Tri-State Water meetings again and again and again
July 07, 2009
Potential options for a future regional water supply were discussed today by members of the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition at a meeting in Monett. The coalition had been formed after a 2002 study completed by Wittman Hydro-Planning Associates revealed that the Ozark Aquifer would not be able to keep up with the current growth in the region. In 2006 a water supply study projected an additional 102.1 million gallons a day (MGD) would be the average daily demand in 2050, with a required total of 124 MGD additional water supply for the entire region.

Potential new water sources for the area were investigated by the Little Rock District Corps of Engineers at the request of the Coalition. The Little Rock Distric Corpsí study identified six potential sources: Grand Lake, Table Rock Lake, Stockton Lake, Truman Lake, a combination of Grand Lake, Table Rock Lake and Stockton Lake, or to construct one or more new reservoirs.

At the meeting Coalition board member Harold McCoy provided an overview of the groupís progress regarding the use of water from preexisting lakes. Since, with the exception of Grand Lake, the lakes in consideration are controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Corps would have to respond to their requests. The Coalition, McCoy said, has submitted requests to several district offices of the Corps for the use of water in these lakes and they have indicated a five to seven year period will be needed to respond. Meanwhile, the Coalition continues to pursue other alternatives as well, including the construction of one or more reservoirs, an option still considered low on the list.

John Rutledge, consultant with Freese and Nichols of Fort Worth, TX, provided an overview of the preliminary reservoir study his agency conducted for the Coalition. Their study lists 14 sites that were initially reviewed in southwestern Missouri that would be capable of providing the needed water supply identified for the area. Various factors were considered --dam construction, land acquition, conflicts and relocations of infrastructure, and impact of environmental mitigation, as well as the cost of transmitting raw water to either the Joplin or Springfield areas--and the conclusion was that a single reservoir site for the entire region would carry an excessive cost.

Smaller reservoirs also were reviewed that might develop the needed supplies for either the eastern or western portions of the area. The eastern portion dominated by the city of Springfield was defined, for planning purposes, as Greene, Barry, and Lawrence counties, with a total estimated demand of up to 70 MGD by the year 2050. The western portion dominated by the cities of Joplin and Carthage consisted of any remaining counties, with a total estimated demand of up to 54 MGD in the same year.

The study also suggested the possibility of combining various locations for the purpose of securing additional water. However, no final solution was recommended as additional information about the future water needs for specific areas would be required to make such a projection.

The study recommends that the Coalition continue its work to review the two primary potential supply sources that have been identified during the Coalitionís work: 1) pipelines transmitting water from one or more of the existing reservoirs (lakes) or 2) constructing a new reservoir.

At the conclusion of the News Conference, Coalition officials noted the significance of its work in determining a viable water supply for the region, as a critical element for the areaís economic growth and community development.

Lynn Onstot contributed to this report.

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Editor's note: We didn't cover this meeting and are glad that conservation of fossil fuel won out. We've not covered meetings in the past although from time to time we acquienced. The latest meeting appears to be a rehash of the meeting that took place on September 20, 2006 at Missouri Southern State University when the same needs were announced and the same lake sources were enumerated.

And, u-m-m, what about the meeting that took place even before that on February 15, 2006 at Joplin city Hall? Hey, that would mean that if the request went out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then, only two more years would be left until they issued their response.

Then there was a meeting on March 18, 2009 that concluded that Tri-State was "at a pivotal point and needs to decide where to go from here and how to get there." At that meeting when a "preliminary" report was submitted by Freese and Nichols it was determined that President Bob Nichols was "overwhelmed" and that hiring a staff person with water experience should be considered. We don't remember if that person was hired.

And now there's another meeting planned. Details here.

Hey, these meetings are more mind-numbing than a warm bath; we do have to admit that attending saves water.

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