The City of Sioux Falls says the continuing drought is affecting water levels on the Big Sioux River.
Just this week, river flow dropped from 74 cubic feet per second down to 65 cubic feet per second. The city says if the river drops further...down to 50 CFS...there will be new plans to consider.
This image tells part of the story: a partially dry diversion channel connected to the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls. The continued hot and dry conditions are taking a toll....and the numbers bear that out. The amount of water flowing in the right is becoming less and less with each passing day.
"The Big Sioux River is one of the sources that we harvest for water for drinking water for the city of Sioux Falls." Trent Lubbers watches Big Sioux River levels for the city of Sioux Falls and says when the river lost 10 cubic feet per second of water flow just this week, it got their attention. Right now, the river is flowing at 65 CFS. If that falls to 50 CFS, new, more stringent water restrictions will kick in for Sioux Falls residents. "We go from the odd-even water schedule that we have now to a once per week watering schedule."
Sioux Falls gets drinking water from the Big Sioux River, two aquifers and now, Lewis and Clark regional water. All those sources combined are being tapped, because it is anyone's guess when Mother Nature will naturally fill everything back up again. "The long term trend has been a decline. Without some significant rain north of Sioux Falls in the Big Sioux watershed or rain in Sioux Falls to minimize the amount of water usage here, the trend is going to continue to go lower."
And Trent Lubbers also tells us that the city is expecting this cycle of hot and dry weather to continue for some time...and the longer is does, the more it places the city's water supply behind the 8 ball.
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