When David Gardner started his career at Draper Irrigation Company in 1977, he was the company’s second full-time employee. There were approximately 750 water connections. Customers paid their bills at the Mickelson Hardware Store on Fort Street, and informal “office hours” for customers were held in a local coffee shop.
Now the company has more than ten times as many employees and over 8,000 water connections. Like the community of Draper itself, WaterPro/Draper Irrigation has grown and changed almost beyond recognition. And Dave has been an integral part of that growth.
Canals to state-of-the-art systems
Dave literally started “in the trenches,” installing and repairing water mains and other infrastructure. For years even after he moved into the office, crew members would turn to him for his encyclopedic knowledge of just about every valve and meter in the system.
In the early days, Dave served as watermaster for the canal system, assigning and overseeing irrigation turns. He was glad to be part of the transition to the Pressure Irrigation system in 1995, which simplified irrigation for everyone.
Dave oversaw the upgrade to the water treatment plant in 2004, which replaced the system installed in 1971 with a state-of-the-art microfiltration system. He was also instrumental in installing the hydroelectric turbine that generates power for the treatment plant, an idea that was first suggested at the Company around 1917!
One of his most visible projects was building two four-million-gallon tanks in Corner Canyon. In addition, he has worked on most of the company infrastructure, including wells, intake structures, water mains, pump stations, and other items too numerous to list.
Deep roots in Draper
Although Dave has never lived in Draper, he has been active in the city for years. He served as a volunteer EMT for the community for 15 years. He was also active in campaigning for the city to incorporate in 1978.
Serving the water community
Dave has worked extensively with other organizations and the State legislature on water rights and other issues.
One notable achievement was helping to create and pass a bill that gave private not-for-profit water providers such as WaterPro similar standing with municipal water providers.
He has represented DIC/WaterPro on numerous boards. He recently concluded a term as the President of the Rural Water Association of Utah.
Planning for the future
Although Dave is retiring from his full-time position as Assistant General Manager at the end of 2021, he will continue as a consultant to finish his work on the project to reuse treated effluent water in the pressure irrigation system. This complicated project, involving many entities, has been ongoing for 12 years.
Dave has enjoyed his many years with DIC/WaterPro and wishes to thank Darrin Jensen-Peterson and many others too numerous to mention for their support over the years.