Due to the continuation of dry conditions in Delta County and surrounding areas, the Orchard City Board of Trustees voted unanimously to declare the first stage of drought for the town at Wednesday’s regular meeting. This will instigate new fees and regulations as per the drought plan that was adopted last month. They will go into effect May 1.
Town Administrator Melissa Oelke said that the problem comes mainly from the poor amount of reservoir carry-over from last year, which was also drier than average.
Due to these dry years, the 16 springs Orchard City accesses are not producing, as they need recharged by moisture. Heavy reliance, therefore, is on the reservoirs, which are at lower capacity than they should be.
“We had a lot of discussion today about drought rates and putting in drought rates,” Trustee Dick Kirkpatrick said. Kirkpatrick, in addition to his trustee duties, sits on the water committee for the town and holds career background in the water industry. “We came out of it recommending that we implement the drought [plan] effective May 1.”
Conditions overall, according to Kirkpatrick and Oelke, are more serious than they have been in the last handful of droughts in recent history.
The drought was declared in the form of Resolution 2021-04.
Drought RatesFor the first billing tier, water will be billed as follows:
$1.96 per 1,000 gallons for inside gallons for the first 10,000 gallons inside town limits
$2.28 per 1,000 gallons for the first 5,000 gallons outside town limits
$1.96 per 1,000 gallons for the first 5,000 right-of-way customers
For multiple use taps, additional 6,000 gallons will be billed as follows:
$1.96 per 1,000 gallons for inside town limits
$2.28 per 1,000 gallons for outside town limits
$1.96 per 1,000 gallons for right-of-way
For the second billing tier, the next 5,000 gallons will be billed at $5 per 1,000 gallons for all water rates.
For the third and final billing tier, all additional gallons will be billed at $25 per 1,000 gallons for all water rates.
The public water vending machine will be billed at $0.50 per 100 gallons.
Mandatory Use RestrictionsAccording to the resolution, any potable water for outdoor use, including but not limited to irrigation or to water any lawn, garden, tree, shrub or other outdoor vegetation must be done before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any given day.
No new connections to the municipal water system will be authorized.
Restrictions will not apply to those businesses dependent on potable water for daily operations consistent with their historical usage.
Violations and Penalties for Wasting WaterWhenever a violation of the mandatory use restrictions is observed, the resolution states that a written notice must be posted in a conspicuous place on the property where the violation is occurring or has occurred. A letter will be simultaneously sent by certified mail to the person or entity identified in the records of the town as being the water service customer for the property.
The notice shall reasonably describe the violation and order that it be abated, corrected or cured within a 24-hour period.
If the order is not complied with as specified in the notice, water service to the property upon which the violation occurred may be disconnected without further notice.
The property owner or entity of water service disconnection notice may appeal and seek a hearing concerning the same within 10 days.
The town administrator shall promptly schedule a meeting with the water committee on the appeal and a decision shall be rendered.
Termination of Water Conservation MeasuresThe resolution states that the mandatory water conservation measures will be reduced or terminated by the board of trustees by an additional resolution when the water supply shortage has been abated. This resolution to end the restrictions will be voted upon in either a regular town meeting or a special meeting.