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Well water levels drop

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news Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON — Just three weeks after Worthington Public Utilities announced it was lifting the ban on non-essential watering in the community, Mother Nature has essentially shut off the tap and caused the city’s well water supply to drop.

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WPU General Manager Scott Hain reported Friday that the water level in Well 26 has dropped 2 feet, 8 inches in the last two weeks, and the level is now more than a foot below the “90 percent of the 10-year average” gauge used most recently to determine when the ban on non-essential watering could be lifted.

“We have a (water and light) commission meeting on Monday and I’ll give them an update of what’s happening, but I don’t think we’re at the point yet where we are going to re-implement the ban,” Hain said Friday. “However, if things don’t change here in the near future and it continues this pattern of dryness, we won’t wait as long as we did last year to pull the trigger.”

Hain said the commission will be cautious, knowing that July is typically a dry month.

“We’re getting to the point where, historically, we’ll normally start seeing a decline in the well levels,” he explained, adding that while the water level of Well 26 is two feet higher now than it was at this same time a year ago, it’s 10 feet lower than what it was two years ago.

“The 10-year average for this point in time is 19 feet, 8 inches (the distance between ground level and the top of the water in the well),” Hain said. “We’re at 23-feet-9, so we’re a good 4 feet below the 10-year average, and that … gives us cause for concern.”

Since the ban on non-essential watering was lifted three weeks ago, Hain said he has seen more lawn irrigation being done in the community, although not an excessive amount.

“It’s not like everybody in the community decided to set a sprinkler in their yard just because they could,” he said.

It isn’t yet known if water usage has spiked since the ban was lifted, or whether the lack of rainfall is primarily to blame for the drop in water levels in the city’s wells.

“We haven’t gotten meter readings or data compiled to actually see what our water usage was this month compared to last month, or the same month a year ago,” Hain said, adding that he has not received any reports from water department staff about significantly higher water demands.“We just encourage people to continue to conserve, and I know a lot of people are,” Hain said. “Just use common sense. We’ll keep an eye on it and do what we need to do.”

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Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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