WRRWA approves contract for water study

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

The rescheduled March meeting of the Watauga River Regional Water Authority convened Monday evening to take a giant leap toward the authority's relationship with engineering company Jordan, Jones & Goulding.
   Six board members approved the motion to award the contract to Knoxville- based JJ&G to begin a comprehensive water system improvements study in Carter County. Two board members, Olen Pate and Richard Tester, voted no to the study.
   WRRWA Executive Director Michael Hughes said, "This study will tell us how much water we are going to need to take care of our present population and the growth factor that you have to figure in, based on planning documents and census documents and how many people will be in Carter County over the next 50 year period.
   "This study will address how much water we will need, what we need to serve it, how we need to serve it as far as hydraulics stand point, what phases will it be in and how much it will cost for each phase. This is a really good thing to do. It is good to have a plan before we go out and start doing something," Hughes said.
   Funding for the study has already been aquired through a grant, surcharge fees from utilities and a match from Hughes' salary. The maximum the study will cost is $109,000.
   "That includes expenses and everything for the engineering group. That is a max figure. It is up to but not to exceed, so it could come in lower than that. Now we do have the money in hand now to pay for the study, from the surcharges, from the county set aside and from the match we get on my salary.
   "It will generate good informaiton for these utilities to make a decision whether they need to proceed at the end of the study period," Hughes added.
   JJ&G will begin the study immediately. "There are seven phases to the study. A lot of them have to be done concurrently. It's not like we have to authorize them to do number one and then move on to number two. There's a couple of them that have to be done at the same time," Hughes said.
   A workshop is scheduled for April 12 at 5 p.m. to discuss by-laws and to choose a logo for the water authority.