ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Some residents have noticed their water bills going up while trying to keep their lawns and gardens decent since there hasn’t been much help from mother nature recently. The good news is that Missouri American Water doesn’t have any serious concerns at this time.
With rainfall amounts at almost 3 inches below normal since June 1, much of the St. Louis region is in the “abnormally dry” category on the drought monitor, with some areas slipping into moderate drought.
Despite the dry conditions, our geographical location gives us a great advantage when it comes to water.
“We don’t have any pressing concerns as far as water availability in the St. Louis and St. Charles region where we are pretty lucky to be on the water-rich end of the spectrum compared to most areas of the country,” said Taylor Flynn-Elhoffer, the senior production manager for St. Louis County at Missouri American Water. “Like I said, we’re in a really great spot here with the confluence of the two rivers.”
It’s no surprise river levels are low, but Missouri American Water accounts for that in the design of their system.
“The way that the intakes at all of our plants are set up, we generally construct them to always pull from the lowest level of the channels. So even during times of drought, we should have no issues being able to take water off the river for our treatment process,” he said.
They said that’s intentional so they don’t have any interruptions in their ability to deliver water to their customers. But they’re always monitoring things upstream and the forecast from the Army Corp of Engineers.
“We’ve got a lot of really great people that are constantly looking for any potential issues coming down the line, as far as whether it’s drought or anything that might impact the incoming water quality of the river,” said Flynn-Elhoffer. “We have people that are 24/7 working with our treatment plants and out in the distribution system working pretty hard to make sure that what we’re delivering to the customer is always going to be there, as well as in the top range of water quality we can possibly provide.”
Of course, conserving water when you can is always good for the environment but not a requirement at this time.
“Outside of it being a pretty good practice as far as being a good steward of the environment, other than that, we don’t really look to conserve water or have any concerns with that on the near horizon,” he said.
During dry times like these, water rates don’t go up. But volumetrically speaking, when we use more water, obviously, our bills will go up. It’s always a good idea to try to be strategic with things. Don’t overwater. Make sure you’re turning your sprinklers off after a good soaking.