LOCK HAVEN — A noticeable lack of rainfall has prompted city staff to ask residents and patrons to conserve water.
“Due to minimal rainfall in 2022, the City of Lock Haven Water Department is asking all residents and customers to do their part to conserve water,” says a city notice. “We recommend reducing water consumption by 10%.”
According to the city’s director of public works, Tony Stopper, the city is trying to avoid taking further action.
“We have not reached the level to activate our emergency drought plan, but we know of a level below the Ohl reservoir (in Loganton)”, said Stopper. “This is a notice of reduced water usage which will hopefully slow levels.”
Stopper said the city monitors both the Ohl and Keller Reservoirs in Zindel Park — receiving daily logs for each’s water rise.
“The goal is to keep Keller full so it can overflow and flow into McElhattan Creek. Not only does this keep McElhattan Creek flowing, but it creates moving water in the reservoir so that the water fresh water circulates and is sent to the filtration plant for processing, then to our service lines to be drunk”, Stopper explained.
Stopper added that the creek is also monitored at Zindel Park where staff keep a certain “flow level” as well.
If the rain continues to stay away and reservoir levels drop, that’s when the drought contingency plan would kick in. Stopper broke down each level of the plan:
— Before reaching the first stage, Stopper will send a notice and ask customers to reduce their water consumption.
— Step 1: the city will provide another update to the notice.
— Step 2: the city asks water customers to reduce their consumption by 20%.
— Stage 3: City prepares for rationing and reduction across the system, including residential and commercial use by 30%.
“Each state is based on reservoir levels, rainfall deficit, and whether the state declares a drought watch/warning,” said Stopper. “By state…all counties are listed as ‘normal’.”
The city hasn’t seen itself reach a worst-case scenario in nearly 20 years, according to Stopper. But there are plans in place should that happen.
“If we ever found ourselves in the worst case scenario, which I believe happened almost 15 years ago, we would look for alternative sources,” he said. “They drew water from the Susquehanna River for the alternate source at the time.”
The city has a total of 3,236 customers with 1,042 outside the city limits and 2,194 inside.
The City’s Water Department asks residents and customers to consider some of the following to help conserve water:
— Avoid letting the taps run.
— Reduce the time and frequency of showers.
— Use fully loaded dishwashers or laundry appliances.
— Avoid watering landscapes or washing vehicles.
More information on water conservation can be found on the city’s website at lockhavenpa.gov/dept/public-works/water/savewater/ where you can calculate your water footprint and learn how you can help conserve water.