Air in the water lines coming from Goessel’s south pump created a water restriction situation two weeks ago for citizens of that town. According to City Maintenance Director Karen Dalke, water restrictions will remain in effect until test results confirm that all systems are running as they should.
“We’re really not sure what happened,” Dalke said. “It is true that our water source is drying up, but that is not the reason behind the water warning.”
According to Dalke, Goessel’s water comes from the High Plains Aquifer, which supplies several Marion County Water Districts. Drought in the past two years decreased the amount of water in the aquifer, causing the table to shift.
City Secretary Paula Flaming confirmed that water in the aquifer, which also supplies several McPherson County communities like Moundridge and Hesston with water, was not in abundant supply.
“Everyone has water rights,” she said. “But there is a lot of irrigation that comes out of that aquifer near Moundridge, and technically, there is just less water to go around than there used to be.”
Dalke said the position of Goessel’s three well pumps may be creating the water crisis, as they are not reaching deep enough into the equus beds.
“Our wells west of town are very shallow,” Dalke said. “They are only 40 feet deep and they only reach down into the first 14 feet of water.”
City Clerk Anita Goertzen issued a citywide water warning June 11 after making an emergency call to Dalke about air in the city lines. The warning was approved at a Goessel City Council meeting.
“I went over and checked the south well and it was dry,” Dalke said. “Now it could be because we did not have our rotation set right and that well had been pumping very hard for 19 hours straight.”
Since then, Dalke established a new well-pump rotation, and that, combined with the water restrictions, resulted in adequate water supply for citizen needs.
“Everything seems to working just fine now,” she said. “But we want to be careful not to create a problem, so we are continuing with the restrictions.”
Flaming said the water restriction meant Goessel residents with odd addresses could water lawns or use other water for other than daily needs on odd number days. Residents with even addresses could use extra water on even days.
“We’ve also restricted the larger users like the schools, the football field, the recreation ball diamonds, and businesses to 50 percent of their normal usage and asked them to water after 9 p.m. only,” she said.
Dalke indicated that she called the well company that drilled the Goessel wells in 1962, Lane-Christianson, and they were sending personnel out soon to test the pumps.
“We know the wells are getting older and we are really not sure what the problem is,” she said. “It could be that a casing has collapsed but is still working minimally, or a screen could be plugged. They are going to run a camera and test them.”
Dalke said once the pumps were tested, depending on the results, water restrictions might be lifted, but it was too soon to tell.
“We would really like to be able to lift the restrictions, but we have to wait for the testing to be done,” she said. “The last thing we want to do is create a situation where people don’t have enough water to shower or get a drink.”