The city of Kenai is requesting that residents restrict their water usage, as the city has been consuming more water than its wells can produce.
“It’s the weather and the time of year that causes us to lose ground,” City Manager Rick Koch said.
This time of year, with warm weather and blue skies, many Kenai residents consume a lot of water to keep lawns green, wash cars or clean driveways, he said. But when it rains Kenai begins consuming less water, as residents use it less, he said.
Koch said when it rains for a few days, residents can resume their normal water usage. He said it is a common problem this time of year.
According to the weather service, there is a likelihood of scattered showers this afternoon and into the night, but it will be fleeting and marginal. High pressure is expected to settle over the Kenai Peninsula following the brief rain event.
In the meantime, Kenai asks its residents to be conscious of its water usage: don’t water lawns, watch for running faucets, be conscious of your time in the shower.
Residents may also notice a drop in water pressure, as Kenai scaled back its pressure 10 to 15 percent, Koch said.
The Kenai Parks and Recreation Department will continue watering flowers and carrying out other operations during the water shortage, but it is using water from the city’s float plane basin. That water is separate from Kenai’s public utility system and is not drinkable.
Kenai currently supplies its residents with water through a three-well system. One large well produces 625 gallons a minute; two other minor wells produce 50 gallons a minute.
With its three wells, Kenai can produce about 1 million gallons a day, but residents are using about 1.2 to 1.4 million gallons a day now, Koch said.
In 90 days, Kenai will tie a fourth well into the system that can produce 1,200 gallons a minute. But Koch said the city is waiting for it to be manufactured.
With four wells online, Kenai will be able to supply its resident’s water demands for about 30 years, he said.
“Kenai’s (going to have) to be three times as big as it is for us to need to look for additional sources of water,” he said.
The well costs about $200,000 and tying it in to Kenai’s public utility system will cost about $500,000, he said.
The fourth well will conclude Kenai’s three-year project to address its water needs, he said.
First, Kenai installed a mile-long water transmission main down Lawton Drive to Beaver Loop Road to increase its volume and redundancy. Then it installed its water treatment facility to improve the clarity of its water.
“This is just another piece of what we’re doing,” he said.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at email@example.com.