Carroll Water Department superintendent Terry Kluver Monday afternoon lowers tape in the piezometer, the device used to measure the level of the city&rsquo;s aquifer. The reading: 83.1 feet below surface, 3 feet above the level where emergency restrictions trigger.&nbsp; <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann</em></span>
Carroll Water Department superintendent Terry Kluver Monday afternoon lowers tape in the piezometer, the device used to measure the level of the city’s aquifer. The reading: 83.1 feet below surface, 3 feet above the level where emergency restrictions trigger.  Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Carroll Water Department superintendent Terry Kluver dropped the measuring tape, listened for the end to hit water and pulled it from the piezometer north of the Middle Raccoon River in the Rolling Hills Park area.

The reading at 2:30 p.m. Monday from the device used to check the aquifer level: 83.1 feet below surface. That’s still 3 feet from the level where city officials can impose voluntary or mandatory restrictions on household and commercial water use.

“It’s pretty reasonable for the water usage we’re having right now,” said City Public Works director Randy Krauel.

On Sunday, the aquifer level climbed back to 81.5 feet below surface after having reached a recent low of 84 feet below surface on July 17.

Kluver said water levels in the 500,000-gallon Carroll water tower have been improving between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., the time frame when many automatic sprinklers are in use. City officials say it’s clear the public is voluntarily using less water.

“The public’s helping us,” Kluver said.

The city added an eighth well in 2009, which has improved reliability of water service, said Kluver, who has been with the water department since 2009.

He said city official generally check the piezometer about once a week during times of the year when the aquifer level is not in jeopardy. In recent weeks, the city often has checked the level twice a day.

“We’re just going to continue to monitor it,” Mayor Adam Schweers said.

Carroll is located at the southeastern end of the Dakota. The ideal situation, Krauel said, would be for rain to hit locally to reduce usage levels here for a time as rains in South Dakota and Minnesota and Northwest Iowa recharge the aquifer.

The voluntary water-conservation efforts that would benefit the city include: reduction of watering of residential lawns, gardens, plants, trees or shrubs, residential pool filling, residential vehicle washing (this doesn’t include patronizing a car-wash business with your car), all inside residential water usage that is not totally necessary, all commercial water use that is not totally necessary, water served at restaurants, washing of streets, parking lots and sidewalks, ornamental fountains, non-essential hydrant flushing, washing the outside of buildings, non-essential construction water usage and non-essential government usage.

As a result of an emergency water-use policy, City Manager Gerald Clausen and Schweers are empowered to select from a list of restrictions should that become necessary.

“I’m praying for rain for the crops and for the thousands of people participating in RAGBRAI this week,” Schweers said during a regular Carroll City Council meeting Monday.  “For anyone that has to be outside, please take extra precautions.”

The Weather Channel reports a 30 percent chance of isolated thunder showers for Carroll on both Wednesday and Sunday with the rest of the 10-day forecast generally showing predicted highs in the upper 80s.