Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reservoir Getting Low, Inflow is a Trickle; City May Curtail Service to Power Plant

Dry winter conditions coupled with high demand have caused East Carbon officials to seek immediate action concerning the area's water supply. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to conduct an expedited joint meeting with Sunnyside to discuss water issues after a bleak presentation by local water officials.

According to East Carbon maintenance employees Bert Krauss and Tracy Robinson, the city's reservoir is down 117 inches or about nine feet based on measurements recently taken from the lake's spillway. Last year at this time, the spillway was down approximately 68 inches.

Further reports from the pair showed that annual snowfall is down 16.5 inches from October to December compared to numbers recorded in 2010. Additionally, snowpack at the reservoir has dwindled from 56 inches just two years ago to three inches currently.

Using measurements and photos, the city employees demonstrated that the reservoir's lower left hand fork flume is bringing in about 80 gallons per minute of water to the mountain lake. Grassy Trail's upper flume is currently dry, a situation that is ominous for several reasons.

The reservoir's right hand flume is delivering around 120 gallons per minute to the Grassy Trail Reservoir and is currently the lake's major source of replenishment.

According to Krauss, this water is being lost two miles downstream as the water is absorbed by arid Castle Country soil.

East Carbon officials have already applied to the Permanent Community Impact Board for funding needed to develop the water source and move the water into Grassy Trail or directly into the city's water treatment system.

The project was rejected by the board in late 2011, when Sunnyside officials removed the city from the project's application due to a lack of communication between the two cities. Both towns have justified their actions involving the first application which was re-submitted following a joint council session. This delay amounts to millions of lost gallons of water. Sun Advocate