"Due to the extremely dry weather, we have been experiencing a water supply problem," Mayor Shannon Womack said last month, in asking for customers to conserve water. "We have two water storage tanks, and people are using water faster than we can pump it into the tanks."
Womack said the water conservation plea has been heeded by some, and some recent rain has helped ease the problem, for now, but customers should continue to reduce water usage as much as possible.
The water supply problem has prompted the Melbourne City Council to take action to address long-time problems with the city's aging water system.
After hearing a proposal from David Hoskinds, of Landmark Engineering, the council approved a project to build a new well, pumping system and water storage tank. The additional water supply will be built near the intersection of LaCrosse and Violet Hill.
"The water tower at Highway 69 and LaCrosse Road was built about 30-years ago, and there has been a lot of growth in the Violet Hill area. We have some problems with low water pressure there," Mayor Shannon Womack said, "and the planned work should help."
According to Womack, the expansion project should also ease constant strain on the tower which supplies customers who live in the north and east areas of the water system. Currently, pumps run 24 hours a day trying to fill the tank.
The city has been approved for a USDA Rural Development loan to pay for the $1.3 million dollar water supply expansion project. The interest rate for the low interest loan will be 2.7 percent, requiring a rate increase of about $3.50 per household to help meet payments on it.
Council members voted to proceed with the project, eventhough the city has not been able to find any grants it can seek to try to lower the amount that must be borrowed.
The project is expected to, take about a year to complete.
Besides boosting water pressure in the Violet Hill area and surrounding communities, the new well should help insure that all customers have an adequate water supply, thanks to additional storage capacity that will be created.
"We hope to have construction underway by September or October," Mayor Womack said.