Members of the Manifest-Rhinehart Water System voted to merge with the Nebo Water System last Thursday night, February 1, at a special meeting held at Oak Grove Baptist Church.
Although an emergency interconnect was approved and completed late last spring after Manifest’s main well and back-up well collapsed leaving the system without water, the systems did not officially merge as that takes a vote from members of both Manifest and Nebo.
Last Thursday, the first step in that process occurred with Manifest-Rhinehart members approving the merger.
Work has been ongoing for months to receive $10-million in grant money that will drill two new wells in the Manifest area, upgrade booster stations, install brand new, state-of-the-art meters, redo creek crossings and more; but all of that hinges on the two systems officially voting to merge.
Manifest has approximately 450 customers and Nebo has approximately 350 customers. The merger would form one of the largest rural water systems in the parish at 800 customers.
“There is a grant process in getting the money but because of this emergency situation, it basically moved Manifest to the front of the line,” Senator Glen Womack said last May. A merger would all but secure the funding and allow the work to continue.
Since the emergency interconnect last spring, customers of the Manifest-Rhinehart system, which includes customers in LaSalle and Catahoula parishes, have been supplied water from Nebo after Womack negotiated the interconnect upon the approval of the Nebo Water System Board.
Nebo had received a $3-million loan a few years ago for their new water well and upgrades. All of that work has been completed and was one reason they were in the position to help the Manifest system when the emergency occurred.
Members of the Nebo Water System will meet Tuesday, February 13, to cast their votes on the merger. If the majority of its members vote to merge, another meeting will be held immediately afterwards to discuss the make-up of the new water system board.
Another meeting will then be set for some time in March to officially vote on a new board of directors for the newly merged water system.