TALENT — The City Council approved a $200,000 contract Wednesday to acquire a reservoir site that will improve the town's water delivery system and accommodate future growth.

TALENT — The City Council approved a $200,000 contract Wednesday to acquire a reservoir site that will improve the town's water delivery system and accommodate future growth.

Theron Argraves will sell the city 1.47 acres of his land west of Helms Road and an easement to the site. The city has $277,000 in its capital improvement fund, enough to cover the expense.

"It's a good choice to get the land set aside when we have the water tank site up there," said City Manager Jay Henry. "As we grow we are going to need the storage and capacity."

Reservoir construction would probably occur within the next five to 10 years, City Engineer Joe Strahl estimated. Computer modeling of the city's water system performed five years ago showed tanks located on Wagner Creek were not well placed in the system.

"The Wagner Creek tanks were not being very well utilized in terms of the system needs. They weren't really contributing to the system in terms of providing better pressures and flows," said Strahl. "(The study) indicated the city would be better off with additional replacement tanks in the approximate location the city purchased."

Capacity of Wagner Creek's functioning tank is a half-million gallons. A second tank is not sound enough to operate. Projected capacity at the new location would be 1.5 million gallons. Two tanks constructed in 2001 off Belmont Road have a combined capacity of 2.5 million gallons.

Tanks were put in at the Wagner Creek site when the city operated a water treatment plant there. Talent connected to the Medford water system in 2002. After a new reservoir is constructed, the city could sell the Wagner Creek property.

"The tank on Wagner Creek is sort of reaching the end of its expected life anyway," said Strahl, who is producing a new computer model to evaluate the system.

"The new model will take into account all the major waterline work that has been done over the last five years and the new demand that has been added by roads and growth," said Strahl. "This will give us an indication of how quickly we need to move."

City officials upgraded major water lines while road work was done on Highway 99, Rapp Road, Talent Avenue and other streets over the last five years.

"Coming up with the funding was a bit of a challenge at times, but we were able to do it," said Strahl.

Brown and Caldwell Engineering found the new site suitable for reservoir construction. Under the contract terms, the city will replace part of a dirt road on Theron's property, plant trees around the reservoir fence on sides most visible to the public, and allow him to connect up to three houses to the water system if well drilling fails.

In other business, the council:

Unanimously appointed Teresa Cooke to the council seat vacated by Wendy Siporen. The term ends Dec. 31. Cooke, chairwoman of the Planning Commission, resigned from that position. Approved new standards that will govern future annexation of residential land into the city.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.