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City officials hope the recent purchase of a spring on the Ironton property north of the city will help meet the city's future water needs.

The officials also hope they'll never have to use the water.Last week the City Council approved an agreement that calls for the city to place $42,000 into an escrow account to purchase 115 acre-feet of water from the Ironton spring and the rights to 670 acre-feet of water. Each year for 10 years the city will pay $28,000 until it owns the entire 670 shares.

"I think water is one of the city's most-pressing needs, so I just don't see how we can turn down an offer like this," Councilman Gordon Smith said.

The city currently gets most of its culinary water from four wells. However, the state does not allow the city to use all the water the wells produce. City officials have asked the state water engineer to allow them to transfer the Ironton water shares to the city's existing wells in exchange for allowing the Ironton spring water to run to Utah Lake.

The purchase agreement stipulates that the city does not have to purchase the water if the state water engineer denies its request. Harold Mitchell, city attorney, said about six months will pass before the state water engineer responds to the city's request.

"With a guarantee like that, I just don't see how we can wrong on this one," Councilman Chris Sorenson said.

If the state water engineer does not allow the city to transfer the water shares, the city can still purchase the water, but it is unlikely the spring would be developed any time soon.

To develop the spring, the city would have to do water studies, pipe the water several miles and purchase land around the spring to provide a 1,500-foot buffer zone. City officials say the cost would be more than $200,000 to develop the spring for culinary use. The spring's site is owned by Provo City.