On the rise: Watering ban still on despite much-improved well levels
WORTHINGTON — It may not be the greatest weekly gain on record, but the water level in Worthington’s Well 26 — the well that serves as a gauge for the city’s water supply — has increased by 10 feet, 6 inches over past seven days.
Measurements taken at Worthington’s well field Friday morning showed significant gains in all of the city’s seven wells, ranging from 6 feet, 2 inches to 13 feet, 1 inch, according to Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain.
Despite the major increase to Well 26’s water level, the level is still 4 inches short of the 16-year-average — the baseline being used to determine if the city’s watering ban can be lifted.
With the latest reading at 21 feet, 9 inches, Hain said Worthington’s ban on non-essential water use will remain in effect.
“It’s wonderful that we saw the gain we did,” Hain said Friday morning. “The fact that we are still four inches below normal really illustrates how bad off we were.
“With Okabena, Ocheda and Bella all still moving, this is really what we needed to get out of this,” Hain said, while cautioning that the area still needs to have normal precipitation moving forward.
“We’re four inches below — that’s just the average,” Hain emphasized. “There are a lot of years where we have spent the whole year above average.”
Hain said he is optimistic Worthington’s wells will continue to see rising water next week, and possibly the next few weeks.
“This certainly appears that the crisis has been averted,” he added. “It’s great to see it where it’s at, but we still need it to trend up — to get above average and return to some normal precipitation pattern going forward.”
The last time Hain has seen the well water levels rise this fast was in 2001, following an “incredibly dry year” in 2000.
“In the spring of 2001, we saw an increase in Well 26 of 13 feet, 4 inches in a week, and then it just continued on. It came up another five inches the week after that, and another five inches the week after that. It got us out of a real pinch at that time,” Hain said.
On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor released its latest map showing that the entire state of Minnesota was no longer in an abnormally dry or drought situation.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer
may be reached at 376-7330.