DECATUR — City officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the recent dry weather will abate soon, but they continue to monitor Lake Decatur levels closely.
The Decatur City Council was given a brief update of the city’s water supply status at its Monday meeting. City Manager Ryan McCrady said the South Water Treatment Plant has received about half an inch of rain in the past 50 days.
The lake’s water level was 613.07 feet above sea level as of Monday morning. Normal summer water level is 614 to 614.5 feet above sea level. Normal winter water level is 612 to 613 feet above sea level.
“The good news is, hopefully, we’re moving into a cooler time of the year, which will help with (precipitation),” McCrady told the council. “If we don’t get any rain by Oct. 1, we would probably be at a point where we would call for voluntary conservation methods.”
However, he said the city’s supplemental water supplies have recharged since last year’s devastating drought, which forced the city into the most severe water restrictions in its history. That situation caused city officials to pursue a variety of options for more water, including dredging and supplemental wells, with work on those projects either under way or expected to begin soon.
“The longer-term forecasts still show above average precipitation, but a forecast is a forecast,” McCrady said. “Unless something actually falls from the sky, it doesn’t do you any good. So we’re watching it very carefully. It’s a much better scenario than we had last year when the lake started to decline about June 1.”
In other business, the council approved a $115,000 contract with Chastain & Associates LLC to complete a final design to replace three bridges that carry Mound Road over Spring Creek.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration would review the design, with work expected to begin in summer 2015.