New Water Tank Filling Up, Monsoons Cut Demand

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The town's water tanks are full and there's currently no problem, said Mike Ploughe, the town's hydrogeologist.

"There was one week when the tanks were at a level 2, going into the July 4 weekend," Ploughe said. "But since the monsoons started, they've been filling up every night."

He said town staff has started to fill the new 1 1/2-million gallon tank off McLane Road, adding a number of feet every day, and after sampling the water in the tank, the reservoir should be operational within the next week.

Twenty-seven of the town's 33 wells are running, providing for a diminishing demand. Ploughe said the data is not yet in on the current demand, but it's evident that the recent rains have pretty much eliminated the need for outdoor watering.

It's the possibility of a long-term drought that has town officials concerned and looking into other sources of water.

Much of the run-off seen with the monsoons belongs to the Salt River Project, but Ploughe said an argument could be made for the town taking a share of that run-off.

"There's certainly room for storm water retention basins so we don't have so much run-off," he said. "Then you have a chance for the water to percolate in. It would be nice to have some storm water retention, but we can only do so much -- the run-off basically is not ours."

But, because the run-off increases with added pavement and more roofs, Ploughe said he believes the town could argue for a share of the storm water.

"Some of that could be put in retention basins," he said. "The town engineer deals with those issues when we have new projects. For old projects, there's not a lot we can do."

As far as the search for water in the national forest, Ploughe said there has not yet been a response to the town's application for exploratory drilling just north of town.

"We expect to hear from them soon on that," he said.

"We're doing very good, all things considered, with how dry it's been. With a short-term dry spell, we should be OK.

"A long-term dry spell is hard on everybody."

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