A half-million dollar state loan is needed to bring drinking water to residents west of Layton whose wells are running dry, depleted by increased demands on the area's groundwater and five years of drought.

About 50 families with homes and farms west of Layton are affected and are asking for annexation to obtain city water.Layton City Engineer Bill Flanders estimates extending the water system into the area will cost about $550,000. A $499,000 loan from the state Water Resources Board has been approved but is awaiting funding through the Legislature.

The city will put an additional $50,000 into the project, Flanders said. To recoup the money, Layton will form a special improvement district in the area, charging residents either a surcharge on their property tax or an additional fee on their monthly water bill over the next 10 to 15 years.

West Layton resident Wayne Bone is spearheading the annexation effort, telling the City Council that of the residents in the area he's talked to a majority view the annexation request favorably.

"We need water. There's really no other option," Bone said. Most of the older wells in the area are relatively shallow, drilled years ago when the groundwater level was higher. The older wells are also mostly 2-inch casing, making it difficult to draw up enough water, he said.