Residents approved a $600,000 general-obligation bond Tuesday to finance improvments to the city's water system.

"There were 402 votes cast; 300 for the bond and 102 against," David Allen, city recorder, said Tuesday night.The money will allow officials to complete work on a backup well in the south part of town and to purchase another small well in the north part of town. It will also pay for some new pipe and a 1-million-gallon holding tank. "We want to provide a positive backup system for the well in the middle of town and increase water pressure to all areas," Mayor Everet Predmore said.

Getting a backup water source has been a high priority for the last three years, Predmore said. The project took on a new urgency last month when a mechanical problem shut down the city's only working well for two weeks.

City officials rented the smaller well they now hope to buy in the north part of the city, but the output did not match that of the regular well. Water rationing made lawns turn brown and put the town in extreme fire danger. Had there been a fire before the regular well was repaired, not enough water would have been available to fight it, officials said.

In the past, Mapleton's two main sources of culinary water were the well in the center of town and springs in Maple Canyon. Until the last two years, the springs met Mapleton's needs year-round except for four to eight weeks in the hottest part of summer, city officials said. The well was used during those periods.

According to a flier prepared by city officials, the low precipitation levels of the last two years have decreased the output of the springs to 25 to 35 percent of normal.

City officials put the well on line for up to 22 hours a day last summer and fall, and ran it almost continuously this summer until it broke last month.

Predmore said the bonds would be paid off by a water-rate increase that had been planned for some time. He said the only way Mapleton residents would have to pay off the bonds would be if the city went bankrupt.

"Now that the vote is in, we can begin selling bonds," Allen said. "We should be done next month. They will be offered on the open market.

"The mayor and council are happy to know they have the community's support to pursue this water project."

A little more than a quarter of the registered voters among Mapleton's 3,300 residents voted in the bond election.