Hailey to install more water
By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer
Digging to install water meter
vaults in Hailey will recommence this spring. Last summer vaults were
installed in the alleys of Old Hailey where most water lines run.
This year the city will start in
Northridge, complete Hiawatha, parts of Deerfield, Woodside and finish
in Della View and China Gardens when the groundwater by the river has
subsided enough to make digging possible. The work will be staggered
through the summer.
Just as the city contended with
crooked alleys, landscaping creeping into the city right of way and
assorted vehicles and possessions blocking the job last year, challenges
on street fronts could present problems for installation contractors and
the city this summer.
The problem is most citizens have
amenities that reach beyond city setbacks. Over the years, sprinkler
heads, flowers, grass, trees, railroad ties and gravel parking areas
have all taken over city property.
In very few cases, homeowners have
applied for and received encroachment permits, said City Engineer Tom
Permits are granted if requests to
excavate, dig, plant or otherwise obstruct the easement do not
jeopardize the health, welfare and safety of citizens and do not
adversely affect drainage.
At the Hailey City Council meeting
Monday, April 12, Hellen will ask the council for guidance about how to
approach citizens who have encroachments, especially where water valves
are obstructed up to ten feet on either side.
Currently city workers are tagging
problem areas with pink ribbon around the city.
The excavation and installation
work will include reseeding in places where city water lines run under
"If we’re digging up your lawn the
contractor will put in seed and return it to the proper condition,"
Hellen said. "We’re not going to leave a mess out there."
In cases where meter vaults
contend for space with heirloom trees, for example, the city will not
simply cut them down. However, the city is not going to make other
taxpayers foot the whole bill for moving water lines. There will be some
negotiation with the property owner on a case by case basis, Hellen
The intent of the project is to
promote water conservation, said Hailey Public Works Manager Ray Hyde.
The meters themselves will be
installed before spring 2005. Currently only commercial accounts receive
a meter reading.
"Next spring we will be showing
people their rate of use," Hellen said. "They will still be charged a
During the initial phase,
residents will get a bill that charges the current flat rate of $11.35 a
month per hook-up. The bill will also show actual use and what the
resident would pay when, in the future, the rate is based on use.
Currently the water department is
within budget and does not need more funds to operate. By summer 2005,
water users will be charged based on their actual use.
City ordinances calculate one
connection as being equivalent to 20,000 gallons per month. At that rate
of water use water users can expect to pay the same bill they receive
today, Hyde said.
As residents use more water for
irrigation they will be charged at a higher rate for their use. More
conservative users can expect to pay less.
"More water is not always good for
the grass," Hyde said, clarifying a phenomenon that he learned himself
recently. "The only time heavy watering makes a bit of difference is in
the spring when grass is developing its root structure."
Hyde said grass with deeper roots
is more drought tolerant during the hotter months of July and August.
When temperatures rise over 90
degrees Fahrenheit "grass won’t do anything anyway," Hyde said.
The city with the help of the
Hailey Parks and Lands Board is going to set up a demonstration
experiment in one or two of the city parks to prove the point using
moisture sensors incorporated in an irrigation system.
Sometimes people water even if it
has just rained, Hyde said. The sensors will help prevent over watering
when the soil is already saturated.