Eyes On Water As Drought Worsens

A Little More Than Ninety Percent Of South Dakota Under Dry Conditions

KIMBALL, S.D. — More than half of South Dakota is suffering from a moderate drought.

A third is in severe conditions while four percent are facing extreme dryness.

As conditions continue to worsen, water becomes more essential.

Aurora-Brule Rural Water is the source for several communities livelihood: Pukwana, Kimball, White Lake, Stickney, Plankinton, Gann Valley and Aurora Center.

Manager Wade Blasius said the current conditions have A-B Rural keeping their eyes closer on their tanks and pressure lines.

“Our main concern is having enough water for human consumption and livestock,” said Blasius.

Blasius said A-B Rural has not issued any restrictions, at this point, for residents.

They provide water for 1400 total taps, including farms and pasture taps.

Blasius said these agriculture-centered towns need all the water they can get for their cattle.

“A lot of farmers and ranchers have abandoned their wells and have gone strictly to rural water. With the hot weather, livestock drinks more water and it just requires a bigger demand on the system,” said Blasius.

He also said the last time A-B Rural had to issue any kind of water restriction was in 2006.

“If we get to the point where our line pressures, we’re not able to hold our line pressures and our tank levels, then that’s when we would consider putting on voluntary restrictions,” said Blasius.

Plankinton Mayor Joe Staller said residents have a sense of comfort despite the dryness.

“When we had our own tower and produced our own water, it was a lot more worry. They’re a very reliable source of water for the city,” said Staller.

Staller also said they keep constant communication with A-B Rural about any of their water systems.

“If there’s something wrong, we get an immediate call from those guys. With all the equipment and technology, we’re pretty aware of where we stand on the usage issues,” said Staller.

The restrictions A-B Rural had to place in 2006 were voluntary restrictions, such as recommending residents to use less water for lawn care.

Blasius said they’ve never had to issue any mandatory water restrictions.

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