For two months now, the southeast Iowa town of Crawfordsville has been without water. The town’s water well broke in late June. Since then, the town’s had to truck in water from neighboring communities. Now that school has started, the demand for water is even greater.
Town leaders are wrestling with how to provide a sufficient water supply when they’re running out of money. They’ve asked everyone to cut back on using water, including the school. Vicki Reynolds, the school principal, says they’re doing their best.
“We monitor (students) at the drinking fountains, monitor what we have in our kitchen…full loads of dishes,” Reynolds said. City Councilman Don Brookhart says the town’s brought in an extra truck load of water each day since school started on Monday. “It hurts us because we have to figure out how to pay for the water and the trucking,” Brookhart said.
Each truck full of water costs the city about $165. That adds up to about $500 a day being drained from the city’s coffers. To help pay for the growing cost of busing in water, Mayor Tom Conrad says the city is considering doubling their utility rates.
“What the rates will be I’m not sure,” Conrad said. “We’re going to try and keep them as reasonable as possible.” Crawfordsville resident Larry Black says no one can survive without water even if they’re upset about paying more for it.
“There will probably be a few people disgruntled about it, but the whole thing is…water is something we have to have,” Black said. Mayor Conrad says he’s hoping the state will release about $300,000 in grant money to help the town build a new water pipeline. He hopes that new water system will be in place by November.
Story by Jami Brinton, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids