Bear Republic Brewing Co., Cloverdale strike deal to boost city's water supply

  • Hydrogeologist Mike Malone takes samples every five feet from the cuttings of a test well, Wednesday Sept. 4, 2013 in Cloverdale. The city's water woes have been partially alleviated as a new well has been in use, with two more being activated. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

The development of two new municipal wells in Cloverdale could be expedited thanks to, of all things, beer.

To help secure more water for its Cloverdale facility, Bear Republic Brewing Co. and the city have struck a tentative deal that will speed up development of the wells.

Details are still being finalized, but city officials said Bear Republic would pay in advance for the water it needs to expand beer production, enabling the city to bring more wells into production sooner.

"The public-private partnership will allow them to pay impact fees forward. Payment will be used to connect to new wells we have started exploratory drilling on this week," said City Manager Paul Cayler.

City officials expect that new wells near the Russian River not only will provide more water for Bear Republic but also for current and future customers of the city utility.

During heat spells, Cloverdale's wells have been unable to keep up with demand to serve the population of more than 8,600 people. The city has kept the water taps from running dry by relying on conservation efforts and reservoirs. But the reservoirs run the risk of being depleted during an extended heat wave. Officials also want to keep the supply intact in case of large fires.

Cloverdale's precarious water situation improved last month with a fifth municipal well that went on line and boosted city supplies by 15 percent.

Cloverdale also wants two more wells, but financing through low-interest federal loans isn't immediately available and likely would take at least a year to obtain, according to city officials. There are funds to bore the wells, but the $460,000 cost to hook both up to the water plant are not immediately available.

That's where Bear Republic can speed up the process.

The brewery would pay for a sizeable share, if not the full portion, of the connection costs of the wells to the city's water treatment plant, said City Manager Cayler.

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