Brown grass is seen at a cemetery in Smithfield. The city has begun building and planning new ways to store water. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)
SMITHFIELD — The Smithfield City Council has unanimously approved a plan to build more ways to store and conserve water as Utah faces a historic drought.
Council members said Friday it’s clear from current conditions that proactive measures are needed.
Just off Main Street, workers started digging a new well for Smithfield, tapping into an aquifer deep underneath a city park.
In the coming years, they’ll dig a few more. It’s all part of a larger plan for the city to make sure it’s better prepared.
“Not necessarily this drought, but going forward into the future, what we’re going to do when we have these types of events when these types of instances occur,” said City Councilman Jamie Anderson.
Anderson said the city is already adjusting, just like the rest of us. You can see it in the brown grass on city grounds, like the cemetery.
A newly passed resiliency plan put together by JUB Engineers will take further steps.
“It gives us the ability now to apply for grants to try and build out our infrastructure, instead of having all that money come out of our water enterprise fund,” Anderson explained.
In addition to more wells, the city will tap into more spring water out of Smithfield Canyon. It will take several years to get it all done. The additions are being mapped out by priority.
“The ones that scored the highest were, I think the highest one was to build another reservoir for water storage,” said Anderson.
That will be about a 3- to 5-million gallon water tank to help store the new sources. Granted, all of this will still hinge on the weather.
“Some of the risks you really can’t compensate for. For example, if you have a low snowpack, if you just don’t get rain,” said Anderson.
He said the plans will help the city keep ahead of future growth as new subdivisions are required to have enough water down the line before they’re approved.
“We’re concerned about the drought. We’re not just sitting on our hands, hoping for rain, but we’re trying to do something proactively,” he said.
Anderson added that money to build all of this cannot come from the general fund — it will all have to come from grants and through people paying their water bills.
More stories you may be interested in
Smithfield makes plans to better prepare for future droughts /p>