By Myrna Trauntvein
Can or cannot Mona require a quarter share of
irrigation water from anyone proposing to build in the city?
That is the question, and once again, there seems to
be controversy surrounding the answer.
Council members, Doran Kay and Harry Newell, who both
are share holders in Mona Irrigation Company, think there is
irrigation water enough that some will be available for sale
Cory Squire, council member, said the council had
agreed to notice the proposed changes to the ordinance and
so he was prepared to do so. Nevertheless, the council
postponed taking that step for a while longer.
"If we put such an ordinance in place, we need to be
able to stand up to the legal test that will come," said
Rick Schnurr, council member. "Our decision has to be
He said he had contacted the city's attorney, Phil
Lowry, and found that he still had some concerns about the
proposal to require one-quarter share of irrigation water be
dedicated to the lot of every home built in the future.
Schnurr, who was appointed by Mayor Bryce Lynn to
review the proposal, said he had found out that Mona is
considered a "closed" water district. That means that the
resource in the valley where Mona is located will never
expand as laws are structured today.
"I understood that you were not supposed to go to
Lowry but to a water attorney," said Kay.
Schnurr said that was to come. He would also contact
Utah Association of Towns and Cities and find out what their
legal staff had to say about the proposal.
Darlene Fowkes, council member, said that requiring a
quarter share of irrigation water accompany every building
permit application before it would be approved may not be
"We may be closing up the community to building," she
said. "Right now that much water would cost $10,000 if
anyone would sell."
That figure represented the going price for water in
Most cities where water is required with a building
permit have plenty of water to sell to begin with. That is
why it is considered legal in such locations, because there
is a lot of available water for sale.
"Pleasant Grove has a water requirement but they also
have seven canals and water from Strawberry that comes to
the community so it is not a hardship to purchase water
there," said Schnurr.
Water cannot be purchased from outside the drainage
area and then transferred to Mona as can be done in the
reverse. For example, he said, water which originated in the
Mona drainage system could be sold to someone in Santaquin
or Goshen because the water drained that way but it could
not be sold by someone in Santaquin or Goshen and the
point-of-diversion transferred to Mona.
"Water can be transferred from the Nephi area to
Mona," said Kay.
Nevertheless, he said, water was a limited resource
that needed to be guarded and the requirement that every
home in Mona which is built in the future have a quarter
share of water to be dedicated to the lot it was built on
was just sound planning.
"What happens if the city cannot supply the water
needs of the residents of the community in the future?" he
Cities had ways to get water that private individuals
did not have, said Schnurr, and attorneys considered that
when looking a proposals. One of those ways, of course, is
That would be a last resort and one the council would,
more than likely, not consider but attorneys did take that
into consideration. What they did not like was imposing
unfair standards on those seeking to build in a
"Before we make a decision, we need to find out what
resources are available," said Schnurr.
He said the council and the attorney they consult, a
water attorney, will need to determine the availability of
water in the Mona drainage system and determine how
difficult it will be for residents to purchase a quarter
share of water and how legal imposing such a requirement
will be considered by the courts.