We Use How Much Water Each Day!!


Yard Sprinkler

Yard Sprinkler

The City of Lamar is in Stage 2 Water Restrictions as of May 14 because of drought conditions in the city and throughout the southeast corner of the state.  Residents to the east and west of Highway 287 have three separate days a week in which to water their yards in two time periods.  Midnight to 6am and 6pm to Midnight.  Lamar resident Everett Smith approached the council during the audience participation segment of the meeting, Tuesday, May 28, asking that the hours be changed to accommodate the residents.  “It’s still dark in the morning as I’m struggling with lawn hoses before 6am and it’s the same problem at night.  Can the council make a change and have the times run from 4am to 10am or 4pm to 10pm to make it easier for us,” he asked.  Councilman Oscar Riley noted that he too, had received several phone calls from residents in his district asking the same question.  The council may take the suggestion under advisement, but took no action on the request during the meeting. 

Josh Cichocki, City Water/Wastewater Director offered some water use statistics to the council and to the audience.  “40% of our water used in the summer goes to irrigation,” he said, “of that water, 65% is lost to evaporation.”  Chichocki added that those figures amount to a loss of 1.1 million gallons of water into the atmosphere each day!  He explained that a lot of water is being saved by restricting usage to the cooler parts of each day, in the early morning and later in the evening hours.  He said it hasn’t been long enough to provide concrete figures, but the savings have already been considerable. 

The water director said the Honeywell improvement project on the city’s water system has also helped with water flow capacity.  Cichocki said when the increase in demand hit several weeks ago, the city would have had to delay the well rehabilitation project if the Stage 2 restrictions had not been enacted.  He said the city will see the benefits on a long range basis.  Cichocki said there have only been about 26 special use permits requested which allow residents to water outside the restricted days and hours.  Each request has to undergo a simple interview process explaining their request.   

There will be some evaporative loss when the city’s water is transferred from holding reservoirs.  To help reduce the loss, the water is usually piggy-backed with other transfers instead of a single transfer.  Cichocki said the city recently received water from the Fort Bent Canal, and is recharging the wells at about 40 cfs, or cubic feet per second.  In a couple of days, he said, we should start to see the impact on the wells, and the project water is still on hold for its delivery date. 

He said the high demand usage for the past five years averaged about 96.5 million gallons a month, which equates to 2,222 gallons per minute, round the clock, or 3 million gallons per day.  The city tries not to run the well field pumps during peak demand to reduce the electric costs.  He said the Honeywell project will automate the delivery sequence so water is delivered during reduced cost periods of the day.  Other examples of usage show that in 2008, on a monthly basis, the city used 61 million gallons.  Last year the average was 58.1 million gallons per month, per year.  This year, the average is 57 million, so there has been some reduction in usage throughout the city.  Winter demand is averaging 31 million gallons per month, per year.  The city has 6 water restriction levels it can enact, depending on the status of the community water supply.  Residents who irrigate from privately owned wells are exempt from the restrictions.  Lamar Code Enforcement Officers have been issuing preliminary warnings to residents who fail to observe the restrictions.

By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyEnvironmentFeaturedLamarProwers CountyRecreationUtilities


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