November 27, 2014

City of SH considers agreement to protect water rights

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

The city of Spring Hill may sign on to an interlocal agreement governing water usage out of Hillsdale Lake. The lake serves as a drinking water source for Spring Hill, along with a number of neighboring communities and rural water districts.

Rory Hale, public works director, told Spring Hill City Council members that the parties that utilize Hillsdale as a water source are considering an agreement that will help the entities hammer out water rights in the future.

When complete, council members will have to approve the agreement before the city can sign on.

Under the likely terms of such an agreement, all parties would have to discuss allowing another party to have access to the remaining water rights at Hillsdale Lake.

“It’s a way to protect our water rights,” Hale said.

The interlocal agreement would also give the parties more negotiating power with the state when discussing water rates.

Hale said the state owes a significant amount to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which created the lake. The debt will likely cause water rates the city pays for its rights to Hillsdale’s water to increase.

(The agreement) provides a little more cushion,” Hale said. “We’re not going to see a huge savings. But it’s a way to cooperate with our neighbors. It’s a way to protect our water rights.”

Hale said when details of the agreement are finalized and approved by the city’s attorney, council members will be asked to sign on to the agreement at a future meeting.

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