News Local/State

Decatur Eyes Water Conservation Measures


Decatur officials are closely monitoring water levels in Lake Decatur and may implement voluntarily water conservation next month if weather stays dry.

City Manager Ryan McCrady says there needs to be rain before the start of October, but adds he's "cautiously optimistic'' about the forecast.

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports the lake's water level was 613.07 feet above sea level Monday morning. Normal summer water levels are between 614 and 614.5 feet. In the winter, the water level hovers between
612 and 613 feet.

City Water Manager Keith Alexander says there’s been a quarter inch of rain since August 1st, meaning Decatur could ask for voluntary conservation without major rainfall in about six weeks from now.

Mandatory measures were enacted the last two summers, including the most extreme ones last year.  That ban applied to everything from watering lawns to restaurants only serving water when a patron requested it.

But Alexander said the city should be a better position soon regardless of rainfall. The city is waiting on permits from Illinois’ EPA for two emergency wells, and he says Decatur is also working with Archer Daniels Midland to set two large collector wells.

“All of those different resources that we’re working on – we think that we’ll be up for up for the challenge of the next drought, if and when one occurs," he said.

The city's supplemental water supplies have since been recharged.

"The drought of 2011 and 2012 amplifed our effort," said McCrady.  "Even though it began raining quite a bit in the spring in this year, we continue to have those efforts going on.  Working with ADM, we could have as much 7-to-9 million gallons of water a day available that we did not have during (those years.")

McCrady said one of ADM's wells will be ready by October, and another in January.