Residents of the "Vineyard area" think Orem is unnecessarily using underground water they need, and they want Orem to help pay for a study they think will prove it.
A spokesman from the Vineyard area appeared Tuesday before the Orem City Council to represent the area. Located at the southwest corner of Orem, it falls partially within city boundaries and partially in unincorporated area.Vineyard area residents believe that when Orem pumps city wells, it drains the closed artesian basin also used by Vineyard residents.
"Our area relies on wells for agriculture and culinary needs," said spokesman Rulon Gammon. "Our wells are being dried up by larger cities' use of underwater supplies.
"When the water drops below 15 to 18 feet, our centrifugal pumps can't bring it up, and many of us don't have money for immersion pumps or new wells."
Gammon did not contend Orem had no right to the well water, but he pointed out that Orem can get water from other sources and the Vineyard area can't. Orem officials said using well water is the only way to get the proper water pressure to the north part of town.
Gammon suggested Orem help fund a water study to prove larger towns are using water that could help the Vineyard area. The study would cost $20,000, and Gammon wanted Orem to pay $8,000. He said he will also approach Provo for $8,000 and will ask Geneva for a share too.
"We must find a solution, or it is conceivable, down the line, that we will run into problems with sink holes," he said.
Orem officials have plans for a new well that would further drain the aquifer the Vineyard area uses.
City Council members did not agree to help fund the project, but said they would postpone filing their application for the new well. They also moved to bring the Vineyard area's problem to the Council of Government's attention for further discussion.