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Jamestown, Stutsman County water departments prepared for drought

The city of Jamestown Water Department and Stutsman County Rural Water both anticipate adequate supplies of water even if the summer continues to be dry.

water usage sprinkler
Officials do not anticipate any limitations on water usage this summer allowing homeowners to water their lawns as shown in this June 2020, photo. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The Jamestown Water Department is not concerned about possible shortages in the municipal water supply, according to Joe Rowell, water superintendent.

"We are prepared and we do have the capacity," he said. "Our aquifer is doing well."

The Jamestown Water Department is currently producing about 3 million gallons of water per day.

"That is about one-third of our capacity," Rowell said. "During a normal summer, we see use of about 4.4 million to 5 million gallons (per day) and that includes about 1 million gallons for industrial use."

The water usage goes up during the summer when people water lawns and gardens.

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Jamestown draws water from the Jamestown Aquifer using a group of wells. Those wells were replaced in 2006.

"We went to an odd and evens system before the wells were replaced," Rowell said. "We have no restrictions at the moment and don't plan any."

Rowell said the aquifer is currently at the same level it was in 2006 when the wells were drilled. Those wells have a capacity of delivering 7,200 gallons per minute to the city's water treatment plant for distribution through the water system. The well capacity amounts to 432,000 gallons per hour or 10.4 million gallons of water per day.

"We'll be monitoring it if we do maintain a dry spell," he said. "It has been a good producer even in the dry years."

Stutsman Rural Water District also usually sees water use increase in the summer.

"Our peak is in June during crops spraying and again in the fall when farmers are spraying before harvest," said Geneva Kaiser, manager of the district. "We have more agricultural use than home use and garden watering."

Stutsman Rural Water is currently producing about half a million gallons per day and anticipates that to increase to about three-quarters of a million gallons per day during the summer. Rural Water also produces about 375,000 gallons of water per day for industrial use.

"We've already seen usage go up but we anticipated that," Kaiser said. "We've got the capacity and the permits to meet those needs."

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While the water suppliers are anticipating an adequate supply of water in the aquifers, there is another factor that comes into play for the water supply.

"We don't foresee any problems," Rowell said, "but if you have a couple of wells go down, you never know."

The last time the city of Jamestown implemented water usage restrictions was in 2006 with the shortage caused by the failure of some of the wells in the city's system.

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