Underground Water Development System
On March 2 1987 John Ford (local resident) was appointed by the hamlet of Gray to develop a well as a back-up system to the existing water supply (two dugouts). At that time, there was a concern that the dugouts would run out of water within the next calendar year.
By April 27 there had been several test drills;
Working with the Weyburn PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) tenders were requested and opened November 3 at the Motherwell Building in Regina. Thirteen tenders were submitted - the highest bid was $423,872 and the lowest was $136,000. The lowest tender, Double K. Excavating Ltd. (Tuxford SK) was accepted. Pete Koch and his son Emerson would be the contractors. The scope of work included a trench eight feet deep with 3” buried plastic pipe. Backhoeing began November 13 and after working for two weeks the contractors knew they had to hire a trencher (from Midale SK) to complete the project before freeze-up. The trencher moved the project along and completed the task by December 1.
There was an additional 525’ of 1” hose run from the hamlet well to the Hadwiger farm well. The was done as a back-up – just in case hamlet use of the aquifer water had an affect on the Hadwiger well water levels. If the water level dropped due to hamlet usage, the Hadwiger farm could be connected easily to our system.
David Moats (Gray SK) was contracted to build and deliver the pumphouse for the well. This was an 8’ X 8’ X12’ insulated structure made with 2"X6" treated lumber.
The pumphouse was wired (Frank Leier, Francis SK) on December 4 and on the 9th the plumber (Weyburn SK) installed a 1½ horsepower submersible 1½” well-pump, a 1½“ water-meter and a 150 gallon pressure tank in the well house. Two days later the contractors rented a power plant and tested the line. The water reached Gray at 6:10am December 12 - the nine miles of 3” pipe took fifteen and a half hours to fill and contained sixteen thousand gallons of water.
Saskatchewan Power Corporation laid 225’ of underground cable from the power line to the well on December 17 and installed the meter the next day.
On December 21, Gray Hamlet Chair Bill Gillis, Dale Evert of Weyburn PFRA and John Ford met at the well for the official turnover. The pump was turned on, some operating instructions provided and best wishes exchanged.
The Saskatchewan Water Corporation suggested twice-weekly monitoring of the water level and monthly reports being submitted. John Ford volunteered to act as monitor until the Sask Water Corporation was satisfied the water level was stable. Each water user in the hamlet is charged $10.00/mo minimum, or $.006/gallon.
The hamlet received a 50% Federal and Provincial grant for the water project.
This write-up was condensed from a scrapbook created by John and Elsie Ford. It is available for viewing at the Gray Museum (in Gray Rink). Thank-you references included; landowners that generously allowed the water line to cross their land, Greg Kelly for obtaining the easements, John Burwell for acting as project photographer. John (and Elsie) were recognized for their contributions with a plaque.