Yes, I’m a nerd! Not blessed with an athletic body, I found my niche in the high school chemistry lab. Last week, I filled a glass with crushed ice, and added enough water and salt to observe changes in light patterns cast by the glass as the ice melted. Thrilling? Yes, I know, this is a little like watching sliced apples turn brown! But, have you considered what would happen if ice formed in less space than that which contained it as the liquid? We all know water expands as it freezes; we’re lucky it does. Otherwise, ice would sink after forming on the surface of lakes and oceans and settle to the bottom, away from the warmth of the sun. It’s life’s biological solvent.
Irrigation water from the Weber River first came to Syracuse with the Hooper Canal, finishing at 4000 W. Antelope Dr. in 1884. This water allowed the farmland below the Bluff to be cultivatable for cash crops and orchards. Today, additional water companies supply secondary water. For first settlers, the only source of fresh water was a single spring: Stoddard’s Spring. Immediately pioneers dug wells. If one examines maps available at the Division of Water Rights, our past as a well-digging community is evident. A review of our history shows that families relied on private and some on shared wells until Syracuse was incorporated. My father, a child of the Great Depression, recounted stories of a well shared by his father and uncle located at 900 S. along 2000 West and its role in two families’ lives.
Syracuse was incorporated in 1935. Earlier in 1934, we began what would be our culinary water system. It was fed by one well located at the cemetery. [Did you know that 1000 West was called Cemetery Street at that time?] Two additionalwells were commissioned in 1951 and 1964. Culinary waterlines were galvanized, 2” pipes in some locations! Over time, our water supply was supplemented by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District beginning with a line from 300 North to the cemetery. Those original wells at the cemetery are retired. Water is currently drawn from a fourth well on the east side of the city near 500 W. Antelope Dr. A second Weber Basin line joins our service at this location, today.
In the early 60’s, the need for more storage was recognized and the current one-million-gallon tank was constructed. By statute, the city must maintain a certain storage capacity to meet certification requirements. The tank has served the community well, but like a tweener’s shoes, it no longer fits. Don’t fret over its demise! It will serve our secondary system, improving water pressures there! The nerd in me spent a few minutes the other day looking at changing patterns from melting ice. Our 2014 Water Master Plan based on ever-changing growth patterns has determined we will have sufficient culinary water through 2041, but there is a need for an additional 3 million gallons of storage by 2024; an additional 3 million gallons of storage within 4 years of that date, and then an additional 1 million before build out; thus 3+3+1 = 7 million! Generations that follow will be grateful we made the start today!