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Fri, Oct. 18

Two wells down, but water district takes it in stride<BR>Improvements help production meet demand in drought year

A year ago, the combination of drought and Prescott Valley's under-equipped water system would have turned the loss of two wells to mechanical failure into a crisis. This year, the PV Water District is taking just such a situation in stride.

Last year, the town put its new 3,000 gallons-per-minute Fat Chance well on line. About three weeks ago, water district personnel noticed it wasn't pumping like it should, said Public Works Director Larry Tarkowski.

Since the other two wells in the same field, Elephant Eye, 1/8 of a mile away, and Santa Fe, a quarter mile away, are producing normally, officials looked at mechanical failure. The two wells are pumping three and a half million s gallons of water per day, Tarkowski said.

The town contracted with Gilbert Pump Company, which was scheduled to begin pulling the original pump and replacing it Tuesday. The repairs should take a week, Tarkowski said.

"If there is a manufacturer's defect in the pump, it'll be under warranty," he said. "If it's debris, it may have caused us to lose the pump's impeller."

The other well that is down is a small, 250-gpm well in central Prescott Valley.

"It's motor and pump are not working. It's not a major producer, nevertheless, we would have taken the 250-gpm it produced," Tarkowski said.

With current dry conditions and the increased demand of water, even one well down a year ago would have required some severe restrictions on water use in Prescott Valley, he said. The first would have been to ask schools and parks officials to curtail watering of turf, and citizens to restrict outdoor watering. But the addition of a three and a half million gallon storage tank and tying in the Viewpoint Water System for backup has given the town a breather.

"We still don't have as much backup as we'd like," Tarkowski said. "We have two more storage tanks under construction - a two million gallon tank near Yavapai Hills and a one million gallon tank in the lower system at the Prescott Country Club."

Additionally, the town recently put on line the Howington Well, which it dug last winter near the Bradshaw Mountain High School.

The increasing health of the production system is evident in the fact that customers are using a half million more gallons of water per day this year than last, due to dry conditions and an increase in population, yet the district has handled the increase.

"Because of the improvements, our system, even in drought, continues to provide the water we need," Tarkowski said. He added that some cities and towns in Arizona are having difficulty keeping up with production demand because of the heat and drought.

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