The City of Sheldon remains under a ‘Water Watch’ which means that residents are requested to voluntarily restrict water usage for non-essential purposes. Public Works Director, Todd Uhl told the City Council Wednesday that the pumping rate has increased a little, but the water levels in the wells has not risen. He pointed out that Sheldon is still considered to be in an ‘extreme drought’ area and there are reports that shallow wells in the area are at historically low levels. Since the water watch was declared about two weeks ago usage of city water has remained at about the same level. One council member asked if the City swimming pool would be filled this year. Uhl’s answer was ‘yes’, because it is not included in the ordinance as part of the water watch. However, filling private pools and ponds is not allowed.
Uhl also took the opportunity to express his thanks to the powerline students at NCC for their help in removing tree branches in some areas of the city. Later we asked Uhl what will be done with all the trees in the expanded tree dump. Recently a company with a chipper had processed the trees in the dump and sold the chips to ethanol plants who burned them in place of natural gas as a fuel for ethanol production. But, now the price of natural gas has gone down and plants are not buying the chipped wood. The chipper company will still process the wood at the tree dump, but only if they receive payment for doing so. The other option is to burn the accumulation of trees and branches.
And one more item about water. Council member Ron Rensink brought up the problem with the Lewis and Clark Water Project. The City of Sheldon has contributed two million dollars to the project, but it is stalled because the federal government has tightened its budget and is not releasing the funds which congress had approved. All three states involved, as well as communities such as Sheldon have contributed their share. At this time only Sioux Falls, and a few smaller communities are getting Lewis and Clark water. Rensink proposed a meeting with the other impacted communities to see how they could address the problem.