The Corps of Engineers may begin trucking water to Summit Park within a few days to help solve a problem that has left between 25 and 50 homes without water.

The relief would provide water, on a rotation basis, to only one-third of the approximately 325 homes each day while officials of the Summit Park Special Improvement District convert a recently drilled test well into a regular production well and connect it to the culinary water system. That process may take six to eight weeks.Until the new well is on line, a boil order imposed by the state Health Department Friday will remain in effect, said Gayle Smith, state drinking water and sanitation director. The multiple handling of trucked water and regular draining of parts of the water system make the water susceptible to contamination, Smith said.

Wednesday night, residents voted to pay $10 per connection for the water the corps would truck to the system from the Summit Distribution System about three miles away in the Jeremy Ranch area. If the situation in Summit Park meets federal criteria, the Corps of Engineers would cover the cost of trucking the water to Summit Park's water system, Smith said.

If residents had to pay to haul the water, it would cost about $120 a month per connection.

"I'm camping in my house with my three children," said Summit Park resident Stewart Paap, who said he first ran out of water just before Thanksgiving. "I can't afford to pay $120 a month for two or three months to get water, but I'm getting really tired of imposing on friends for showers. You don't realize how much you need water until you don't have any."

Smith said the past year was the driest year since 1931 in the Summit Park area. Springs and wells the town has relied on for its water supply are drying up.

Homes at higher elevations were the first to run out of water. Residents of the lower areas haven't gone without water yet, Paap said.

Residents last summer formed a special improvement district and borrowed $850,000 to pay for the new well and pipelines needed to connect it to the water system.

Summit County officials declared the water shortage an emergency, Smith said. State officials, armed with that declaration, approached the state Department of Emergency Services, which has helped contact the Corps of Engineers to determine availability of federal money for the temporary water trucking program.

"If the water system had the finances, they could have hauled the water themselves," Smith said. "But they've already bonded for so much they can't borrow any more."