Water rights dilemma arises with potential housing development in New Hartford

Michaela Kendall

As the small town of New Hartford pushes to expand by ushering in a new housing development at the north edge of town, a dilemma over water rights is giving the city a run for its money.
It’s a unique scenario facing the City of New Hartford: they have a plot of land that has been annexed into city limits, and they have a developer who wants to build on it. But, things became a little more complicated when a private utilities company recently came forward to claim that they own water rights to the land that was annexed into city limits, effectively locking the city out of receiving any future revenue for water utilities.
According to New Hartford’s City Engineer Jon Biederman, the Iowa Rural Utilities Association - a private corporation that provides water to rural residents and small communities throughout central and northeast Iowa - has claimed water rights to the territory, saying they already have infrastructure in the area, which includes a water main on the north and west side of the development that serves existing homes, which the IRUA says would be adequate to serve the proposed new development.
“We had a meeting with representatives from IRUA (Iowa Rural Utilities Association) a few weeks ago and did some research into infrastructure,” Biederman said, confirming that the company has utilities in the area. 
For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 

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