The Cache County Council has voted to allow an ad hoc committee to begin educating residents on the county's water needs as a first step toward possible formation of a water conservancy district.

Council members said they are reluctant to support a petition drive aimed at creating a conservancy district until they know the outcome of November's balloting on three state tax initiatives.Dennis Funk, a council member and chairman of the ad hoc committee for Bear River water development, said the entire committee favors water development in the immediate future, and most members support a conservancy district.

Councilwoman Ann Skanchy, however, said she wants to study the issue more thoroughly because some constituents have complained that such a district would amount to taxation without representation because board members are appointed, not elected.

Board members also have the ability to increase property taxes, which fund the district, and to exercise power of eminent domain.

In order to establish a water conservancy district, petitions must be circulated to property owners throughout the county.

If signatures are obtained from 5 percent of the owners in municipalities and 20 percent of those in unincorporated areas, the petitions are turned over to a district court, which appoints the board of directors.

"There will be plenty of opportunity for debate once that process has begun," Funk said.