It's pretty sloppy outside these days, so it's possible that the drought plaguing our region may be ending. Then again, things could turn around in the next several months, and we could be right back where we were last summer - facing dry conditions that prompted local watering restrictions. Hopefully, we get the former and not the latter.
In any case, we are pleased that Fairmont Public Utilities Commission has decided not to pursue a ban on private wells in town. Such wells are being considered by some local institutions and citizens to tap into non-potable water that can be used on lawns and gardens. These wells not only offer water, they offer it at a far cheaper price, once the well itself is paid for, compared to relying on the city water supply and ongoing utility bills.
PUC?commissioners understand that the number of private wells is going to be limited. There is a cost to drill a well. Unless the need for water is great, most people are not going to bother. They will tend to wait for more regular precipitation. City officials also note that there are state rules related to how wells are dug and abandoned. We do hope residents interested in drilling their own wells understand that there is a proper, environmentally sound process that must be followed.
Local taxpayers will benefit from the PUC's decision. The school district plans to drill a well to water its athletic fields, which become dry and dangerous without proper irrigation. The school will have to pay for a well, but not for those ongoing costs for city water. That well water can continue to be used for years to come, drought or no drought, saving money.