Hot tubs to get Summit residents in hot water?
Do hot tubs use much water? Is the amount more or less than the beer consumed by soakers that use them?Such was the discussion at Monday’s Summit County commissioners’ work session, when officials decided to ask the state for relief from water augmentation requirements for property owners with hot tubs on their decks.”People drink alcohol in the hot tubs, go in and go to the bathroom and replenish [the water supply] enough to make up for the water used in the hot tub,” Commissioner Bill Wallace said.It was a light-hearted discussion on the serious issue property owners in unincorporated areas are grappling with as the state cracks down on illegal well-water use.The state’s water laws prohibit certain well users from using water outside the four walls of a house. The restrictions include landscaping, livestock needs and even outdoor hot tubs.County commissioners want to explore ways to relieve hot tub users from large augmentation fees who simply want to have a soak and sip a drink.The decision is up to the state engineer’s office. The commissioners decided Monday to send a letter asking the state for clarification and consideration on the hot tub issue, among other items.The cost to purchase or lease water depends on how much area a homeowner wants to water, among other factors. Minimum fees to participate in the county’s system include a $300 application fee, initiation fee of more than $1,000 – and up to $7,500 if a large area is to be landscaped – then a $250 annual administration fee.The state, which also reviews water augmentation applications, charges a $480 fee. A private company, Vidler Water, based in Nevada, is also a choice for residents who want to purchase or lease water to use outside their homes.Another concern includes Bill’s Ranch residents, who are unable to participate in either of two water augmentation plans currently available through the county or Vidler Water.While Summit County’s well users slid by state restrictions for 10 years, the county’s new augmentation program prompted the state to begin compliance measures.The county so far is processing only about 10 applications to buy augmented water, said county assistant manager Sue Boyd. Water strictly for hot tub use currently can’t be purchased.
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