Wednesday, October 10, 2012

City OKs water study for southern gateway

Ketchum might increase area of impact by 40 acres

Express Staff Writer

A water supply study to be conducted over the next month and a half will help determine whether a 40-acre parcel about two miles south of Ketchum is suitable for future development as part of the city.

The area is currently within Blaine County and is part of the county’s Community Housing Overlay District to encourage the development of affordable housing.

The City Council unanimously approved an $8,776 water supply evaluation for the area during a meeting Oct. 1. After the evaluation is completed, Ketchum may elect to include the area in the city’s comprehensive plan for future development.

Lisa Horowitz, Ketchum’s community and economic development director, said in an interview that the city is interested in developing the parcel—if the evaluation deems it possible—as this area is one of its few options for outward expansion.

The evaluation, to be conducted by Twin Falls-based Brockway Engineering, will take a look at water demand based on proposed water supply subdistricts, current and estimated future population densities and hydrologic considerations.

After the evaluation is completed, Brockway Engineering will provide an opinion as to whether the identified alternate water supply sources will be adequate to support increased population in the area. The firm is also expected to provide water-related recommendations for the area’s development, including any water rights concerns, the staff report says.

“If we can’t service this area with water, we might as well stop looking at population densities there,” Horowitz said at the meeting.

According to a Ketchum Community and Economic Development Department staff report, the area to be evaluated is west of state Highway 75 and includes St. Luke’s Wood River hospital area, Cold Springs Canyon and The Meadows Mobile Home Park. St. Luke’s Wood River, McHanville and the Gypsy Trailer Park will not be evaluated as they have been annexed into the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District.

Horowitz said in an interview that the Water and Sewer District is a separate entity from the city of Sun Valley, though its area of service includes the city.

The cost of the study will be split three ways among Ketchum, the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District and Blaine County. Each will pay $2,925. Ketchum’s portion will come out of the Community and Economic Development Department’s budget.

The staff report states that the evaluation will consider various water supply alternatives for the area. Options include:

  • Plugging the area—or portions of it—into Sun Valley’s and/or Ketchum’s water districts, expanding a community well that currently serves only The Meadows area to supply water to areas north of The Meadows.
  • Extracting groundwater from individual wells.
  • Supplying water for irrigation from surface sources such as the Big Wood River or Clear Creek.
  • A combination of the above choices.

Brennan Rego:

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