Blanding City passes new raw water policy
by David Boyle
Members of the Blanding City Council finalized a policy regarding the sale of raw water at their latest meeting.
At the May 9 meeting, members of the council passed a resolution standardizing the rate for raw water sales out of the city's upper ditches and Recapture Reservoir.
The policy also allows the city council to negotiate a contract for the sale of raw water out of Recapture.
For over a year the city has been working on a policy that would standardize the rate of raw water sales. City staff discovered that while the school district, churches and the city pay 75-percent of the rate of the yearly culinary rate for untreated water, the cemetery district pays considerably less than those other entities.
As a result the new city policy will charge the same amount for raw water, however concerns by some city council members about a sudden jump in rate for the cemetery district has given some leeway for the city to aid the cemetery district.
City manager David Johnson explained that the city council will still be able to choose to give the Cemetery District a discount in the form of a budget request from the district.
The updated policy will also address the sale of raw water out of Recapture. A city staff report explains the updated policy will not only incentivize water conservation from raw water systems but also ensure an equitable policy and rate for current and future raw water users.
Currently the Energy Fuels White Mesa Mill is the only entity to purchase raw water from Recapture. The Mill receives water from the reservoir using a pipeline that the mill maintains.
The longstanding agreement has allowed the mill to purchase up to 150 acre feet annually at a cost of $75 per acre foot. The updated policy will allow any entity to negotiate an agreement with the city for the sale of water; an updated agreement between the city and the White Mesa Mill is in the works.
The new policy will also allow all prospective customers that do not have an agreement in place to purchase excess water at the rate of 25-percent the cost of culinary based on a 4” meter.
The updated policy allows the town to continue to negotiate a deal with the mill while also not locking the city into a low rate for future raw water users based on precedence.