American Fork Pressurized Irrigation Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why the pressurized irrigation system?

A. The City is required by State law to have enough water sources to meet the needs of its residents. The culinary water supply is currently maxed out and cannot support more users. This is due to the rapid growth over the past decade and the associated increase in water use. Over the years, the City Council has had numerous studies done looking at ways to increase the water supply. The City Council has undertaken the construction of a pressurized irrigation system, in part, to extend its culinary water supply to meet future needs.

Q. Isn't there another way? Did the City look at different options?

A. The City looked at expanding its culinary water system using groundwater and/or treated surface water. The use of the treatment plant would have had higher and increasing long-term costs and more ongoing pumping costs. The City could not wait any longer to take action. Although the short-term costs are more, the investment now will allow water users to pay lower rates in the future. The pressurized irrigation is cheaper than culinary water because it does not need to be treated and it utilizes other available water sources. The sources available to the City for PI needs include: surface water, springs, pipelines, canals, wells, etc. Without the PI system and associated bond, the City would need to expand its water supply in other ways or: water shortages may have occured, growth may have been curtailed, rationing measures may have been taken, and neighboring cities may have annexed propety that otherwise would come into the City. The PI system: meets our long term needs, allows for growth, will eliminate certain irrigation ditches, is a better use of our resources and will help the City meet State requirements.

Schedule/Construction

 

Q. Where and when will the work begin?

A. Construction began in May 2007 and will continue year-round, weather permitting, until the project is complete by the summer of 2010.  Construction is still occuring at the upper reservoir and at several locations around the city in order to add additional features to improve the overall system. 

Q. When can residents access the pressurized irrigation system?

A. Pressurized irrigation water is now available in almost all residential locations throughout the city.  The pressurized irrigation water can be utilized starting in mid-April 2010. 

Q. Who do I contact if there is a problem?

A. In a life-threatening emergency, residents should call 911. If a problem arises, such as a broken water line, etc., residents are encouraged to call the project hotline (801-763-5281) during regular business hours. After hours, calls can be made to the City's utility hotline (801-404-1253).

Q. How will construction affect state roads?

A. The City will try and coordinate construction with UDOT whenever possible to limit cutting pavement. It may not be possible in all cases.

Q. Why is the pressurized irrigation project only paving the work trenches and not the entire road?

A. In association with the pressurized irrigaiton project, contractors are required to repave the trenches where the pipe and service lines have been installed. This work is warranted for a year after installation and contractors are required to return and repair the work if it settles or comes apart. There was not enough money in the bonds to repave every road in American Fork at the time of the PI project.  The city did choose to re-surface roads which were in greatest need.

Cost

Q. How can I predict what my bill will be?

A. Residents can estimate their approximate cost with their own usage data. A User Rate Table has been provided on the project Web site. The examples in the User Rate Table are actual readings selected at random throughout the City. They are meant as examples only. The usage values vary throughout the year because of irrigation in the summmer months. Meters are read in March, June, August and October. The cost for pressurized irrigation will be billed monthly throughout the year. 

It is not required that all citizens connect to the PI system. Each user will have to evaluate how they use water and determine the most cost effective solution. Those choosing not to connect to the PI system should be aware that irrigating with culinary water will cost more than it did in the past. To get a more accurate rate quote for your specific address please call the hotline and we would be happy to provide a comparison for you.

Q. How are the culinary water bills calculated?

A. Residents are now assessed the new minimum monthly rate of $14 for culinary water.  This rate went into effect November 1, 2009.  Each water meter is read in March, June, August, and October. At each meter reading residents, will be billed for usage over the minimum 6,000 gallons.

Q. Why are the culinary rates going up to pay for the pressurized irrigation system?

A. Most of the culinary water budget is in fixed costs, and with the construction of a PI system, the use of culinary water will decrease dramatically. Culinary rates are going up to cover the cost of operating the culinary system for those who use culinary water. Also, by raising the culinary rates, it encourages water conservation and individuals to connect to the cheaper, non-treated PI system. The rate system was designed so that culinary rates increase as usage increase and the pressurized irrigation rates would increase in direct proportion to the lot size. 

Q. How do I know if it is a greater cost savings for me to connect to the PI System or to remain on the culinary system?

A. It is not required that all citizens connect to the PI system. Each user will have to evaluate how they use water and determine the most cost effective solution. Those choosing not to connect to the PI system should be aware that irrigation with culinary water will cost more than it did in the past. If your monthly water usage is low, it may be more cost effective at this time to remain on the culinary system which is metered. Once connected to the pressurized irrigation, you cannot disconnect unless you also disconnect from culinary water service. Assistance in estimating your future bill is available by calling the project hotline, 801-763-5281.

Q. What is the $250 inspection fee?

A. There is no cost for PI service to be brought to your property if you connect when you have been notified water is available to your area. If you wait six months or longer to connect to the pressurized irrigation water, there will be an inspection fee of $250. This fee has been established to encourage residents to connect to the PI system.

Q. Why should I pay for the pressurized irrigation all year long if I only use the water seasonally?

The cost for presssurized irrigation will be billed monthly throughout the year. It is easier for most people to pay a lower monthly fee spread over 12 months, rather than paying a higher fee for six to eight months. It is similar to an equalized payment plan for a Questar or Rocky Mountain Power bill.

Q. What is the cost to tax payers?

A. Since the city voters approved a General Obligation Bond, it is not anticipated that revenues will be collected from property taxes. It is projected that user rates and impact fees will provide the necessary revenue to construct and operate the system. Initially, it will cost the City more to provide culinary and pressurized irrigation, but in the long term, it is more cost effective to have separate systems.

Q. What is the CUP fee on my utility bill?

A. The City contracted with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District to purchase CUP (Central Utah Project) water. This water will be used to benefit all City residents and the City Council opted to charge all connections equally for this water. Over time, as more connections are added to the system, the five dollar charge should decrease.

Q. Why should all citizens pay for the system when it is the the new growth that needs it?

A. New developments will pay as much as they are legally obligated to help pay for city services through impact fees. The PI system is a benefit to current residents in that their future water bills will be lower than originally projected. All citizens need to participate in wise use of our water resources and not irrigate with drinking water.

Q. Is there a discount for senior citizens on a limited income?

A. The City recognizes the need for exceptions to the pressurized irrigation rate structure due to financial or other hardships and there is currently a provision in place for a discounted senior citizen rate. An application can be mailed by request to the project hotline at 801-763-5281.

Q. Where can I go to learn how to reduce my water bill for my home or business?

A. Please click here to view a document with money saving tips!

Water Quality and Water Pressure

Q. What is the quality of the water?

A. The pressurized irrigation water is not drinkable. The pressurized irrigation water will be a blend of surface water and other sources. The water will be screened, but not treated. Residents should take the same precautions they would with any irrigation water that may contain bacteria regularly found in rivers and streams. Do not allow children to play in the water. In most cases, the hose bib attached to the residents' home is connected to the culinary system and it is recommended that kiddie pools be filled utilizing culinary water.

Water will be filtered to 300 micron, however it is recommended that homeowners check their individual irrigation systems and filter the water to the manufactured recommended level. A 500 micron filter is recommended for the protection of sprinkler heads.

Q. What will my water pressure be?

A. We recommend residents design their irrigation system for 10-15 psi below their current wintertime culinary pressure. A pressure regulator valve can be added to reduce pressure, if needed. The typical irrigation season is from mid-April to mid-October. Service dates will vary depending upon the year.

Click here for detailed information on water pressure

Flood/Shareholder

Q. What about flood irrigation for irrigation water shareholders?

A. At this time, there are 450 individual shareholders in American Fork. Currently, all shareholders can flood irrigate if they choose. Individuals who do not have existing access or rights to a ditch cannot flood irrigate. Only if a shareholder has a large amount of acreage can they choose to have both pressurized irrigation and flood irrigation services. Shareholders with one share per acre who discontinue flood irrigation will pay half of what a normal non-shareholder will pay. Those with more than one share per acre who discontinue flood irrigation get an additional discount, which may bring their bill down to $0. Individuals who sell their shares to other users will pay the normal non-shareholder rate for flood irrigation.

For 2010, the City will continue to rent water shares as in the past. The following year, it will depend on the need.

Miscellaneous

Q. What should I do if I do not have an in-ground sprinker system and I water my lawn using a hose?

A. Each connection box installed by the City includes a hose bib to which you can simply attach a hose. An inspection is still required in order to use the pressurized irrigation water. Such residents wishing to install an in-ground sprinkler system at a later date can do so according to established City guidelines.

Q. Can I landscape, fence or fill in the ditch on my property now that the City is converting to a pressurized irrigation system? Will ditches be piped?

A. No, the current ditch system is also used for storm drainage. Over time these ditches could be piped by the City as part of improvements to the storm drain system.

 



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