Don't be fooled by all the snow at Brighton Ski Resort into thinking there's ample water to meet everyone's needs.
Because of drought problems over recent years at least one water firm, Silver Lake Co., is having problems meeting all the demands on its system.Theo M. Merrill, Murray, president of the water company, which serves Brighton Ski Resort, said Wednesday that below-normal snowpack conditions over the past three years are now causing problems for cabin owners and others who depend on culinary water in the Brighton bowl.
Merrill said Solitude Ski Resort isn't served by the water company.
The problem, Merrill said, is one of water pressure and flow. "We get our water out of a mine tunnel. We have had three subnormal snowpack years. We are getting some water but not very much," he said.
The president, who has a cabin in Brighton, said Silver Lake Co. is a small water firm that was established years ago to meet the needs of cabin owners.
"We are a stock company. We furnish water to our shareholders. We don't sell water. In the winter we have about 50 to 60 shareholders. In the summer (the system serves) about 150 cabins or shareholders," Merrill said.
Silver Lake Co. water comes from a mine tunnel on the southwest side of the mountain at Brighton. When snow melts it saturates the mountain, trickles into the mine and is then piped to a reservoir, located in front of the tunnel.
Merrill said he has no idea of the supply in the reservoir, "but it is low."
He said he doesn't know the situation with other cabin owners and others dependent on water at Brighton. Merrill said he is not certain other water sources are having supply problems in the Brighton area, but "I'm reasonably certain they are."
Randy Doyle, area manager for Brighton ski lifts, also confirmed Wednesday that officials at Brighton Ski resort are worried about the current problem.
"It's not so much a pressure problem but a lack of water, but it could be attributed to many different things. It could be a broken line. Right now (late Wednesday morning) we have water, which is coming out in good supply. The (Silver Lake) water master is monitoring the situation very carefully," Doyle said.
Tim Thomas, assistant manager at Brighton Lodge, said water pressure at the lodge was lost last Friday morning and that two guests had to be booked in a downtown hotel, but the problem was finally rectified on Sunday.
Merrill said he wishes the company had a water- making machine.
"If you know of someone with a machine, I'd like to have it. That is our situation, and there is nothing we can do about it."
He said the current snowpack should mean improved conditions later this year, "but we won't realize anything from it until the snow melts next spring."
Russell Hone, watershed management supervisor, Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department, said the city, a shareholder in Silver Lake Co., received a letter approximately a month ago from the company.
Hone said the letter informed shareholders that the firm had experienced a loss in water flow and requested that systems be checked for breaks or other problems. Hone said none were found.
Hone said the city maintains a National Weather Service station at a cabin in Brighton. He said the city sold the cabin but still maintains the weather station.