McPherson Board of Public Utilities General Manager Tim Maier spoke to the McPherson City Commission on Monday about the condition of BPU's well field and how the water situation looks for the City long term.
Maier said, "Most of you may know, we have twelve water wells that we use to supply the water for McPherson. Most of them are in the western part of the city or out in the county. The most eastern wells are kind of in line with our BPU office, where the railroad tracks run north and south, then everything's actually west of there. Our water pumped last year was down 1.9 percent. If you look at the individual wells, of the twelve wells, two of them actually had an increase in elevation, the depth to water came up, and it ranged from half a foot up to one foot. We had four that stayed neutral, so the elevation didn't change over the previous year. And then, we had five that actually saw a decrease in elevation that ranged from a half a foot up to three feet. We do monitor the depth to water every month. We typically don't look at the values until the end of the year, because at that point, there's a lot less stress on the aquifer."
There are a couple of wells that the City needs to be concerned about, according to Maier.
Maier said, "Where we saw the greatest decrease was Water Wells 8 and 9, which are located out by 81 bypass, and then north of First Street. Back behind Aero Transportation is one of them, and one of them is right on First Street pretty close to that. If a person looks at some of the individual wells, again, McPherson doesn't have a short term problem, but we do have some concerns, I think, long term. If we consider the decline we've seen over the last fifteen years. As an example, water well 5. We'll have to change how we are utilizing that well about 2030. So, we'll no longer be able to pump it at the rate we are today. Well 7, we have that same situation, about 2040. Really no issues until that point, but at that point, we'll probably have to change how we are pumping that if the aquifer continues to decline as it has in the past fifteen years. And, then I think well 10 is another one that I think has more of a short term, short term being 2030, 2040, where we may have an issue."
There is one thing those wells all have in common.
Maier said, "Those are our shallower wells. The wells we have out in the county, they are much deeper. They are probably fifty to a hundred feet deeper and so, really don't have an issue for a longer period of time."
Fortunately, McPherson is being proactive with this problem.
Maier said, "I think some of the steps that have been taken by the City with the sale of some wastewater effluent, hopefully will reduce the demand on the aquifer. I definitely think that's a good thing for all of us, and hopefully we'll see some changes."