(ATLANTIC) Officials with the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) updated the Cass County Board of Supervisors on a rural water project that was planned for a portion of Cass County.
Max Crawford, with SIRWA, said the plan started in early 2011. They studied two areas in the County and the first area they studied started at the County line and went up past Lewis. Crawford said that study didn’t even get a 30 % response. He said they spent two to three weeks doing surveys and decided that wasn’t going to work and so they went back and got permission with the existing grant to shift the townships north and northeast of Atlantic, still covering the area with the most demand, east and west of Highway 71. Crawford said there were 335 customers in the second study area and only 166 of them had signed up for the rural water. But, that wasn’t enough; they needed 277 to sign up. Even after several follow ups to get people to sign up and putting around $120,000 into the project; the SIRWA board said they could no longer put any more money into the project and so the project is not going to happen.
“We really wanted to see this project go,” said Crawford. “This is the first one that we ever did a study on that we didn’t get passed.”
Beth McDermott, a rural resident, was really hoping this project would go through because they don’t have water.
“With five of us living in that house, we have a shallow well, you had to decide if you were going to do laundry that day or not,” said McDermott. “It depends on the year, especially when we get into dry spells, I had to be real careful because we’d have no water real quickly and when you have livestock, the livestock needs to get watered and you go into town to do your laundry.”
Crawford said at this time there is no longer any grant money available and so they will not be moving forward with the project at any time in the future. However, he said there is a little extra capacity in the Cumberland tower and they may be looking into what they can do to get the people in that area that really need it, hooked up to water.