We take it for granted water will be there when we turn on the tap. But the truth is, quality drinking water is a valuable and vulnerable resource. Recent drought disaster declarations in the western U.S. should serve as a reminder that water is also a finite resource – one that needs to be carefully monitored and managed.
1. Know where your water comes from.
Identify your water source. Is it ground water or surface water from a river, stream or lake? How much water is available? Is it sustainable? Knowing the answers will help you make informed decisions about your water supply.
For example, rivers and streams are generally more susceptible to drought because they rely on precipitation and springs for flow. So, if your source is a river or stream, you’ll need to plan for that.
2. Monitor and manage your water source.
Study the historical trending data, again, to help with decision-making. Monitor and record your aquifer levels to see how much water is used, for what and when, and how levels are affected by usage. While state regulatory bodies typically have monitoring wells in areas of high aquifer usage, data may not be available for all aquifers.
Moore Engineering’s water and wastewater team can help your city access the data if it’s available, do the monitoring for you, or get you started doing your own monitoring and analysis.
3. Be aware of drought conditions and water shortages.
Water demand is often doubled or tripled during drought or dry conditions, with the biggest usage usually from lawn watering. This can put stress on wells and treatment plants, as well as the source supply of water. Be informed and prepared to deal with potential issues.
4. Have a plan in place if you need to restrict water.
Water conservation should be encouraged year round, and especially during drought conditions or when there are problems like large water main breaks, failing pumps or treatment plant issues. A phased approach is most effective, implemented as appropriate:
- One: restrict yard watering on odd/even days in phase one.
- Two: impose further restrictions or bans.
- Three: ban any unnecessary uses other than drinking.
How much do you know about your water supply? Do you have a plan in place if there’s trouble?
Talk to our team to see how to safeguard your community water supply. Plus, here are some useful links: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/water/swp/whp/
Kent Ritterman is Moore Engineering’s environmental engineering manager, based out of the West Fargo office.