Randy Krauel
Randy Krauel
July 16, 2013

Carroll city officials are eyeing stepped-up water-use restrictions as dry, hot weather boosts residential irrigation and depletes the aquifer.

Water usage in the City of Carroll has increased from an average daily level in June of 1,081,000 gallons to an average daily usage, to-date, in July of 1,383,000 gallons, with a maximum daily usage to date in July - last Friday - of 1,687,000 gallons.

The city's aquifer level has dropped from a stable average of 71.4 feet below ground surface in June to a current level of 76.8 feet.

If the aquifer level reaches 86 feet below ground surface, further water use restrictions, including prohibition of outside watering, will likely be imposed, said City Public Works director Randy Krauel.

"That's really the point of the aquifer where we need to conserve water so we don't break suction at the wells," Krauel said.

Rains affects usage levels. The long-term boosting of the aquifer occurs with rain and snowfall north of Carroll.

City officials implemented mandatory water-use restrictions by proclamation on April 23.

The most significant requirement in the restriction regime is a move to alternate-day residential irrigation and home car washing. Residents with even-numbered street addresses are restricted to use of water on even-numbered days, and those with odd-numbered addresses to odd days.

Washing of streets, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks is prohibited as is use of water for ornamental fountains and the washing of outside buildings.

Restaurants can provide drinking water only to customers upon request.

What's more, residents are asked to suspend all residential and commercial water usage that is not "absolutely necessary."

"We're trying to think as far ahead without completely encumbering the citizens," Mayor Adam Schweers said.

The emergency provisions will remain in effect until city officials lift them.

City Attorney David Bruner said any violations under a ban likely would be treated as municipal infractions, not simple misdemeanors. The city could hit violators with daily fines of up to $1,000. Magistrate judges have the ultimate say on fines.

Additional new well site exploration continues. Four test locations have been completed with two additional currently planned. Test pumping results are continuing to be analyzed.

If one or more test well locations are determined to be adequate to be added to the seven existing wells, the projected time frame would be middle to late 2014.

The Carroll Municipal Golf Course operates on a separate well and is not affected by the emergency policy, city officials said.