The ongoing drought is a topic of concern for the city of Sheldon. At the latest city council meeting, council members and city staff discussed how much of a problem exists, and what potential exists.
We had a chance to talk with public works director Todd Uhl. He says it’s not a big deal yet, but it could be, in the not-too-distant future.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Uhl1.mp3|titles=Uhl1]
Uhl says that the reason some communities have more immediate problems in drought conditions has to do with how deep their wells are. Sheldon has two kinds of wells.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Uhl2.mp3|titles=Uhl2]
Of course the problem with using water from that well is that it’s not as good. It’s harder water, for one thing, says Uhl.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Uhl3.mp3|titles=Uhl3]
He says it also has more dissolved minerals in it, plus sulfates and ammonia that need to be taken out of the water through filtering and chlorine. That’s why they don’t use the deep well unless they really need it, says Uhl.
He says a recent TV story talked about the possibility that people would have to conserve water if the fire department went out on a call. Uhl says so far, that’s not the case.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Uhl4.mp3|titles=Uhl4]
If water supply becomes a long-term issue, Uhl says they do have some ideas.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Uhl5.mp3|titles=Uhl5]
Speaking of Lewis and Clark — the regional water system that is supposed to deliver Missouri River Aquifer water to several towns in the tri-state area — we also talked with Sheldon City Administrator Scott Wynja about that system. Wynja says it is a sure thing, we know it’s coming — the question is the timeframe.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Wynja1.mp3|titles=Wynja1]
He says it’s kind of hard to give a timeline now, with the earmark ban in place.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Wynja2.mp3|titles=Wynja2]
Wynja says the earmark ban was set up as a two-year ban, so he hopes they can get Congress to see that funding for Lewis and Clark is not an earmark for a pet project. He says there’s more good news on the horizon too.[audio:http://www.kiwaradio.com/files/Wynja3.mp3|titles=Wynja23]
Since we had June weather in March the water usage in Sheldon has increased by as much as 100,000 gallons per day compared to a normal March, according to Uhl. This means that Sheldon is pumping water from their deep well about four hours a day at this point.