Water and light presents water resource plan

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Water and Light looked for public feedback Monday on a proposed draft looking at possible ways to expand the water supply to meet future demands.

The Integrated Water Resource Plan looks to find ways to combine water conservation strategies and with an expansion of the water treatment plan in order to develop a water supply for the next 30 years, according to Columbia Water and Light.

The plan came following recommendations from a study done by a contractor on the city's water. 

Those recommendations included:

  • Expanding Columbia's current water treatment plant
  • Reclaiming and reusing water on a small scale with vertical and collector wells
  • Regulating when people can water during peak demand times, like in the summer 

The study also said while Columbia is currently fine when it comes to water supply, the city will need an expansion to its water supply by 2023. 

The study recommended that Columbia's water treatment plant be expanded to 48 million gallons of water produced per day.

The plan also recommended an increase in efforts to conserve water. 

Water and Light said this could happen either through educational initiative or ordinances like only being allowed to water your yard every other day.

One former Water and Light Advisory Board member said the plan doesn't focus enough on conservation.

"We're to the point where we'll talk about sustainability and we'll give lip service to conservation and efficiciency," Environmental Engineer Tom O'Connor said. "But if you go ahead and build a huge all-you-can-eat buffet and then encourage eating in moderation, it doesn't quite work. It's like trying to have an AA meeting with an open bar."

Another way to conserve is to limit the use of drinking-quality water for purposes other than drinking.

The expected cost of the plan is expected to be $5.7 million for the next 30 years.

Columbia Water and Light Spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz said after the public provides it input, the plan would be recommended to the Water and Light Board.

"We need to make sure that we get the feedback from Columbia on what they're willing to do as far as do conservation to help limit the expansion of the water treatment plant or extend the life of the water treatment plant," Kacprowicz said.


Kacprowicz also said the goal of the proposed plan is for it to lead to a bond issue to expand the plant in 2018.