Something more valuable than gold has been found in Tropic. Drillers struck water at a new culinary test well.

The find is expected to alleviate the town's water shortage, which became so critical last summer that residents had to obtain water from other communities, use surface water, and boil their drinking water. The spring source inside Bryce Canyon National Park either dried up or relocated where community officials couldn't find it.The new well is expected to produce upward of 1,000 gallons of water per minute, said Mayor Bob Bradley. Water was located at a depth of 2,165 feet but drilling continued to 2,450 feet. Now officials are rejoicing at finding a reliable supply of culinary water and projections that there will be a 60 percent saving in anticipated pumping costs.

The well is in the town park, drilled by Lang Exploratory Drilling Co. of Salt Lake City. A permit is being obtained from the state for a producing well.

Bradley said the estimated cost of the complete culinary water project is $1.2 million. A $425,000 interest-free loan was obtained through the Utah Safe Drinking Water Committee, along with a $160,000 grant from the Utah Community Impact Board. The mayor said the Town Council will seek an additional grant of $633,000 from the CIB in January, following verification of an adequate flow from the test well.

In addition to the well, a 500,000-gallon storage reservoir will be built, pressure zones developed to equalize water pressure throughout the community, and redevelopment of the Spring Creek springs.