Council members approved new water well drilling guidelines this week as they considered a request by Newport Beach to build four wells in the city.
Under the new policy, the council would strike an agreement with Newport Beach, then ask the city public works director to make sure that the drilling project would not hurt the local water supply.
Council members voiced concerns that drilling could deplete the local water supply and force the city to buy more expensive water from other areas.
“We are proceeding cautiously, making sure Fountain Valley’s water supply is protected,” Mayor Guy Carrozzo said.
William R. Mills, general manager of the Orange County Water District, told the council that the proposal to develop the wells won’t hurt the water supply.
In case the additional wells did affect Fountain Valley’s well water supply, Mills said the county water district would be prepared to help. For instance, he said the district would pay the difference between the city’s cost to buy imported water and its cost to pump water.
Newport Beach City Manager Kevin J. Murphy, who attended the meeting, said he’s confident his city will receive Fountain Valley’s approval for its $18-million well project.
Newport Beach buys all of its water and has no wells. Murphy said the wells are needed to lower the city’s cost for water, lessen its dependence on imported water and improve the taste and odor of water.