Westminster Could Face Water Shortage In 5 Years, Official Says

April 01, 1992|By Brian Sullam | Brian Sullam,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — If projections are correct and no new water wells are drilled or newprocessing plants built, the city will find it impossible to satisfydemand for water within about five years, officials were told Mondaynight.

Planning Director Thomas Beyard, who recently added publicworks duties, said the problems can easily be solved by spending some of the nearly $1 million the council already has appropriated for water projects.

At the same time, he said the city must cut back on the so-called"unaccounted water," which is pumped and processed but not purchasedby consumers.

During the past six years, about 24 percent of the water the city pumps, clarifies and chlorinates is lost through either leaks in the system, improperly functioning or tampered-with meters, or city use. The cost to the city is about $850 a day in lost revenue -- or about $310,000 a year. Workers are studying possible answers.

Beyard said the city's rate of "unaccounted water" exceeds the standard benchmark used by engineers and hydrologists.

"As a rule of thumb, we should be concerned when the rate exceeds 15 percent," Beyard said.

Beyard said that the city has ample sources of water, but money will have to be spent to develop the wells and treatment facilities if Westminster is going to meet projected demand.

The citywater system now serves about 25,000 people. Projections show the system will serve about 36,000 people by the year 2000.

The city is pumping 2.2 million gallons daily and selling 1.7 mil

lion of those. Within eight years, it will have to pump about 1.2 million gallonsmore to satisfy demand, the city projects.

Several projects couldbe started quickly to increase the amount of water in the system.

Beyard said development of the so-called Carfaro well, estimated to cost $600,000 to $650,000, could add 1 million gallons a day to the system and be linked to the current system serving the Wakefield area with the city system.

In addition, if another pipe is built at themain reservoir, the city would be able to pump water into the reservoir at the same time water is being pumped out. Currently, the reservoir can't be filled and emptied at the same time.

Beyard told the council to think about developing a water conservation plan.

"It is a lot like recycling; the time has come," he said.

Council President William Haifley said a successful conservation

program could "reduce the need for expanding the water system."

In order to develop these wells, Beyard said permits are needed from the state Department of Natural Resources. He indicated the city can document those needs.

"We have an abundance of water sources. The question facing the council is, 'What is the most cost-effective way to get the water?" Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said after hearing the report.

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