SYLACAUGA, Ala. – For the second week in a row, the current drought was the main talking point at the Sylacauga Utilities Board (SUB) meeting Tuesday morning.
Water levels for lakes and the length of the drought were a topic of discussion before the meeting was even to called to order. Although the drought was a hot talking point, SUP officials said Sylacauga residents in no danger of a water shortage like their neighbors in Birmingham.
SUB Operations Director Mitch Miller said Tuesday marked 75 consecutive days without rainfall.
As for water levels, nothing has changed since last week. Sylacauga’s two wells, Pine Grove Well and Park Well, are holding at the same levels they were in November of 2015. Lake Howard is also in good condition. SUB officials said Howard is down three feet below normal and dropped three inches since last week’s board meeting. Although three inches in the last week may sound like a drastic drop in water, officials said it is not. “That’s the rate we have been seeing during the entire drought,” said Miller. “We’re still 75 to 80 days away before we would drop [Lake] Virginia to fill Lake Howard.”
Howard will not be refilled until it reaches 60 inches below fill level.
But why 60 inches?
SUB General Manager Mike Richard said refilling Howard before it loses 60 inches of water would be a waste of water in Lake Virginia.
“Lake Howard must be down below five feet,” said Miller. “Or else, once we open Virginia up it will spill because Lake Howard can’t contain it.”
Alternative sources of potable water are also coming along for SUB. SylacaugaNews.com recently reported that SUB found what it thinks could be another viable water source for Sylacauga. On Tuesday, Miller said SUB is waiting for the water to meet the turbidity (clarity) standards for drinking water. SUB will continue to pump the well until it meets turbidity standards. At that point, a sample will be taken to a lab where it will go through tests. SUB is still hopeful the new well will be the next water source for future Sylacauga residents.
Forecasters say there is a small chance that Sylacauga’s drought could come to an end this week. SylacaugaNews.com Weather forecasts there is a 20% chance of rain for Friday, Nov. 18.
To stay updated on drought conditions, stay tuned to SylacaugaNews.com
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.