NORTH OGDEN -- The city's engineer is proposing that a new well be drilled to the tune of $1.44 million.
The city wants to secure its water rights and be brought up to state guidelines for water. To do so, a fourth well is recommended, said Matt Hartvigsen, an engineer with Jones and Associates, the city's engineering firm.
Currently, the city is providing water at guidelines set in 2007, but this new well would put the water system a few years ahead.
Hartvigsen presented a detailed plan at a recent city council meeting, where he explained why a new well is needed in the next fiscal year.
The city has enough water rights to secure water up to the city's build out, but it has to prove to the state that it needs those rights.
One of the water rights is up for evaluation by the state in 2013, so the city wants to drill a well to show that the water right is needed.
The projected spot for the well is up North Ogden Canyon on property the city owns. Some initial work has been done. The engineers believe it is a good spot, and that the site will pump as much, and possibly more, water than the city's highest-producing well, which is farther north.
Another advantage to the site is that the water will not have to be pumped up-hill to reach the houses in the northernmost part of the city, saving the city money in the long run.
"It takes more effort to get water on the hill," Hartvigsen said.
The city tried finding water at a proposed well site a few years ago on 450 East and about 2800 North, but to no avail. About $360,000 was spent on that endeavor.
Hartvigsen said the city doesn't want to invest that much money again and come up dry. That's why initial work has been done with new technology to see if there is water in the North Ogden Canyon site, even though some geological surveys have indicated it might not be as good as hoped for.
However, the same type of survey said there would be water at the 450 East site. Hartvigsen said those surveys are not always completely accurate.
Another option is for the city to buy water from Ogden or another city, but after calculating the costs out 25 years, it would be more cost-effective to spend the money now and know there will be water there in the future.
Also, the cost estimates are only for 25 years, and the estimated life of a well can be as much as 50 years.
Mayor Richard Harris would like to see the city go forward with the new well. He told the council the city fathers used foresight to secure water rights and to provide water sources for the future, and the city should use those sources.
"We have been criticized for the well at 450 East, but we can drill a lot of wells," Harris said, comparing the cost to buying treated water.
Harris praised the city's water system, saying it was one of the best in the state.
"Our water system is a precious commodity," he said. "We need to keep ahead of the game and look to the future."
City Councilman Dave Hulme said that although drilling wells can be risky, it can save the city tens of thousands of dollars in the long run and "it is well worth the risk."
If the city decides to approve the well, the money will be allocated in the upcoming budget.