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County water levels fine despite dry weather

Despite drought conditions for the second year in a row, the Butler County water supply seems to be in good shape. Officials from the Butler County Water Authority say the Ripley Aquifer, from which all four Butler County wells draw water, does experience annual decline in levels, but despite extreme temperatures, and extended periods with no rainfall, the aquifer levels have not fallen more than normal.

Wesely Bass, water systems engineer, said the system has been pumping more water than usual, but each well has been tested and all water levels seem to be holding.

"Our normal average daily pumping has increased about 50 percent because of demand during hot weather," Bass said. "We are pumping about 1.5 million gallons per day right now, and normal consumption is about 1 million gallons per day."

Bass said the water authority uses an electrode well test to measure water levels, and each has been tested this year.

"We have directly measured all of the well levels this year and they are at normal levels," he said. "Consumption has been greatly increased lately but the levels are holding good."

Bass said if he had to identify a "problem" with the current water system would be its lack of storage. He said the system's tanks provide enough storage for current needs, but

future plans include the addition of more tanks to increase the efficiency of the water system.

Bass said the addition of two, 500,000 gallon tanks would allow the authority to use more pumps simultaneously and stockpile more water in response to increased need.

He said a computerized monitoring system controls the entire water system, and turns pumps on and off as the levels in area tanks drop below a certain level. The upgrades, Bass said, will allow the system to operate more efficiently and be more responsive to increased need in certain areas of the county.