Around 150 people indicated their interest in joining the Southwest Rural Water District, and locations of these potential water users are now being platted on district maps.
Interest in expanding the water district, which has been serving portions of Barry and McDonald counties since 1998, was explored through the use of advertising in local newspapers.
Ads indicating the district's possible plans for expansion were published for two weeks. These advertisements included a map of current boundaries as well as areas where water service could be expanded. Readers were also provided with a form to fill out and mail in if they were interested in becoming part of the Southwest Rural Water system.
Of the approximately 150 responses received, a large number of potential water customers were located north of the area currently served by the district.
"The most concentrated area of response we received was north of 76 from Ridgley east to Highway 37, although scattered responses were received throughout the existing district and proposed expansion area," said Raelene McCurdy, district manager. "Areas with the greatest density of users will be the most likely to be included in a future project."
The Southwest Rural Water District Board of Directors will now review tabulated responses at a July 12 meeting. In assessing the information, board members will determine whether or not to pursue a construction project in the near future to expand the existing water system.
District board members include Marvin Henningson, Marty Hall, Steve Knight, Donnie Treadwell and Jeff Barber.
Last month, district officials announced that they had received a $100,000 loan through the National Rural Water Association as a member of the Missouri Rural Water Association.
The loan money provided the district with funding to conduct a feasibility study on expansion of the water district. A recent pump test and hydraulic studies showed that the district had adequate water supply to support the addition of new users on existing lines and to construct new water lines in unserved areas.
If the district were to add 150 new users, it would be increasing its customer base by just over 26 percent. Currently, the district provides water to over 550 users in a 150-square-mile area in southwest Barry County and southeast McDonald County. Last year, 35 new users were connected to the system.
According to information provided by the district, new users would be charged a minimum of $850, which would cover the cost to set a new water meter. Water users would also be required to provide easements so that water lines could be installed on private property.
"We expected there would be a lot more interest, but we are still getting in some more responses," said Charli Jo Lederwood, who is serving as part-time project consultant. "I will probably be writing a letter to those people who have called and been very enthusiastic about the proposed expansion project. I'd like to get them to talk it up with their neighbors and see what the response is."
For more information about the water district and the proposed expansion plan, area residents can call 417-342-4578.