PLEASANT VIEW — The construction industry may finally be making a comeback post-recession, but progress in one Weber County city has been slowed because of the weak water picture.
Pleasant View city leaders have placed a freeze on new building applications for the next six months, allowing the city to seek out new and expanded water sources to help fuel future growth.
"We need to make sure we have adequate facilities," Mayor Doug Clifford said Monday.
It has become an issue because of a recent surge in construction interest on top of nearly three years of drought conditions.
Nobody is going thirsty in Pleasant View — or will go thirsty — and as the mayor said, the "toilets are still flushing." However, the city already is not meeting the state requirement of pumping 800 gallons of water for each equivalent residential unit (ERU) per day.
Clifford said Pleasant View was pumping closer to 600 gallons per hookup per day. He said an average household might consume 400 gallons in a day.
"If everyone in town decided they were going to use the maximum amount of water on some afternoon, then that's what you have to kind of plan for," Clifford said.
The concern becomes whether the construction application spike extends over the next several years into a new housing boom.
"I've been saying for years and years that development in Utah along the Wasatch Front will eventually be water-limited, and perhaps this is the harbinger of times to come," Clifford said, suggesting other cities may face the same quandary.
Pleasant View officials have been looking at various possibilities to bring more water to the city, including expanding on existing water sources. A new well that was in the city's 2015 plans has been moved up by a year.
Current approved projects will continue to move forward, city leaders said. Pleasant View councilman Michael Humphreys, also a developer, said the city has to - and will - find a solution.
"We want to continue on with business - both the city and developers," Humphreys said. "It's not going to hurt the city for 6 months, but of course if we find out that we indeed have to hold off development until we get a new well online - it's going to hurt developers, it's going to hurt the city."
Humphreys said the application freeze comes at a time where builders are anxious to capitalize on better times.
"There are developers like myself and others that have been waiting for some time because of the economy to come back, and now we've got an opportunity to do some development," he said. "So it is — it's going to be unfortunate."