that and what happens in the Bear River watershed.”

Mayor Shaun Dustin said Nibley needs to monitor its water use.

“We are at the top of the watershed, which puts us at a really good position from this point of view,” he said. “There is a certain amount of water that is unallocated that basically moves on past Cache Valley.”

Nibley is working with the two companies and the state engineer on the complex water issues.

Zook said Nibley doesn’t necessarily disagree with the concerns from PacifiCorp and College Irrigation Co. “We were also concerned about preserving our resources and preserving our availability of water in the area,” he said. “We want to make sure that that law is being followed and we want to make sure that we are acting in the best interest of our citizens.”

Comcast Franchise

In other business, the Council approved a franchise agreement to allow Comcast to operate on city property.

“Essentially, . . . we charge a private company for the right to operate their business on our property,” Zook said. “[This] means the right of way on our roadways and adjacent to our roadways.”

Comcast wanted permission to install underground and overhead cable lines on city property.

Nibley has had a franchise agreement with Comcast dating from 1980 that has been renewed three times, but expired this summer. Projected revenue from the agreement is about $18,500 for 2015.

The agreement itself includes several key provisions, including:

  • Comcast is not the only cable company that has the right to construct, maintain and operate a cable system;
  • Comcast must restore whatever property they use back to its previous condition;
  • Nibley has a right to relocate lines if necessary;
  • Comcast will replace whatever they remove;
  • Comcast will provide basic cable service to city facilities, including schools;
  • Comcast will also pay Nibley City 3 percent of gross receipts within the city;
  • Nibley has the right to review Comcast’s bookkeeping.

TP

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