The city will soon start to look at ways to reduce water usage if weather conditions continue.
The precautionary boil advisory for residents still remains in effect till Friday, June 17th, at 12 p.m.
UPDATE 6/15: Columbia Water & Light says outside water demands are likely causing a pressure problem in some southwestern Columbia subdivisions this week.
Officials say water flow data loggers show that starting around 4 a.m., the water pressure is dropping substantially with the hot, dry weather.
Columbia Water & Light is suggesting a voluntary irrigation schedule for residents in the Bradbury Estates, Creek’s Edge, Thornbrook, Steeplechase, and Wyndham Ridge subdivisions so all of the sprinkler systems do not operate at the same time.
Columbia Water & Light says until it can be assured that the pressure will not drop below 20 psi, the precautionary boil advisory for residents of the Thornbrook subdivision in southwestern Columbia will remain in place. However it says of the water samples that have been tested, no contaminants have been found.
The utility is suggesting that customers who are served by the same water distribution pipes all follow the utility’s suggested schedule.
The schedule is for the following subdivisions: Bradbury Estates, Creek’s Edge, Thornbrook, Steeplechase and Wyndham Ridge subdivisions. The customers in the area have been divided into five groups that will be asked to set their sprinkler timers between midnight and 4 a.m.
If this rotating of the schedule levels off the demand so there is not a substantial drop in pressure, then the boil advisory will be lifted. If there is not a change in demand in the early morning hours with this voluntary request, then an alternating day schedule with specific times could be suggested.
Water utility modeling shows that there is adequate piping in place to meet customers’ water needs, if the demand for water does not spike at certain times of the day. The subdivisions in this area of town are different than other areas of the city since they are on the boundaries of the water territory and the elevation is higher. Columbia Water & Light says it is researching a long-term solution to the low water pressure issue.
UPDATE 6/14: The precautionary water boil advisory will continue to be in effect for the Thornbrook subdivision until Wednesday.
Water utility crews are working to find out what caused the water pressure to drop sharply Monday morning.
“Because we haven’t found the solution to the problem, even though this morning, the pressure didn’t drop as much, we’re not going to take any risks,” said Connie Kacprowicz with Water and Light. “We’re going to have the precautionary boil advisory until at least tomorrow and make sure we’re in a safe zone.”
It still suspects sprinkler systems is the reason behind the drop and many Thornbrook residents said they plan on staggering their schedules to make sure to avoid a drop in water pressure, which could cause a serious boil order to go into effect.
“Anything that someone can do voluntarily to help us as far as that low pressure first thing in the morning is helpful,” said Kacprowicz.
Demand for water has increased by millions of gallons in the past week across Columbia, probably due to the dry weather. Kacprowicz said the city does have plenty of clean water to supply residents with.
“The water treatment plant is in McBaine and there’s a 44 billion gallon aquifer there,” she said. “Our water supply is not only clean but it’s plentiful. But we don’t want to waste it.”
People should water their lawns and plants in the early morning or evening when the sun isn’t out to dry it out.
Shaun Henry oversees grounds maintenance with Atkins. He said a rule of thumb for lawns is to water deep and less often. He also suggested running shorter cycles twice a day instead of once for a longer time.
Finally, he said it is more efficient to have a professionally installed system because it will use water better than someone who is attaching a sprinkler head to a garden hose.
6/13: Columbia Water and Light has issued a precautionary water boil advisory for the Thornbrook subdivision in Columbia.
Officials say watering in Columbia has greatly increased due to the hot, dry weather. With this increased usage, Water and Light officials say residents of the Thornbrook subdivision contacted them about a drop in water pressure during the early morning hours Monday.
Columbia water utility staff members say they have been investigating the low pressure issue so the problem could be resolved. As part of this research, water flow data loggers were put on the water distribution system in the Thornbrook neighborhood.
Officials say between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday, the water pressure dropped below 20 psi. This was reported to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and they instructed Columbia Water & Light to call a precautionary boil advisory.
DNR apparently requires utilities to call boil advisories when the pressure drops below 20 psi because it could cause a backflow situation where something could be siphoned into the water distribution system.
Columbia Water & Light says around 600 Thornbrook subdivision customers in southwest Columbia will be notified by a phone call about the precautionary boil advisory. Customers are urged to take the following steps until notified by Columbia Water & Light:
· Boil water for three minutes prior to using it for cooking or drinking.
· Do not consume ice from an automatic ice maker. Remake ice with water that has been boiled for three minutes.
· Wash dishes and food contact surfaces by immersing for one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon of water.
Columbia’s water division staff says it is continuing to do more research in the area to ensure there are no problems with the water distribution system that would be causing the drop in water pressure.
Since the pressure is spiking at one point in the early morning hours, they say it could be that all the sprinkler systems in the area are programmed to start at the same time. Water & Light officials say a detailed investigation of water use patterns is being studied. If it is a water demand issue due to sprinklers, they say crews will then develop a plan for alternating water schedules.