U.S. Water News Online
POCATELLO, Idaho -- With snow in the Portneuf basin 74 percent of normal and drought conditions likely, a city councilman wants a water conservation plan in place.
Bob Foster is asking fellow city council members to authorize a proposal.
Conservation methods would initially be voluntary, and if things got dire, they would become mandatory. And if mandatory methods failed, the city would increase water rates in an effort to reduce consumption.
An expert told council members that the area is facing drought conditions for the third straight year and could see those conditions extended for two more years.
The area's precipitation has been about 75 percent of normal since 1999. And hotter-than-normal temperatures in 1999 and 2000 have exacerbated the situation.
``We do have a finite, valuable resource we've probably taken for granted over the years,'' Mayor Greg Anderson said. The aquifer is ``a resource we need to manage to maintain the economic health of the community.''
Further dampening the valley's water situation are estimates that at its current 2 percent growth rate, Pocatello within 10 years would be using water from the Portneuf Valley aquifer faster than it can be replenished.
Community Development and Research Director Robert Chambers told the council that Pocatello residents consume a whopping 325 gallons of water per person per day. That is 55 percent higher than the national average of 147 gallons and 5 percent greater than the Idaho average of 311 gallons.
Foster, Chambers, and water department officials hope to present a water conservation proposal to the council by spring.
Included in the proposal would be a goal of reducing per-capita water consumption to 225 gallons per day by 2005.
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