A.F. Water Works Issues – Part 2

Our City

by A.F. Mayor Rebekah Sorensen

(Part 1 can be found at www.cityofamericanfalls.com)

First off, I have to give a shout-out to the A.F. Police Department, Power County Sheriff’s Office, and amazing firefighters for the dedication and hard work they give 24/7 — and specifically in the last dry, flammable month. These brave individuals run toward danger and disasters instead of away from them. Their vital roles and efforts to protect and preserve all of us come at the expense of their personal time, comfort, and safety. They leave their families at a moment’s notice to serve and save others. They are constantly put in unpleasant, hazardous situations, yet they are relentlessly criticized for doing too much and/or not doing enough. Seeing the inner-workings of first-responders and law enforcement has opened my eyes and given me a new appreciation of the sacrifice required in these lines of work, and I am so SO incredibly grateful.

Independence Day weekend was great, but it felt long for those of us worried about dry conditions and the fire risks posed by fireworks. THANK YOU to those families that respected the high fire risk and the state law prohibiting aerial fireworks. There were a couple small fires, but disaster has been averted for now. The high fire risk will continue on this summer, and I will continue to pray for rain and no more devastating fires!

Heaven forbid there is a large fire in town, but did you know that most of the city water lines don’t meet the minimum required sizing to supply fire hydrants per Idaho State Code? That’s right, the four-inch pipe under most of American Falls is undersized and out of compliance for fire suppression. Along with that, did you know we are exceeding our water-pumping capacity in the city as it is now? How much help would our hydrants be in a fire if we continue to use water excessively and the pumps are already maxed out when the need arises? These questions keep me up at night.

American Falls owns plenty of water rights to accommodate future growth, but our pumping capacity is already at its limit because we already use more than twice the state average of gallons of water per person per day….more than TWICE! It’s time to have a hard look at water conservation and have a unified effort! We absolutely must cut our water consumption or water meters will be inevitable.

I will have suggestions and recommendations for saving water next week and ongoing. For this week, watch how you and your family use water. Do you overwater your lawn? Are their leaks in your home that need fixing? Does your pre-teen wish to shower as long as humanly possible like mine? Start to notice the little things, and it may surprise you.

Our next water working group meeting is Tuesday, July 27, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers in A.F. City Hall. I invite anyone and everyone who wishes to understand these issues in depth to please join us that evening. Put it on your calendar, and I hope to see you there!

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