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Hyrum weighs costs of irrigation water swap between canals

November 6th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Heidi Hansen

HYRUM—A proposed irrigation project that would give the city access to more water was discussed in City Council Thursday, but it may come with a high energy price.

“We would like to partially eliminate irrigation out of the O’Berry Canal and connect to the city irrigation system,” city engineer Craig Neeley said of a plan he devised with Jared Clawson of Hyrum, to solve Clawson’s farm’s irrigation needs.

Neeley explained that the Hyrum Canal currently has the capacity to water the extra 113 acres of land surrounding the Clawson farm with pressurized irrigation. Neeley said in exchange for granting Clawson use of the Hyrum Canal, Clawson will be able to divert a third of the water he gets from the O’Berry Canal into the Hyrum Canal.

Neeley said that doing so will provide the city with extra water. However, he added that at the city’s current rates, the energy cost to pump the water to the Clawson farm and surrounding area would be more than they will charge the new users yearly.

Clawson argued that compared to the extra water the city will get, the cost of energy will be nothing.

“I’m really interested in this,” Mayor Howard Dean said. “I’d like to get a little bit more water.”

Dean said that he would like to find a way to get the water directly into Hyrum’s water system so that they do not have to use wells anymore.

Councilman Craig Rasmussen said he feels the plan has merit, but he has received many complaints about the project and sympathized with users of the O’Berry Canal. “If I was on that canal, I’d have concerns,” Rasmussen said.

Clawson stressed that though Paradise is up in arms about the plan, it is only because they are confused. He said he wants to clarify that the water will come from the Hyrum Canal, not the Highline Canal.

“I think we ought to pursue this as a possibility and find something that will work out,” Dean said. “There can’t be any naysayers though. If we run into problems I don’t want people saying ‘I told you so.’”

Councilman Tom LaBau commented that both water and electricity have their value; the question is what will benefit Hyrum the most?

Also heard by the council at Thursday’s meeting were several plan approval requests:

–Treasurer of Zion Ministries Maria Perez’s request to use a site at 45 S. 800 East was approved. Dean said if the congregation reaches over 150 people they will have to find a new location.

–Jeff Jackson’s request to approve a concept plan for the Miller Brothers planned unit development consisting of three lots located at 550 S. 200 East was approved.

–Manager of West Point Dairy Products J.D. Rhea’s request for relocation and expansion of storage silos at 550 S. 200 East was approved.

–Hickman Land Title Co. president Reed A. Elder’s request to approve a preliminary plat for the Silver Willow planned unit development consisting of 22 retirement units and three single family lots at 675 W. 90 North was approved.

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