Our View: Gilligan won’t be there, but take the three-hour water tour anyway

October 9, 2018

The bad news is that Wednesday’s water tour is full. The good news is that if there is enough interest, a new tour will be scheduled.

It’s a tour that every Lake Havasu City resident should take. The field trip would yield a crystal clear understanding of where our water comes from, how it’s treated before and after it’s used, and where it goes after that.

There are three stops on the tour; it takes just shy of three hours. The municipal water department hosts the event, which begins at the collector well, proceeds to the treatment plant and ends at the wastewater treatment plant.

By the way, that collector well is the largest of its kind in the United States. At 16 feet in diameter, it runs 103 feet into the ground. It is a monster, with 14 lateral pipes that pump in 14 million to 17 million gallons of water each day to meet Havasu’s needs.

Because water is scarce in the arid Southwest, it’s important to know how carefully the “liquid gold” is handled in our community. It’s easy to be apathetic about our water supply because Havasu does not have mandatory water conservation – yet. It is coming. It’s also hard to believe there is a water supply problem because we see a big, beautiful lake full of sparkling water every single day.

The truth is that only a very, very small portion of Lake Havasu’s water “belongs” to Havasu’s 53,000 residents. The lion’s share of it is distributed to millions of people in Arizona and Southern California. Because Havasu’s water allocation is extremely limited and mighty precious, the water must be handled very carefully every step of the way. Residents who truly understand the process will gain a new appreciation for the phrase, “Good to the last drop.”

Havasu youngsters are already way ahead of adult residents on the subject of the city’s water supply. Hundreds of 6th grade students take the same three-stop tour each year and can tell you all about it. But you really should see it for yourself. Still, not everyone can be available for a weekday tour, so there are a couple of other options.

For starters, plan to attend a city council work session Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the police facility. Doyle Wilson, the city’s water resources coordinator, will report to council members on the current state of Havasu’s water situation. A city council meeting follows Wilson’s hour-long presentation.

The next option will appeal to those who are unable to take the water tour but have internet access. Visit havasuwatersavers.org and take a virtual field trip by clicking on “Follow the Water.” It will explain and illustrate every step, including origin, the pre-use treatment process, distribution, post-use treatment and reuse of the community’s water supply.

To add your name to an upcoming tour list, call Briana Morgan at 928-854-0880.

— Today’s News-Herald

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