Water providers urge users to conserve
Local water providers say water levels in wells serving Black Canyon City have dropped from three to 50 feet in the past few months. One provider is asking customers to reduce water consumption by 50 percent to ensure there is enough water for everyone this summer. Another provider has ceased bulk water sales.
"Our water has dropped a little bit," said Black Canyon City Water Improvement District Operations Manager Randy Hrabina. "We're pumping four million gallons of water per month now and in the summer we pump seven million."
Black Canyon City residents receive their water from two companies, Coldwater Canyon Water Company, a privately owned, commercial company, and Black Canyon City Water Improvement District (BCCWID), a public utility. Coldwater Canyon essentially serves residents east of the freeway while BCCWID serves the west side.
At a Feb. 25 public meeting of the water district board of directors, Hrabina said the water levels in district wells have dropped about three feet in the past month. The water levels in the Coldwater Canyon Water Company wells, which are on much higher ground, he said, have dropped about 50 feet.
Hrabina said that Coldwater Canyon's wells are approximately 125 feet deep; the BCCWID wells are about 70 feet deep but are on lower ground.
Coldwater Canyon Water Company owner Roger Wagner declined an interview with Canyon Country News. However, in a March 1 letter to water company customers, Wagner said the company's water storage/well production had been below 80 percent capacity the past 48 hours.
In that letter Wagner said he "identified issues such as a steadily declining water table, and increased draw-down threatening pump operations, or poor water production creating a reasonable belief the company will be unable to meet anticipated water demands in the system."
Wagner asked his customers to voluntarily conserve water and to reduce water consumption by 50 percent.
"This is the first time in 40 years that we've had to do this," Wagner wrote. "If everyone does his or her part we will be able to make it through the summer with everyone having sufficient water."
"People need to realize we are in a drought, and everyone needs to conserve water," Hrabina said. "Our wells, Big John and Smith, are down about three feet, but we still need to conserve. I can't stress that enough. We currently pump 7,000 gallons per hour, but come this summer we'll be pumping 13,000-plus gallons per hour."
"Our pumps are not high like Coldwater Canyon's; our pumps are low. Our water doesn't flow down to the needs of people; rather, we have to pump the water up to the people," BCCWID Chair Pam Massat said. "Even though we don't have a big population burst here, we have enough people that we want to provide good quality water at a good pressure. Pressure is the key."
Hrabina said that bulk sales to fill water trucks, which quickly tank up 4,000 gallons, creates a high demand on the water system. He said BCCWID ended those bulk sales Feb. 24.
"For how long, is a board decision," he said. "We want to be able to provide water to all residents."