AMERICAN FORK — American Fork residents can expect lower water bills in coming years thanks to a new pressurized irrigation system.

Mayor Heber Thompson, City Council members and engineers broke ground Friday for the project, which also includes a new reservoir. Horrocks Engineers, Franson Civil Engineers and Hansen, Allen & Luce Engineers all provided consulting and design for the system.

Thompson said the project has been discussed for about 15 years, and initial action, with a series of discussions, took place 10 years ago. He said he was excited to see more than a decade of work finally begin. The new system and reservoir are in response to water shortages, especially during the summer months.

John Schiess, project manager and an engineer with Horrocks, said by next June or July, about 26 miles of pipe will have been laid with residents hooking up and using the water. As soon as pipe is laid in front of their homes, residents will be able to hook up to the system, which is optional. In about two years, more than 110 miles of pipe will have been laid, he said.

The new system pipes will be laid under every street in American Fork, allowing all residents to have access. The city encourages all residents to hook up to the new line when it is installed in their areas.

Pressurized irrigation with non-treated water will also lower residents' water bills, Schiess said. The city currently uses culinary water — treated, drinking-quality water — which costs residents more. Water from the irrigation system will be used to water lawns, not for dishwashing or drinking. The initial price of the water will be more, but it will gradually decrease, he said.

Residents voted for an obligation bond in order to fund the project, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2010.

A public open house will be held Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the American Fork Library, 64 S. 100 East. Residents will be able to ask questions concerning the new irrigation system. The engineering firms and city officials will have information concerning construction detours, access issues and rates.

A demonstration will also be available to explain how residents can connect to the system. More information about the system and the construction can be found at