Bona Vista Water, Plain City Irrigation


Submitted by Floyd Palmer

This most important new culinary water system has made life a little more pleasant in this community and surrounding areas. It was turned into the lines just a century after sturdy pioneer families first put together temporary shelters and tapped several sweet water springs which they found in the area.

It replaces old flowing wells, bringing precious water from the depths of the earth. In early days many deep and surface wells were dug, covered over, and fenced off to keep children from falling in. They were first fitted with “pitcher” pumps, a short handled affair which wore the “pumper” out in a short time. Even the farm animals had to depend on well water pumped to the surface by hand.

Later, the easier to work, long handled pumps were installed. These were followed by power pumps connected to a small storage tank. This was the ultimate in a private water supply.

In 1955, a Weber County man, Linn C. Baker, was a member of the State Legislature. He is the one who sponsored the bill to create special improvement districts. The reason he was the sponsor of this bill was due to his work in the Health Department for the State of Utah. As he studied samples of water sent to him from the outlying towns, he became aware of the amount of contamination there was in the drinking water in certain areas; Plain City was among the highest on the list. This was traceable to shallow surface wells being used, also septic tanks with poor drainage.

Soon after the Amber Basin Conservancy District was organized, Plain City wanted to purchase one-thousand acre feet of water. Their request was held in abeyance until a line could be built from Ogden Canyon. This, however, was never done.

Elmer Carver was on the executive committee of Weber Basin Project. Through the encouragement of Commissioner Carver, Mr. Ezra Fieldsted, manager of Weber Basin Project, and Linn Baker, all met with the Plain City Town Board to get something started. Floyd A. Palmer, a member of the Town Board, was asked to represent Plain City on a committee of surrounding towns in Weber and Davis counties. Mr. Ezra Fieldsted acted as chairman of this group and several meetings were held in both counties which Mr. Palmer attended.

Following this, a public meeting was held in Plain City. Farr West and Harrisville were asked to join in. This was for the purpose of starting a culinary water system. The results of this meeting, from all groups attending, were to go ahead, also to contact other nearby towns and get their feelings about joining in.

A series of meetings were held in Farr West, Harrisville, Slaterville, Marriott, Wilson Lane, and Plain City. Other towns were invited to attend. Ezra Fieldsted represented Weber Basin, Floyd A. Palmer represented Plain City, Dick Groberg represented Farr West, Kenneth Brown represented Harrisville, Clifford Blair represented Marriott and Slaterville, and Arthur W. Sorensen represented Wilson Lane. The meetings were all met with a great deal of enthusiasm and interest.

Plain City Town Board consisted of Lee Olsen, President, Floyd A. Palmer, Elvin Il. Maw, Merrill Jenkins, Blair Simpson, as members. A culinary water system was a prime item on the agenda in 1956. The town board along with several local residents were well organized to promote the need for a new water supply to replace the surface wells and pumps.

On July 19, 1956, Elmer Carver, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Weber County, State of Utah, signed a certified document that there be and is hereby created within Web er County, Utah, a Water Improvement District to be known and designated as the BONA VISTA WATER IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT, the same to embrace and include all real property lying within the following boundaries, to it: (SETS FORTH DETAILED LEGAL DESCRIPTION OF DISTRICT BOUNDARIES WHICH BOUNDARIES EMBRACE LANDS HEREIN ABSTRACTED Abstracter)

That the following named persons are appointed as the Board of Trustees of said Bona Vista Water Improvement District:

Floyd A. Palmer, Plain City Richard Groberg, Farr West Kenneth Brown, Harrisville Clifford Blair, Marriott-Slaterville Arthur Sorensen, Wilson Lane

This resolution shall take effect immediately and shall be recorded in the office of the Weber County Clerk. Recorded August 22, 1956.

Following this appointment from the Weber County Commission, the board held a short meeting. It was necessary to elect a chairman, after a discussion of each of the board members. Kenneth Brown was appointed as chairman.

The first order of business was to secure professional and legal help. Mr. Jack Richards was appointed attorney. Jack Reeves, of the firm of Nelson, Reeves and Maxwell, was appointed engineer. They were appointed to do the field work and present the plans and drawings back to the board.

When the plans were complete, the board spent much time deciding the most feasible and economical areas to run the lines in. Also, to give each town a fair share of the project. Following this, it was necessary to project estimated costs. The board spent many months getting costs and deciding on types and kinds of pipe and materials to use on the project. he overall glans had to look attractive and feasible in order to get a bonding company to handle the bonds.

The first step made to secure the bond issue was to get signed pledge cards with an agreement to pay S250.00 for a water connection. This was a requirement. Committees were organized with Floyd A. Palmer, Richard Groberg, Kenneth Brown, Clifford Blair, and Arthur Sorensen acting as chairman in each of their respective towns. The result was very successful, all those serving on these committees are deserving of much credit for their untiring effort and accomplishments.

On August 2D, 1957, a bond election was held to see if the residents would approve a $900,000.00 bond issue. The vote was 490 yes and 82 no. Edward L. Burton Company was retained as Fiscal Agent, and $698,000.00 was sold in General Obligation Bonds, and the system was under way.

On April 14, 1958, a contract was awarded to Smith-Scott Pipe Company to furnish cement mortar lined steel pipe for the main lines.

On April 14, 1958, a contract was awarded to E. H. Knudson Construction Company to install water mains in the Harrisville-Randall area which was Phase I of the project.

Also, on April 14, 1958, a contract was awarded to Chicago Bridge & Iron Company to furnish and erect a 250,000 gallon elevated storage tank in Plain City.

On April 28, 1958, Theron Palmer was hired as General Superintendent to oversee construction and to get it ready to serve and operate as a system.

On Nay 27, 1958, an office was rented from the E. B. Stone Estate on the corner of 9th and Washington. The district still maintains its offices here. The building was purchased by the district in 1969 and has been remodeled.

On May 27, 1958, negotiations were begun with the State Department of Welfare to obtain ownership of a spring located in Garner’s Canyon in North Ogden. The spring was used at the time by the welfare department at the Industrial School property for culinary use and irrigation use.

On May 27, 1958, Weber Basin let a contract to Statewide Construction Company to build the 16inch transmission line from 4000 South on U84, down into the district where Bona Vista could connect to it.

Also, on May 27, 1958, a piece of property located at 4100 West on 2200 North in Plain City, was purchased from Vern Palmer to construct the elevated tank.

Raymond Concrete Tile Company moved in and drove concrete pilings 80 feet into the ground to support the tank.

Gerald Larkin was then awarded a contract to construct a foundation so Chicago Bridge and Iron could begin erection.

On July 3, 1958, a contract was awarded to Bert Robinson Construction Company to build lines in the Farr West and Plain City area.

Also, on July 3, 1958, Standard Plumbing Supply Company was awarded a contract to furnish materials for service lines.

On July 17, 1958, the Weber County Commission agreed to purchase 60 fire hydrants to go on~the:;system to be located by the Weber County Fire Chief. ~ ~:

On July 17, 1958, Smedley Construction Company was awarded a bid to construct lines in the Slaterville, Marriott, and Wilson area for $44,975.00. The same day Mac Construction Company of Salt Lake was awarded the bid to construct our North Ogden Reservoir for S16,911.~. This is a concrete underground reservoir.

On August 11, 1958, an agreement was reached with the Welfare Department to obtain full use of the spring in North Ogden. Weber-Box Elder water was purchased to replace the Welfare Department’s share of the spring.

On February 11, 1959, work began on the plans and site for a reservoir in the Roy area.

On March 23, 1959, it was decided to run a line on the North Plain City Road.

On August 27, 1959, it was decided to either buy or condemn the Hansen property for a reservoir.

A bid to build a tank in Roy was awarded to Wehyer Construction Company for $31,403.80 on September 23, 1959.

Negotiations began to buy an eight-foot well from the Farr West Stake on June 1, 1960.

Linn C. Baker resigned as Secretary on January 1, 1961. He had been with the district since it began.

On December 6, 1961, it was decided to construct extensions to existing mains in the amount of $90,000.00. General Obligation Bonds were sold to finance these extensions. Waterfall Construction Company did the job,

All through the summer of 1961, the~Farr West well was tested to see if it would hold up.

On February 28, 1962, President Wimmer signed the Warranty Deed on the Farr West well and property. On January 16, 1963, it was decided to put heat lights in our Roy tank. This was the first such installation in this area and it drew a lot of attention,

The Utah State Health Department studied the plans for use of the existing well in Farr West and decided against allowing it to be used because of its depth. A change application was then filed with the State Engineer to drill the well to a deeper depth. ~

On May 10, 1963, a contract with Wesley Stoddard was made to drill a well in Farr West for $21,632.00 plus $4700.00 for a test hole to see how deep the well would have to go.

A meeting was held at the Farr West Pump House Building on January 20, 1964. This building was constructed by the Bona Vista Water employees. The piping was also done by employees of Bona Vista.

R. W. Coleman Company was awarded a contract for $18,877.50 to change some lines under the interstate highway on November 22, 1965.

Negotiations began on March 28, 1966 with Weber Basin on the North Ogden Well, which was later drilled and is used in the system now.

Water meters were deemed necessary and were bought by bid from Waterworks Equipment Company and E. C. Olsen Company on October 28, 1968.


1859 before the summer was over some water had been brought in their new ditch from Four Mile Creek to Plain City. In 1860 the Canal was completed to Mill Creek, the following year to Broom’s Creek and in 1862 to the Ogden River. The Right of Way in Weber River was purchased in 1873 at a cost of $2000.

In 1889 Samuel Wayment drilled an Artesian Well 249 feet deep producing additional water for the settlers. He also was in charge of the iron work and the building of the Chief Canning Factory in Plain City.

Submitted by Wayne Skeen

For many years the Plain City Irrigation Company received it’s water from the Weber River. The diversion point into the canal was just north of the old American Packing Plant that was later called the Swift Meat Packing Plant. The Irrigation Company had a large Plank Head Cute in the Weber River that forced the water into the Plain City Irrigation Company Canal because of high waters in the spring this gate would wash out and it was necessary to make a gravel and dirt dam each year using horses, scrapers, and even large bulldozers. In recent years this became a major problem.

The government began planning the Willard Pay Project in 1960. This project would interfere to a certain extent with the existing canal used by the Irrigation Company because big Willard Bay Canal would be built in part of our existing canal and would also cross it in other areas. The leaders of this project wanted to provide a turn out from the big canal into the Plain City Irrigation Canal. The cooperation of our company was necessary to give them the right to use the areas affected by the construction of the Willard Bay Canal. The logical point of diversion would be west of the Farr West Church House. This meant that some new construction would be necessary to get the water into the old canal. It was in need of some repairs and it was at this time that the idea of a new cement lined canal was entertained.
Directors who served during this period of construction were as follows:

President Abraham law 1959-60
President Alvin J. Robinson 1961-65
Vice President Walt Christensen 1959-64
Vice President Carl Taylor 1955
Bert Hunt
Charles Heslop
Keith Blanch
Mike Panunzio
Secretary Wayne Skeen 1959-65

High lights of the minutes of the meetings curing the construction period are as follows:

August 11, 1959

Ogden City had extra water for sale this year which was allocated out to various canal companies. A motion was made by Alvin Robson that this water be purchased to see them through the current season. It would be paid by those stock holders who subscribed for the extra water.

April 4, 1960

The meeting was called to discuss the new canal. Charles Heslop was assigned to work on interest free money from the Utah Water & Power hoard for the construction. Alvin Robson was assigned to work with the Soil Conservation on the completion of the surveying of the canal, and add­tional monies.

July 12, 1960

A meeting was held to discuss a possible shortage of water for the remainder of the year. Time was changed from 200 shares per hour to 25 shares per hour.
. , .

January 9, 1961

A priority was established with the Utah Water and Power board for interest free money and application made for $100,000.00.
A survey showed that there was a 10% loss of water between the River turn out and the Point of Usage.

March 8, 1961

The Irrigation Company received a $10,000.00 cash settlement for their rights in the old canal from the O.U.R.~. Railroad Company that passes through their yards.

Alvin Robson, Carl Taylor, and Walt Christensen was to secure information regarding tiling of the canal from Victor Lund’s corner up to the Jesse Singleton property where the canal leaves the road and runs back into the fields.

April 20, 1961

A report was given by Alvin Robson regarding the tiling of the lower part of the canal. There were mixed emotions about tiling this section of the canal because of the fall and the amount of water to be delivered. “Alvin Robson commented as the discussion went on concerning the piping verses the cement lining. The stockholders are residents of this town and should have some concern towards the improvements and beautification of the community, and that an open cement lined canal to greet the people entering the town is not very inviting and once it was constructed it would never be changed in our life time.”

Keith Blanch speaking as a town board member expressed his opinion regarding the beautification and eliminating hazards in the community and felt that it was worth while and the tax payers should help with the construction of the Irrigation Company in piping this section of the canal.

Glen Charlton and Lee Olsen from the town board were present. An opinion was asked from the town board members. Mr. Charlton felt it was a worth while project as long as it was done right. Mr. Olsen commented that it was a good thing as long as it was sufficient to meet the needs of the water users.

The town board members agreed to cover the pipe that was laid with dirt. It was agreed that 2880 feet of 36 inch tile would be laid this spring from the old beet dump corner to Victor Lund’s corner.

April 27, 1961
The Town board member present: Dee Cook, Glen Chart Kent Jenkins, and Lee Oslon. Pir. Covey from Utah State Diversity was also present.

Further discussion concerning cost of construction of the concrete pipe continued. Keith Blanch made a motion that the town board and property owners should join with the Irrigation Company in the cost of the 36 inch tile to be laid. Motion seconded by Carl Taylor.

fir. Robson suggested the property owners who would benefit form the lining of the canal pay $1.25 per foot frontage towards the pipe. The Town Board said they could only participate within the city limits and they would contribute 94,000.00 over a ]0 year period. The bids were to be sent to secretary Wayne Skeen by Larch 30, 1961.

April 30, 1961

The purpose of this meeting was to open bids. Utah Concrete Pipe Company received bids for 36 inch concrete pipe at $8.75 per foot. Waterfall Construction Company was awarded the laying of the pipe at $1.55 per foot.

Abram Maw made the motion that the project not be stopped at the beet dump corner but continue up to the weir east of the water tower (where the piped portion of the canal now starts) if the property owners will contribute $1.25 per foot. Motion seconded by Keith Bland

Charles Heslop and Elvin Maw were asked to approach these property owners and get their approval to pay the 1.25, and also content all stock holders and get their signature for government participation through the Soil Conservation.

Charles and Elvin were successful in getting all of the names except Jesse Singleton who would not accept any government monies and would not pay the $1.25 per foot to tile in front of his property.

Alvin Robson contacted Howard Singleton, Jesse’s boy and he agreed to pay the $1.25 but only up to the old house that sat in the field and that is where the concrete pipe starts today. Alvin Robson tried to convince the Directors that they should at the company’s cost tile the remainder of the ditch along the road because any future expansion of the community would by hampered by open ditch reducing the width of the road. This motion was turned down.

Walter Christensen made the motion that Alvin Robson meet with the Soil Conservation to discuss details of costs and tiling and lining the canal.

April 31, 1961

Alvin East, Maurice Skeen, and Owen Wayment from~the Warren Irrigation Company met with the directors to discuss details and sign a contract for the exchange of Ogden and Weber River which would benefit both companies. The contract was signed.

Mr. Daniel Lawrence from the Utah Water & Power Board attended the melting. Keith Blanch made the motion that Alvin Robson and Wayne Skeen be given the power to enter into a contract with the Utah Water & Power Board for the total cost of $1300,000.00 and formulate all details.

May 3, 1961

Junior Taulor was appointed as Water ‘passer for the year.

May 15, 1961

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the Weber Basin Project with E.J. Feldstead and commissioner Elmer Carver. They needed additional votes to finish construction of the Willard Bay. A proposed addition would cost seventeen million dollars.

June 5, 1961

The purpose of the meeting was to see what should be done because it appeared that there would be a water shortage before the end of the year. It was proposed that we use only our run off water until the stream reached a point that we could not water properly and then start to use our storage water and put turns on a 1/3 basis.

September 27, 1961

The new project was discussed and it was recommended that the company hire an engineer and begin construction on the upper end of the new canal.

There were many problems that came out of the construction of this canal. It would be necessary to get some dirt to construct the pad for the canal. The company purchased some ground at the upper end of the canal from flax Stander. Then got the dirt that was necessary to build the upper end of the canal and then leveled the ground and gave it back to Mr. Stander. They also purchased additional dirt from Robert Penman. This dirt was trucked from his property just south of the Weber River and west of the main road. The dirt was hauled by farmers using their beet trucks, etc. The new pad was made in the old canal banks where possible, but there was some trading of land etc. to straighten out the canal. There was also a problem in getting someone to dig out the canal to the size and shape required to allow

50 second feet of water at one time. The company asked for bids, but they only received one because the equipment needed to shape the canal was not available. In order to get the project moving Alvin Robson caught a bus in Ogden and went to the Fuller Forms Company in Arizona to see if they had some type of equipment that could be used. He purchased a right to one of their slip forms that could be used in forming and pouring the concrete. He returned to Ogden and worked with the Ogden Iron Works on 23rd Street and Grant Avenue where the construction of the slip forms took place. The next problem was to begin the construction of the project. Dean Hadley of Taylor was hired to do most of the big equipment work. Local Farmers also helped with their equipment. The Soil Conservation furnished the engineering on the project. Herbert Issackson of Pleasant View was the surveyor. One of the major problems that existed and is still a yearly discussion is the amount of water delivered from the existing head gates. The government required that certain head gates must be varied in size for them to participate financially.

There was much contention and personal feelings during the construction of how it should be done. Some people left the job and never came back, but the project was finally finished. The construction created problems for some but most of the inconveniences were ratified by the Irrigation Company. New bridges were built, land was leveled, damages to property and crops were paid for during the construction. The Company paid for fencing materials with the property owners installing the fences. Cattle that used to walk across the stream would fall into the new lined canal and couldn’t get out. The Company paid for some of the cattle that were lost before the agreement to install fencing was made.

The total cost of the project was $199,754.08. The amount of $122,918.61 was borrowed from the Utah Water & Power Board. This money was interest free if a yearly payment was made by November 3Oth each year, The last payment of $8.257~06 will be paid on November 30, 1977. Other costs not being paid by the stockholders come from the Soil Conservation and the sale of pieces of the old canal and the town board. Vice President Bill Hatch of the First Security Bank was also an asset in the financing of the canal.

We borrowed monies from the First Security Bank as construction went on to pay for costs on!a daily basis. On December 31, 1974 the company owed the First Security Bank $60,000.00. Alvin Robson and Wayne Skeen met with Mr. Hatch in May regarding this bill. Mr. Hatch said that the bank needed some type of security for this loan. There was nothing to give him because our rights Lo the canal had been given to the Utah Water and Power Board’ Alvin Robson and Wayne Skeen then approached Mr. Lawrence of the Utah Water and Power Board asking them for more money for the project explaining the situation with the bank. They refused any further help. Alvin Robson explained that they might just as well take over the ownership of the canal because the bill had to be paid. There was nothing to offer as security because the Utah Water and Power Board had everything that the company owned. Later, fir. Lawrence of the Utah Water and Power Board gave the Irrigation Company an additional $30,000 which helped to delete that note at the First Security.