March 27, 2009

Lake Sakakawea water an issue at New Town City Council meeting

Lake Sakakawea water an issue at New Town City Council meeting
New Town City Council members didn’t take action last Wednesday on a proposal by Donald, Jack and Steven Pennington to use Missouri River water for an oil depot that would be loecated south of New Town.
The Pennington’s had applied for an industrial use permit through the North Dakota State Water Commission, however, the city of New Town objected the proposal at its February meeting citing concerns over the municipal water supply.
In the Pennington’s application, the request was made for an annual appropriation of 800 acre feet which translates to the approximate rate of 1,000 gallons per minute during the operating season. Council members’ main concern was that it’s nearly the same amount the entire city of New Town uses.
Darrell Casteel, an engineer with Element Solutions in Bismarck, accompanied Donald Pennington to the meeting. He quoted a number of statistics and told the council the proposal is equivalent to that of an irrigation pivot.
He said the Pennington’s would like to use up to 800 acre feet and that the Lake Sakakawea system holds an average of 55 million acre feet, with a minimum of 34 million acre feet and a maximum of 69 million acre feet. Pennington said he currently has an agriculture permit and uses an irrigation pivot that allows up to 680 acre feet of water.
“The Missouri River is great resource, but several thousand cubic feet are going downstream,” Casteel said. “The state wants us to use it. Only 4 percent of that water is appropriated. The rest floats by.”
According to Casteel, 928 billion cubic feet of water per year floats by us on average and is used downstream.
“The numbers put into perspective how much water he (Pennington) wants to pull out of the river,” Casteel said. “Essentially it’s 20 minutes worth of water over the course of a year.”

The Weather Network