City of Cedar Rapids battling water shortage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City of Cedar Rapids battling water shortage


It wasn't too long ago when the Cedar River flowed out of its banks in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Now the city is dealing with the opposite problem. The drought has forced the city to be creative in terms of its water supply.

"This is all pretty new, and we're learning as we go," said Megan Murphy, Cedar Rapids Utilities Communication Coordinator.

The land near the city of Cedar Rapids' large collector well is dry, and so the city is intervening.

"We just haven't had the rain to provide water to that area," Murphy said.  

City officials have taken matters into their own hands, bringing the Cedar River to the low lying area.

Friday, a construction crew completed the installation of three culverts, giving the water a channel to flow toward the high-capacity well. 

A fix, at least for now.

"It just gives us a little security in what we do have, in not losing any more ground as we head into the summer, " Murphy said.

But with the warmer weather comes a need for greater production. Currently, the wells are running at 30 percent less capacity than normal.

 "We see a significant spike, and that's where we're going to have to look at things very carefully," Murphy said. 

The only real solution can come from mother nature.

"A long wet spring would be great," Murphy said.

The city of Robins, just to the north, stands to be affected by the shortage as well, receiving its water from Cedar Rapids.

"It's good that they're thinking about it now instead of waiting until this summer when it becomes a real serious problem," said Roger Overbeck, Robins City Council member.

Planning for the worst, and hoping the weather cooperates.

City officials are hoping for a lot of rain this spring otherwise it's likely many water restrictions will be enacted for all Cedar Rapids water customers.

For more information about the drought and the City of Cedar Rapids' drought response plan click here

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