The lack of snow and rain this winter has put Central Minnesota in an unusual situation in March.  St. Cloud Public Services Director Tracy Hodel joined me on WJON.  She explains typically March-May is when they see the highest flow/production from the Mississippi River but right now they are at 20% below average for this time of year.  Hodel says due to the rain events we had around the Christmas holiday the water flow in the river was above average from December-February but that has now changed.  The Christmas rain event at the Drinking Water Treatment Facility was a tough one according to Hodel.  She explains the colder temperatures slows the treatment process which can be a common culprit for taste and odor issues.

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The water levels in the Mississippi River are also impacted in St. Cloud by the amount precipitation north of St. Cloud since the river flows south.  Hodel says northern Minnesota received more rain/snow than we did but they were still below their average amounts.  She says if conditions remain similar with a lack of rain this spring the city will have to make some tough decisions in regards to water conservation.  Hodel indicates it is rare for the city to be looking at water conversation in March but that is what they are doing.  She explains since St. Cloud takes our drinking water from the Mississippi River we are in better shape than other area cities who get their drinking from ground water.

Hodel says the city has a drought management plan they follow but they also monitor the DNR's drought monitor.  She says they also work with area cities and Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Hodel explains they discuss what other impacted communities are doing and that leads them to what they choose to do.  She says information on what the city is doing in regards to drought can be found in press releases and on their blog.  Hodel says we don't need to be in a declared drought for people to take water conversation measures.  She strongly encourages people to not water their lawns right now.  Hodel says until the grass is green, it's dormant.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Tracy Hodel it is available below.



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