The McPherson Board of Public Utilities knows that McPherson depends on it to provide safe and dependable water and electric services, not only today but also in the future. While the BPU can generate more electricity to match growth and demand, increasing the fresh water supply to match growth and demand is not something that can be easily done.
Knowing the City of McPherson’s potential for growth, coupled with the reality of a declining aquifer, the BPU realizes it’s responsibility to evaluate and develop future water supply sources for the next generation.
On April 12th, the McPherson Board of Public Utilities had the opportunity to present at MIDC’s April Lunch & Learn. BPU General Manager, Tim Maier provided guests with an overview of the City’s water situation.
Maier began the presentation by showing graphs of each of BPU’s 12 water wells. These graphs show that the usable depth to water in each well has dropped steadily over the last 20 years. Predictive modeling showed what the future supply would look like if McPherson and other water users in the area continue to pump at the same rate as they have in the past. The BPU has been exploring ways to limit the demand and increase the water that McPherson can access.
Maier reported that on November 7, 2017, the BPU received three water well permits to proceed from the Division of Water Resources. These permits allow the utility to continue evaluating the development of additional water supply south of McPherson. The current well field is located in the McPherson Intensive Ground Water Use Control Area (IGUCA), which is a 56 square mile area in and around McPherson that continues to experience a declining aquifer.
Development of these resources outside the IGUCA should provide McPherson with a sustainable supply of water for the next 50 years.
Maier warned that if the City decides this is something we need to pursue seriously, rates would likely increase. To get a better idea of rate impact the BPU has enlisted the help of Burns & McDonald to help obtain a better understanding of the actual cost to pursue the project; from there, the BPU will be able to better determine the impact to rates.
Maier explained that while the graphs have shown the steep decline stall in the last couple years, the overall trend is downward and not sustainable; The BPU feels that long-term water supply for the community is critical and will be working to engage in open dialog about the water situation with community stakeholders to ensure we are what needs to be done to ensure McPherson continues to thrive in the future. If you missed the presentation and would like to learn more, contact Kasi Morales, firstname.lastname@example.org.