Water is like gold, but as water runs dry, people are left with fool’s gold.
Fortunately for Grantsville residents, they have been surrounded by individuals who were not foolish and prepared a future for the city.
Lynn Taylor, the water master at Grantsville Irrigation, secures the city’s precious commodity.
Taylor was born and raised in West Jordan and lived in the town of Copperton. When he and his wife received an opportunity to purchase five acres in Grantsville, they did so. After securing the property, they built their home. Unlike his father, Taylor decided farming was “too much work.” So he worked at drilling wells.
In 1986, Grantsville Irrigation was formed to bring together two existing irrigation companies: South Willow and North Willow.
“It was due to that fact that the state water commission didn’t feel the water was being used properly in the city of Grantsville,” Taylor said of the formation of Grantsville Irrigation. “The water shares were in jeopardy of being taken away by the state water commission.”
When water is not used properly, the “use it” or “lose it” philosophy applies. Grantsville didn’t want to lose any water to the state. A board of directors was formed, headed by Ernie Matthews as president.
“This irrigation project would not have come together without this board and the never tiring efforts of Ernie Matthews,” Taylor said.
Making a change often is difficult, and the residents of Grantsville were no different from residents of other cities. The original board of directors moved forward and planned the Grantsville Irrigation project to be completed in two phases.
Phase one was finished in 1985 and ready for functional use. At the time, Taylor was working for the contractor on phase two. Upon completion, Taylor heard that Grantsville Irrigation was looking for an employee to run the irrigation system. He applied for the position and was hired.
However, the board had to agree on one thing: “that everyone was treated equally regarding water shares.” Taylor’s request was granted.
“I was hired because I had no ties to Grantsville,” Taylor said.
He has been working for Grantsville Irrigation since the spring of 1987.
“Most of the original board of directors are still on the board today,” Taylor said, noting that a few have retired. “(They) certainly left their indelible mark as founders of the Grantsville Irrigation Company.”
When Taylor was asked if there was room for expansion, he replied with a resounding “no.”
Taylor indicated that “there isn’t any more water.”
Grantsville was given a provision of 5,000 additional shares; however, that is on paper. Taylor said that without water, those shares are just paper.
“At present Grantsville Irrigation has 10,127 1/2 shares,” he said. “The shares are divided up by share with each share being awarded 325,900 gallons of water. The way the board set the system up allows for 7-7 1/2 turns per year. However, the average runs between 4-5 turns. The turn off time for the irrigation water is always, without fail, the last two weeks of October.”
It takes Taylor two to three weeks to close the system up for the winter.
Late-summer storms helped increase the flow from the reservoir into the Grantsville Irrigation system.
“The gauges up at the reservoir were putting out approximately 560 gallons of water per minute (before the late summer rain),” Taylor said. “After the rainfall, the reservoir [was] putting out approximately 950 gallons per minute.”
Grantsville Irrigation has an additional 16-foot well with a 12-inch pump which puts out 1,600 gallons of water per minute.
“The individuals that need this water pay for it so that we have the funds for any repairs to the well,” Taylor said.
Even in a dry year, Grantsville still has water thanks to monitoring efforts.
Grantsville is one of the only cities that has meters not only on the farmers’ water, but residents as well.
“This brave new decision has saved our city from drought-like conditions,” Taylor said.
Taylor believes Grantsville will continue to grow as developers come into the city.
“You can’t tell the farmers not to sell their property for development,” he said. “As a resident, you can either find a flaw in the development or buy the property from the existing farmer.”
All future development is monitored by Grantsville Irrigation and Grantsville City.
“These two entities keep the checks and balances going so our city does not out-grow our water,” Taylor said.
One of the greatest hassles Taylor has found is that of “too much pressure.” The Irrigation Company put in eight pressure-reducing stations and has since added four more. The first two years, Taylor dealt with about 200 leaks per summer from excessive pressure.
He also checks the flow nozzles three to four times a week.
The first year, Taylor met with the board and made the decision to make water available to everybody so they can use it.
“The residents pay for what they use,” he said.
Taylor added that it has become easier to monitor usage with the addition of computerized programs.