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2/26/2013 11:33:00 AM
Williams water supply set for the summer
Despite lower water levels than at this time last year, city officials expect late season snow to help fill Cataract Dam
Santa Fe Dam in Williams is full. City officials said the city’s water supply is in good shape for the summer months. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Santa Fe Dam in Williams is full. City officials said the city’s water supply is in good shape for the summer months. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - While Williams could use more snow to round out its water supply, city officials are satisfied with current water levels.

Bill Pruett, interim water superintendent, said the Santa Fe Dam and City Dam reservoirs are both full, the Cataract Dam reservoir is three-quarters full and both wells are in working condition.

Pruett said they will know more about the city's water supply in April.

Compared to last year at this time, the city's water levels are lower this year.

"We were a lot more nervous a couple of months ago before it started snowing at all and Back Dam was dang near empty," City Manager Brandon Buchanan said.

Back Dam, or City Dam, is the only reservoir that flows to the water plant using gravity, Buchanan explained.

During busy weekends in tourist season, the city must supplement water from its wells with lake water, he added.

"So it's important to keep (Back Dam) full in the summer time to help supplement our wells," he said.

Combining lake water with well water lowers turbidity, Pruett said.

With both wells working and two different chemical processes in place to treat the water, Pruett and Buchanan don't expect to have any brown water issues this year.

City officials had considered using the wells during the winter months to fill Back Dam to ensure an adequate supplemental water supply for the summer.

"I think now with (Back Dam) filling up with the snow runoff and everything, we're not going to have to do that," Buchanan said.

Running both wells requires about $30,000 a month in electricity costs, Buchanan said.

"So that's pretty expensive water," he said. "Us not having to pump that in the wintertime and fill up that lake with that water is a relief."

However, the city could still use more snow.

"As we get here a little bit further into the spring, we want some more of this heavy snow because it melts off so fast that we fill up lakes a little bit faster," Buchanan said. "So even if we're dealing with snow into March, as much of a pain as it is to plow the snow, we need it bad enough that we'll deal with it."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 11, 2013
Article comment by: Hey Hopeless

How does building something like this "increase revenues and our tax base"? It doesn't, it is just a idea that people with very little knowledge throw around as if it is common sense to do this.

If the technology is out there, why didn't you provide a link so everyone can be informed about it? Who else does this? How much water do you really think you can be recovered from snow removed from city streets? Is it enough to worry about?

It is very simple, you can't dump anything into a river or creek bottom and have it flow into a fresh water lake. If you want to build a retaining pond somewhere, and then build a filtration plant to "clean" the water, then build a pipleline to the regular water treatment plant, then go for it!! I'm sure the cost to do this won't be much LOL.

Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Article comment by: this town is hopeless

Jeremiah, I'm sure the technology is out there. The problem is cost. With the old timers in this town who are against anything else which could increase revenues and our tax base, it's something that would never come to fruition.

Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Article comment by: Jeremiah Sheward

epa & ADEQ,

I Know water of worse repute can be filtered to clean pure drinking water, and I am asking an honest question for someone with the the Scientific expertise How Difficult would it be to create a sand filter or whatever else it takes to strain the Particulates out to get it to a point where just the water would hit the reservoirs. leaving the other stuff trapped where it could be hauled off.

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Article comment by: Ron Paully

The small wash where the water runs north out of town and disappears into the ground.To bad it isnt used somehow.Well ive heard it ends up at the canyon.

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Article comment by: Williams Water Drinker

So we are guaranteed a complete supply of red/brown colored water for another year?

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: epa & ADEQ


Do you really want snow from the streets where there is all kinds of contaminants dumped uphill from the reservoirs?

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: There is no place like home, Toto

Perhaps City Man should click his red shoes three times in hopes of Kansas, where the Back Dam is likely located.

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Fred Thompson

When is our trash pickup and water bill going down because of the new contracts?

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Jeremiah Sheward

So, We have all that snow that comes off the roads and gets piled up where they have the swap meets in the summer. Why can't that be dumped somewhere uphill from the reservoirs, then be allowed to run down into them? Even if you had to somehow filter it before it reaches the reservoirs wouldn't that help the water situation in the winter? I mean Its already trucked to that site why not truck it up hill a little ways? It might be even cheaper long term than pumping it.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: water guru

Back dam?? Never heard of that. I have heard of the City dam, or as most long time residents will tell you, the 3rd dam. Newbies.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Things That Make You Go ... Hmmmmm

Back Dam??? Where the heck is that?

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