Bruce Barrett, Area Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation's Provo Area Office was at the recent Emery Water Conservancy District meeting. He said he has been working with the district for 12-15 years and the district is making great strides and becoming more efficient with the computerized monitoring equipment.
"Jay is doing a great job with the district. Over time other districts around the state hire more staff as the district and projects grow. I want to give you my feelings about this district. I would like to see the benefits from the projects you do continue. Jay needs a new staff member here as an assistant," said Barrett.
Barrett said the EWCD's operating and maintenance costs are probably the lowest in the state. He suggested the board look at the rates they are charging to municipal and industrial users, along with agriculture. If the board can see their way clear to raise those rates, an assistant could be hired to help and learn the workings of the district.
"This is a very important, very critical need for the district to have backup for Jay in the way of an assistant. There are no increases coming from the federal government that I can foresee. I know the problem is finding the right person to be that assistant. One thought would be to take on an intern. Your water rates are significantly lower than other areas and this may provide the income stream to pay for an assistant," stated Barrett.
Craig Johansen requested from Barrett a written recommendation from Barrett's economist as to where the rates should be adjusted. Barrett agreed to send his economist to help work with the district and prepare suggestions. The board will meet again on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the district office to hear the suggestions and make a decision.
Jay Mark Humphrey informed the board of the great year for water in Emery County. "All of the agricultural water has been delivered. The power company still has about 5,000 feet remaining. The salinity project has really helped Huntington's water use," said Humphrey.
Lee McElprang, chairman of the board, said, "This automated system has really helped. We can check every day to find problems fast and get them repaired."
The San Rafael River restoration basin project is creating quite a few problems for the upstream water users. The board agreed to watch the Division of Wildlife Resource's actions closely to monitor the situation.
Morris Sorensen from the Muddy Irrigation Company said the sediment basin project is moving along. It is ready for the design work and the environmental assessment study. "This project is a prerequisite for a sprinkling system for the users on the Muddy system," said Sorensen.
The board discussed items to be included in the contracts and approved for Johansen to arrange the archaeological study to be completed. The goal for this project is to have construction underway in six weeks.
A tentative budget was discussed for the upcoming year. The board approved the tentative budget with the acknowledgement it may change with the recommendations which are coming from the BOR.