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MEEKER | Chasing the consumers of 62 million gallons of town water in June broke down to 31 million gallons used by town commercial and residential users, which left another 31 million gallons, give or take, riding on the property owners whose land is crossed by the town’s water line from the wells on County Road 4. Those property owners contracted with the town in the mid-1970s for an easement in exchange for unmetered access to water from the town wells.
Those property owners say there’s no way they’re using that much water. They are not irrigating pasture with town water. They use river water or ditch water for irrigation, and use the unmetered town water for their households and yards, and some livestock tanks.
“There must be a leak somewhere,” said one property owner, noting that when they discovered a leak on the town line on their property in the past, they called the town to have it fixed. She has spoken with other property owners who have experienced the same, finding leaks on their property and reporting them to the town.
According to town trustee Travis Day, the 10 taps on the water line would be 3/4-inch taps, which max out at 15 gallons per minute. If those 10 taps ran at full capacity all day, that would be 216,000 gallons per day, or 6.48 million gallons per month. That only accounts for about one-fifth of the 31 million gallons “lost” between the town wells and the metered water users.
Meeker Public Works Superintendent Russell Overton said Monday, and reiterated at the town board meeting Tuesday, that his department had “found some calculation problems” and were trying to resolve those issues.
“Until we get a meter out there—on each well or on the pipe—the numbers could be skewed dramatically,” Overton said. “I’ve been trying to get meters out there for years.”
The town has always calculated total water production from hours the pumps are running, vs. what the pumps are putting out. The town has six wells.
“When we get our new meters in, we’ll know.”
Overton noted the biggest jump in monthly use in June during the last 10 years came between 2011 and 2012, the year the town installed the computerized monitoring system known as SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Acquisition Data.
“That’s when usage changed (from 33,840,000 in June 2011 to 57,420,000 in June 2012). We’re checking to see if the SCADA is showing up in two systems. There are so many scenarios out there,” Overton said.
Those new meters are part of Phase 2 of the town’s water system upgrade project, which is expected to be completed in May 2019.
By NIKI TURNER