Secondary Water Sources Explored, Temporary Pipeline Authorized
The City of Decatur is moving to solve its water issues as quickly as possible.
The city council heard suggestions on secondary water sources at Monday’s meeting, with the likely choice being 4 emergency vertical wells drilled into ground water sources not tapped by Lake Decatur. A temporary pipeline has also been approved to tap the City's raw water pump station.
Water Resource Management facilitator Jeff Henson of consulting group Black & Veatch says it’s the most cost effective way.
"This is just a unique situation," says Henson. "We met the goals of our study initially, but what I wanted to do was present another way of thinking about using this information to get water as quickly as possible into the City of Decatur."
The wells would cost $1.6 million total, with the potential for more wells at Lake Tokorozawa adding another $1.4 million. However, city officials remain in private negotiations with the owners of Lake Toko. The influx could add 6 million gallons per day for up to 50 years each.
The rains of last week are proving to have a positive yet very temporary effect on Lake Decatur. City Manager Ryan McCrady says the city received about 1.25 inches of precipitation on Thursday, which provided 5 days of lake level stability. He says corporations like ADM and Tate & Lyle have really worked hard to limit their water use in working with his office, despite public sentiment.
"We started working on this drought last fall but we've never stopped," says McCrady. "Our big industrial customers have committed a tremendous number of resources to limit the water they draw out of the lake. They have no interest in drying out the lake any faster than we do, so they have definitely been a partner in the effort."
McCrady says the water restrictions are definitely helping, as we have cut our usage from 40 million gallons a day to 34 million, or a 14.5% cut.
However, the situation is still dire. City Water Management Director Keith Alexander says the drought is still 3 months ahead of schedule, with water levels still dropping about three-tenths of an inch per day.