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Will Mountain Regional Water expand to eastern Summit County?


A neighborhood above Rockport Reservoir doesn’t have enough water right now.

Since 2010, a well has supported Lake Rockport Estates with between 70 and 90 gallons per minute, or gpm.

But in 2020, Utah’s driest year on record, the well slowed to just 23 gpm—a problem compounded by an influx of full-time COVID-19 residents in a place that was designed as a seasonal summer retreat.

“So that perfect storm of water usage and water shortage really just meant that there wasn't enough water for the community residents who already live up here,” said property owners association board member Skyler Kershner.

Lake Rockport Estates got a $3.65 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that year to drill a new well. Consultants thought a 1,400-foot shaft would generate 100 gpm.

But in February, the completed well was only pumping 21 gpm. After spending over $1 million, Kershner said the neighborhood didn’t want to spend more to connect it to the water system.

He said under state regulations a total of 150 gallons per minute is needed to serve the community.

“If we're being generous with the existing well that we have and say that it's producing 90 gpm, the 21 gpm figure doesn't get us to what we need, even for today's requirements,” he told KPCW.

Today, Lake Rockport Estates has 178 current water hookups. But it has 328 lots in total, which will double the water needed at full buildout.

One possible solution is annexing into Mountain Regional Water Special Service District, a public water company set up by Summit County.

“Mountain Regional was founded to help out failing water companies, so it kind of fits the pattern of what we've done in the past,” Mountain Regional’s general manager, Andy Garland said. “However, this would be our first venture into eastern Summit County.”

Promontory is the easternmost community Mountain Regional Water services. Reaching Lake Rockport on the other side of the mountain would require an estimated 3,000 feet of pipe, according to a county staff report.

And there’s another wrinkle.

“[Lake Rockport] was never intended to be a year-round community when it was first established,” County Manager Shayne Scott said. “The way that the infrastructure was put in was not done to a municipal standard.”

When the neighborhood was built in the 1970s, pipes weren’t built below frost depth. Residents have been trucking water during winter when the pipes freeze.

So establishing regular water service from Mountain Regional would mean winterizing the neighborhood’s whole water system.

Garland ballparks the entire project—connecting to Mountain Regional and winterizing the existing system—at around $20 million.

Who would pay for what is an open question, and the county wants 100% of Lake Rockport property owners to vote in favor of annexation. Otherwise, the process could be protested at every step of the way.

A preliminary discussion is scheduled at the Summit County Council Wednesday, June 12, at 2:50 p.m.

Click here to attend the meeting online.

If county elected and water officials don’t think connecting Mountain Regional and Lake Rockport makes sense, Kershner said, they may need to drill another well or contract with some other producer.