Officials are studying how best to expand Gunnison's culinary water system, looking at ways to meet future culinary water demand and provide water to the Central Utah Correctional Facility.

Enlargement of facilities and services at the Gunnison Valley Hospital will also be necessary to provide medical services for the prison.City Recorder Nancy Jorgensen said the water project will be funded by interest-free loans of $300,000 each from the state's Safe Drinking Water Committee and the Board of Water Resources, and $100,000 as a grant from the Community Impact Board. City officials will provide $50,000, she said.

Gunnison City agreed to supply water to the prison at a cost to the state of 65 cents per 1,000 gallons. Councilman Richard Dyreng said the city will be able to do so without affecting residential users, who will pay more in the future to meet increased demand.

Dyreng estimates it will cost about $1.25 per month for each household to build a water tank and complete a $750,000 project.

He noted that those who conserve and use less water pay twice as much as those who use 25,000 gallons or more per month under the present rate structure. The basic rate is $13.50 for 25,000 and only 40 cents per 1,000 gallons in excess of that amount.

The average Gunnison household uses about 12,500 gallons of water per month. By lowering the overrun rate, a family using that amount would pay $14.50 per month, or $1.16 per 1,000 gallons. The 25,000-gallon user would pay $19.50 or 78 cents per 1,000 gallons.