August 8, 2017

Carroll’s water supply is in good shape despite the dry conditions that have persisted this year across much of the state.

“There was a little drop, but it wasn’t enough to cause any sort of alarm,” Public Works Director Randy Krauel said of Carroll’s seven water wells.

City workers monitor the height of the water in the wells on a weekly basis to be sure it isn’t dropping too fast or too far. Peak water usage is commonly in the summer.

Residents have been using, on average, between 1.5 million and 1.7 million gallons of water each day, Krauel said. There have been days this summer in which that amount climbed to 2 million.

The wells’ water levels dropped about 12 feet from the beginning of May to the end of July, but they are still a comfortable 24 feet higher than the level at which water pumps might run dry.

The last time the water fell to that critical height was several years ago, at the end of a three-year drought, Krauel said.

About half of Carroll County is in a moderate drought right now, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s slightly better than a couple of weeks ago, when most of the county was suffering from drought conditions. Still, the southwest half of the county is abnormally dry.

In Carroll, May was wetter than normal. But June was 3½ inches short of normal rainfall, and July was about 2 inches short.

The total effect of the dry conditions on the city’s water supply might not be seen for months, Krauel said, as the Dakota Sandstone aquifer — from which the city draws water — recharges.

Krauel said shallower aquifers recharge first, and that it takes time for water to seep into the deeper Dakota Sandstone.

“When we came out of the three-year drought three years ago, the Sandstone aquifer barely recharged at all. Just a few feet,” Krauel said.