The July Dayton City Council meeting was hot and muggy. Councilman Stacy Moser summed it up nicely when he, half jokingly, motioned for the city office building to get an air conditioner. The improvised swamp cooler, a fan blowing on some ice packs, wasn’t keeping up very well with the 95 degree heat of the day.
The meeting began with a review of the bills including the ones that have been submitted for the Fourth of July Celebration. In other patriotic news the light for the Dayton City Park’s flag has been replaced by Alan and Brian Taylor, allowing the flag to be flown 24/7. The new light is on the roof of the dining pavilion. The council wishes to thank both men for their act of service and patriotism on behalf of the community.
In water news, upon review of the schools’ water bill it was decided to add a water meter for the Dahle Performing Art Center. There was a brief discussion over a rumor that the buildings’ fire water supply and the drinking water supply are coming from the same pipe. At present the claim is unsubstantiated but is being investigated. Should it prove true, the council will enquire as to its legality.
The test wells have hit a snag, all the local drilling companies that Aaron Beutler has contacted are booked solid for the rest of the year with residential wells. The soonest test wells for the city can be drilled is likely late fall or spring. That there is a shortage of PVC pipe and an abundance of red tape attached to municipal wells, doesn’t bode well for moving up the list of priorities.
The council discussed what Richard Reeder described as “survival mode” options. These options are to preserve the water supply in the city during the hot summer months when demand is at its peak. This year the flow from the city’s springs has dropped down to 105 gallons per minute (gpm). The last time spring flows were that low in July was in 1992 when they only provided 73 gpm. To compensate for the low output from the springs, the city well is currently running about 18 hrs per day to maintain tank levels and adequate water pressure (20 pounds at least) in the system.
The current water table is high enough that the well is able to run full speed and not pump air like it has in the past. But the static water level is dropping and the city may have to slow down the well pump using a variable frequency drive (VFD) to avoid pumping air.
“Survival mode” starts when the water demand exceeds the 24-hour pumping rate of the well. One of the ideas tossed around the meeting was doubling the overage rate during drought declarations or when “survival mode” is reached. Such an idea will require a public hearing if it is to be implemented.
One idea that was scrapped was that of “on” and “off” days as it more often than not has increased water usage as people try to maximize their “on” days. There was also the issue of discerning those who water with canal water from those watering with city water. Councilwoman Anna Mae Ward told a story of someone who got around such water restrictions in a neighboring city by washing their car everyday on the lawn in a different spot each time.
The council discussed ideas to prevent having to go into “survival mode:” water after sunset when it starts to cool off to reduce evaporation, focus on trees and garden plants, and forget the grass, it will come back next year anyway.