The county provides fire protection to residents in unincorporated areas but that doesn't include buying fire hydrants, the Davis County commissioners said Wednesday.

A group of homeowners in the rural area west of Syracuse is hooking up to the Hooper Water District because their wells have gone dry, and they want the county to buy and install 20 to 22 fire hydrants as the waterline is installed.A delegation of more than a dozen of the 22 involved homeowners met with the commission Wednesday, asking for financial help.

Gale Voit, speaking for the delegation, said county residents pay an additional levy on their property tax bill for police and fire protection, among other county services, and as part of its obligation to provide fire protection, the county should install the hydrants.

State and county laws require the hydrants be installed as part of a water system, Voit said.

Commission Chairman Gayle Stevenson said the county contracts with the Syracuse Fire Department to provide fire protection in that area and that is the extent of the county's responsibility.

Fire hydrants are installed by developers or landowners, not the county, Stevenson said.

He suggested the homeowners divide the cost of installing the hydrants - just under $1,000 each - among themselves, which would be around $500 each. That cost could be added to the waterline installation and hookup fee of $1,000.

Several homeowners in the delegation said they could barely afford the $1,000 and couldn't afford an additional $500 for water.

The residents, who live in the area west of Syracuse from 4000 West to 4500 West between 700 South and 1700 South, said their wells are running dry because surrounding cities have drilled large wells into the aquifer and are diverting the water.

Some of the private wells date to the late 1800s and never ran dry until the cities tapped into the water table, they said, suggesting the cities should bear some of the cost of installing the waterlines.

While sympathetic to their plight, the commissioners agreed the county does not have jurisdiction over the water problem. Homeowners can either hook up to the Hooper district, which they are doing, or apply for annexation into Syracuse City and hook onto the city system, the commissioners said.