Delaware City looks at United Water deal
Town may share source

Staff reporter

Delaware City supplies water to residents through its own groundwater system, pumped from two wells in town.

But it is considering a proposal by United Water for a partnership that could benefit United and the town - and also help with state objectives to preserve groundwater.

General Manager Tony Langley of United Water in Stanton, which draws on surface water from several streams, including the White and Red Clay creeks, extended a "conjunctive-use" proposal to the town earlier this month.

"Conjunctive use is not a new concept, but I think it's new for this area," Langley said last week. "I don't know of any area where a groundwater system and a surface-water system are working together to better manage the state's water supply."

The proposal would allow United to buy water from the town in the summer, when demand is high. In turn, the town would draw water from United during the remaining nine months of the year, when demand is low.

As much as 34 million gallons of groundwater would be saved each year by tapping into United's surface-water supply much of the year, Langley said.

There is a more finite supply of groundwater, he said. The aquifer supplying water to the town can replenish during the months when water is not drawn.

The biggest advantage to United would be an additional supply of water - 18 million gallons - when it most needs it.

The town could benefit financially from the water sold to United, at a rate yet to be determined, and it also would have a backup system in case of problems with the water supply.

"We're considering it," City Manager Paul Morrill said.

Morrill said the additional revenue the town would receive from United could be set aside to help pay for improvements to its own well-water system.

Langley said the town uses a little less than 200,000 gallons of water a day, compared with the 22 million distributed to United's customers, including Newark residents.

He said about a mile of new pipe would have to be laid where the pipeline now ends, near Southern Elementary School on Cox Neck Road, to the far reaches of the town's well-water system on that same road near Nowland Lane. The cost to lay the pipe and install a booster pump would be about $350,000.

Reach Edward L. Kenney at 324-2891 or