The Moab City Council’s decision last month to raise the rate for culinary water sold by the Moab City Public Works yard seems to be having the desired effect — reducing demand — according to Moab City staff.
“The yard has been much quieter,” Moab City Public Works Director Jeff Foster said last week.
The council voted July 22 to more than double the rate for water sold to commercial water haulers after the amount of water being purchased from the city yard for construction and road projects more than doubled this year.
Moab City Manger Donna Metzler said that while the city was concerned about the amount of water being used, the main reason for the rate increase was to try to curb the disruption at the yard that resulted from the increased traffic.
“Word on the street is that we’re being punished,” Moab Mayor David Sakrison said, referencing the decline in water being purchased from the city.
Sakrison said the city is still working to develop an alternative to culinary water for projects such as dust suppression. He said he looked at a location southwest of the former Atlas mill site along the Colorado River that might be able to support a water filling station.
“We’re waiting for the preliminary drawings to come back,” he said. Sakrison said he has discussed the issue with officials from the Bureau of Land Management.
“We had a meeting with [Moab BLM district manager] Lance Porter ... and he felt pretty comfortable that we could work something out with us,” Sakrison said.
“The bottom line is that we’re working on an alternative solution for . . . especially dust suppression,” Sakrison said. He said that there are other alternatives for dust suppression that may help decrease the need for water on building projects.
“There are three methods,” he said. Those methods currently consist of water, a polymer that is added to the water and [magnesium] chloride.
According to Sakrison, magnesium chloride is not a good option because it could cause a variety of problems if it gets into nearby water supplies. However, Sakrison said that the polymer that is added to the water helps suppress dust for three to six weeks after a single application.
“We are working toward using Colorado River water for that activity,” Sakrison said. “We don’t really want to be using culinary water for dust suppression. ... We are working on it.”
Foster said the staff at the public works yard has started asking drivers what the water is going to be used for and where it will be used so that they can keep track of the various activities.