Steamboat Springs The City Council does not want more water vendors in town, fearing they could set a dangerous precedent.
The decision came during an almost three-hour discussion on water issues at Tuesday night's council meeting.
The council agreed to put a hold on allowing new water vendors within the city limits, and Councilman Ken Brenner talked about phasing out existing ones.
The council voted to put a moratorium on allowing new water vendors to open until a policy is in place.
Poor land-use planning is encouraged when county residents do not supply sufficient water on their land but can purchase it within the city, using water taken from the city's supply, Brenner said.
"What we are doing here enables construction in places that goes against the intent of the fundamental issue in trying to encourage growth in incorporated boundaries," Brenner said. "While not a big issue today, it could become bigger and bigger over time."
Other council members worried that limiting water vendors could have a severe impact on county residents who depend on the city's water sources in times of drought when wells dry up.
"They might not be in the city, but they are members of the community. There are a lot of pickup trucks with water tanks on the back," Council President Paul Strong said. "I don't know if the right thing to do is to cut them off."
Just two water suppliers are in town, City Manager Paul Hughes said. Raindrop Water sold 5.8 million gallons of water in 2002 and 3.6 million gallons of water in 2003. The second vendor, which opened early last year, sold 128,000 gallons of water. By comparison, the city uses almost 180 million gallons in its busiest month.
"We need a period of time to phase (the use of water vendors) out," Brenner said. "We can't say no tomorrow. We need to give them time to find alternative sources."
The council also talked about working with the county to make developments prove that they have sufficient resources to meet the new development's demand and that the water cannot come from the city.
The Mount Werner Water District has proposed a policy for retail water sales, but Brenner feared it did not go far enough.
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