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Originally published: 2014-03-27 17:46:25
Last modified: 2014-03-27 17:47:11

Boone water intake slated for 2018 completion at earliest

by Anna Oakes

Boone Public Utilities Director Rick Miller told the town's Water Use Committee Wednesday that in a best-case scenario, mid- to late-2018 is the earliest date of completion for the planned water intake.

"I would anticipate that if we get everything finalized and get all the permits that we need finished up that this would hopefully go to bid for construction sometime early next year," Miller said, adding that construction would take about three years.

The intake would draw as much as 4 million gallons of water per day from an the South Fork New River near Todd, which would then be transmitted along Brownwood Road and U.S. 421 back to Boone. Boone has been planning for a new water source since 2005; a 2018 completion date would be several years past the original estimated date of completion.

"Unknown costs and unknown circumstances have delayed the project," said Boone Mayor Andy Ball.

"There's been major public opposition," Miller added. "It's not been your run-of-the-mill water intake project."

Committee member Tim Wilson inquired about the status of right-of-way acquisition along Brownwood Road for the water transmission line, a question he has asked in the past. Miller acknowledged last fall that there is "hostility from property owners to provide any right-of-way outside of the pavement."

Miller said the acquisition is ongoing, but said he could not provide many details. Wilson asked if the town planned to exercise its right of eminent domain in acquiring the necessary right-of-way.

"Possibly," Miller replied.

"That's a decision for council," added Ball.

The town has implemented a water rationing policy since it began planning for a new water source, and the Water Use Committee approved a recommended extension of the town water ordinance through 2018, with 150,000 gallons per day to be available for allocation to projects each year. The Boone Town Council must approve the ordinance extension.