DECATUR — The city’s options for dealing with its declining water supply could include a 9,000-foot plastic pipeline between its raw water pump station and other water sources.
The plan came to light when city officials sought a temporary easement from the Decatur Park District’s board of commissioners at the board’s regular meeting Wednesday. The 18-inch pipe could transport 10 million to 12 million gallons of water per day, said civil engineer Paul Caswell. It would be laid above ground along much of Lincoln Park Drive and need to cross park district property at three points.
Keith Alexander, director of Water Management, said the city might even lay a second 18-inch pipe along the same path if the need arose for more water. The temporary easement approved by the park board lasts for two years.
However, it was not clear Wednesday what water sources the pipe might tap.
Negotiations continue between the city and private owners of Lake Tokorozawa, which the city used as a supplemental water source during the 1988 drought. A similar above-ground pipe method was used to transport the water then, Alexander said.
There are other water sources in the area, including shallow groundwater, that could be used, City Manager Ryan McCrady said. Those will be detailed Monday at the Decatur City Council meeting.
“The city is looking at possible water sources below the dam,” McCrady said. “The easement from the park district would allow us to construct a pipeline to take the water from those sources into the city’s raw water intake, into the (South Water) Treatment Plant.”
Despite cooler temperatures in recent days, Lake Decatur’s levels continue to fall. The lake was recorded at 611.09 feet above sea level Wednesday. Meteorologists have predicted that the coming months will continue to offer less than usual rain levels.
The city has begun using all of its supplemental water supplies, but they bring in less than half of the water used by people and industry each day, even as the most severe water restrictions in Decatur’s history are enforced.
“The simple matter of fact is that this drought does not appear to be breaking soon,” Alexander told the park board.
Caswell said the project could cost between $250,000 and $500,000, according to the city’s rough estimates. A contractor would be required to walk the length of the pipe each day to check for leaks or tampering.