The small, rural town of Tropic, plagued with a critical water shortage, has received enough state financial aid that it will be able to drill for a new water source.

The town has received a $425,000 no-interest loan from the Utah Safe Drinking Water Committee and applied for a grant of $851,000 from the Community Impact Board, according to Mayor Bob Bradley.The only culinary water supply, a spring in Bryce Canyon National Park west of Tropic, lost most of its flow.

Although an order was issued to boil drinking water that was obtained from the Paria River, several cases of giardia have occurred, the mayor reported. Giardia is a chlorine-resistant protozoan that infects the intestinal tract. Those who were afflicted have suffered from such ailments as diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue.

Tropic officials believe the source of the spring water may have moved, but several drillings in the area failed to find any more water. Prior to the summer's drought period, the spring was flowing about 200 gallons per minute.

Another problem facing the town is indebtedness from the last culinary water project. Payments of about $700 per month are being made while the town runs out of water.

The community may also get emergency water through an agreement with the Spring Creek Irrigation Co. Tropic's town council plans to develop the company's spring in exchange for use of water for culinary purposes if needed. A flow of from 600 to 1,200 gallons a minute has been estimated by a state geologist.

The mayor is now optimistic that new funding will result in an adequate water supply. Bradley said officials are also hopeful that enough moisture will fall this winter that the culinary spring will increase to its normal flow.