“I believe it's going to be a major impact and a major help to our community,” said Reedley Mayor Robert Beck.
The only thing missing in the water tower is water. Testing done at one point showed building a well could produce 1,500 gallons of water per minute. But when a drilling company got down 700 feet, there was only a tenth of that amount. Steve Arthur of Arthur & Orman Water Drilling says he warned the city that could happen.
“During the whole construction of the well, not once was any problem ever brought up, ‘till they did not get the water they wanted. Then they started nitpicking every little thing about it,” said Arthur.
He says he was never paid for the work done. The two sides mutually parted. Now the city is starting over with another driller and appears to be optimistic.
“It's like any project. We've had some bumps but we've overcome those,” said Beck.
Construction a new well could be done by February, making the tower operational. But if water isn't found, and the tower doesn't go online, Reedley will miss a deadline for the project grant and could owe back about $3 million of federal money. It's an option the city engineer isn't considering.
“I don't foresee drilling a new well here not working because I'm positive that it's going to work,” said Noe Martinez, City Engineer.
“Plans B” and “C” are even more expensive than the estimated $1 million well project. Meanwhile, a 1.5 million gallon tank sits empty.