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Russell City Council Hears Water Usage Concerns

Quinday City CouncilThe ongoing drought in the area continues to affect the water supply in Russell, and as the Russell City Council heard Tuesday afternoon at its February Work Study, the conditions are beginning to seriously hinder one specific local industry.

Regis Weiss, Plant Manager of White Energy's Wheat Gluten Plant on the north side of Russell, spoke to the Council at the session about the company's water usage. Under the current Stage IV water restrictions, all Russell industries are required to reduce their usage by 25 percent based on an average of the last three years. Weiss expressed that his business cannot sustain any further water reductions.

"If we continue to move along this line and we just continue to ask us to reduce our water usage, you get to the point where we can't operate," Weiss said. "Next August, if the city would ask us to reduce our water usage by 25 percent again, we are to the point where we cannot operate our business as a functional business."

Weiss also reiterated that at the request of the Council, White Energy reduced its use in 2006 during that year's drought and stayed at those levels until reducing its usage another 32 percent last year after the Council again asked for a 25 percent reduction.

The Council will address the issue and review the water restrictions ordinance at its regular monthly meeting in two weeks.

Other items of discussion at Tuesday's Work Study included beginning talk of writing formal policies for city snow removal and the lightning prediction system at the Memorial Park Complex.

Updates on the progression of the Elm Street Waterline Project and the electric system upgrades to city generators and infrastructure were given as well. The waterline project is moving slower than expected because of weather delays said Public Works Director Arlyn Unrein, but the electric system upgrades, updates and repairs are progressing well said Electric Utilities Director Duane Banks.   

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