SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KCAU) — Sioux Center has been in a “water watch” since last June, and after a dry fall and winter, city officials are concerned about their water supply as summer approaches.
“Our shallow aquifer is about a foot lower than it was last year and it’s probably three to four feet lower than average so we went into last summer below average and we’re even worse this year,” said Sioux Center utilities manager Murray Holstein.
Holstein said the drought in northwest Iowa has forced Sioux Center into a nearly year-long phase of voluntary conservation by residents when watering their lawns.
This spring, the city council changed a 30-year-old ordinance to include a “water warning” phase that will limit lawn irrigation to once a week during the evening or early morning hours, but Holstein said luckily for the city’s residents, a much-needed water source of higher quality and higher quantity is on its way.
“It could take a number of years for that aquifer to change. One great thing we have coming, if we can make it through this year, we’ll be hooked up — we should be hooked up to Lewis and Clark,” said Holstein.
Holstein says that despite a few snowflakes falling over Easter weekend, it will take substantial moisture to re-charge the aquifer along the Floyd River.
The city’s water department supervisor Harlan Kruid said the towers and reservoirs replenish itself by pumping in water throughout the morning as most of the supply is used overnight, and Holstein talked about just how low the levels would have to get to put Sioux Center into a water warning.
“If it starts getting into the afternoon and stuff like that, we get pretty nervous because you can’t let those reservoirs go down too far. You have to keep those at a certain level to be able to continue to serve the community,” said Holstein.
Kruid said depending on contractors’ availability, Sioux Center could be receiving water from the Lewis and Clark system as soon as this November.