Roy, Taylor-West Weber reach agreement on water rights

Aug 28 2013 - 10:02pm

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ROY -- After more than six years of negotiations and a lawsuit with the state, Roy city has come to an agreement with Taylor-West Weber Water District over water rights.

TWW district will use wells in the city, but with strict stipulations.

Roy's engineer, Mark Miller, along with City Attorney Andy Blackburn, talked about the details of the agreement at a recent council meeting.

"This is a fairly complicated issue," Miller told the council.

The city has been worried about its wells and its water supply, so has been hesitant to go into an agreement with TWW district. TWW district filed a complaint with the state to gain more water than from the two existing wells.

In January 2005, TWW filed with the Utah State Engineer an Application to Appropriate Water for 2,030 acre-feet of water from the two existing and five new underground wells. Two years later, the state approved the increase of water, but not necessarily from the increased wells and only for 10 years. TWW appealed, but Roy intervened in the appeal, because the city was seeing a decrease in water returns in the wells TWW wanted to use.

Since that time, Miller said, the three parties -- TWW, Roy and the state -- have had extensive discussions to work out the matter.

Roy, TWW district and Hooper Improvement Water District all will be drawing from the same aquifer, but Roy has the top rights, Miller said.

As part of the agreement, TWW can drill a new well, but it has to be at least 1 mile away from any of Roy's wells, and TWW has to do a test to see how the water flow is and how much water is available. Plus, it can drill only to a certain depth to use the water.

City Manager Chris Davis said TWW has not drilled a well yet.

Miller said TWW might file another appeal with the state, because it wants permanent -- not temporary -- use of the water.

Miller said the city is unsure if the lack of water production in the current wells is because of the drought or use of the water by other entities.

"I am a proponent of keeping as much water in Roy as we can," City Councilman Brad Hilton said. "We just want Roy to have the first option of rights."

Both Miller and Blackburn said that would be the case and that is why it took so many years to come to an agreement. They said they feel good about the agreement, but said things could change pending more litigation.

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