The Sheridan Area Water Supply joint powers board has changed a policy that has prohibited SAWS water from being used in irrigation systems.
Meeting earlier this week, board members voted to allow SAWS water to be used in an irrigation system outside the irrigation season and if the irrigation system’s water is shut down for some reason.
The difference between the two water systems, according to SAWS Administrator Dan Coughlin, is that the SAWS water is potable, intended for drinking, while the irrigation water isn’t treated for drinking.
Coughlin said the biggest concern of the SAWS board is that the two systems not be cross-connected.
Also, he said, they could also be putting their neighbors at risk.
Coughlin said SAWS has required irrigators to have an irrigation system of nonpotable water separate from the water they get from SAWS. He said that’s created a problem for the irrigators because under the original agreement with SAWS, the irrigation water can only be used during the irrigation season, which is May through September.
Outside of that time, he said, irrigators couldn’t use the irrigation water. Coughlin said he became aware of the problem after being approached by a developer, and after talking with others, including other developers and city staff, he decided an inequity did exist.