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Ephraim orders water restrictions after well shaft breaks

By Spencer Burt, KSL | Updated - Sep. 20, 2018 at 5:43 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 20, 2018 at 3:29 p.m.

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EPHRAIM, Sanpete County — The shaft in Ephraim's well snapped Wednesday night, prompting the city to place restrictions on water use.

"All outside watering is prohibited," the city announced Thursday.

The pump had been making a "rough noise" for a couple days, City Manager Brant Hanson said. "We anticipated there would be an issue … but we didn't expect it to break."

The city's water supply now relies on springs, which are "extremely low" this year, according to the announcement.

Hanson said the springs are normally sufficient, but the well has been used to supplement the city's water needs this year due to the "worst drought in a while."

There are no restrictions on regular indoor water use, he added.

Still, he said, residents need to conserve water to keep the city's tanks full, partially in case a wildfire were to start nearby.

There will be "aggressive enforcement" of the restrictions, the announcement said. However, Hanson anticipates they will only give warnings for the first week as word spreads about the restrictions.

"This is serious, but we don't need to panic," Hanson said. "Public works has it under control. Just be cautious, be smart about water usage."

He said the restrictions are in place so the city can assess the situation before making more accurate predictions on their water needs.

"We're not going to rush it," Hanson said. The city will get a permanent pump in place that will last, which will take time to get contracted, manufactured and installed. A temporary pump will be installed that can be used if absolutely necessary, he added.

Updates will be announced on the city's website, social media and through media outlets.

Hanson said he understands why there is some frustration because Ephraim has a good history of water availability, which should be a "badge of honor" for the city's public works.

"We have a good system, and we expect a lot," he said. "That's a great place to be."

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