If the water out of your tap tastes or smells different, you can probably blame the drought.Experts say it’s so dry, many Iowa drinking water systems are using back-up supplies — and using those alternative water sources means extra effort and extra expense. Bill Koellner of the Army Corps of Engineers office in Rock Island cites Iowa City as an example. Officials there have to use more treatment since the quality of the water is worse before being treated.Koellner says in his 36 years on the job, he’s never seen the Mississippi River so low. Koellner says cities using the Mississippi and its tributaries for drinking water have to boost their treatment process.Koellner and others testified Tuesday at the Governor’s “Drought Task Force” meeting. While rain fell in June and July, it’s been extremely dry ever since. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the drought will be a problem next year for water supplies. He says normal rainfall this winter and spring might bring soil moisture back to normal, but he says the river levels and water tables will take longer to respond.Hillaker says Iowa won’t make up the rain gauge shortfall this winter, as it’s generally the driest time of the year.The Governor’s “Drought Task Force” will meet again in mid-October.
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