WILLISTON, N.D. – Officials here declared a water emergency Tuesday and asked residents of Williams and McKenzie counties to limit water use to essential needs only.
The Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant is operating at a reduced capacity due to the spring rise in the Yellowstone River and heavy rainfall that has increased sediment levels in the Missouri River to historic levels, Mayor Ward Koeser said.
The area’s population growth and industrial demand for water also stress the plant, officials said.
The water being produced by the plant continues to meet all water quality standards and is safe for human consumption. However, if water demand is not reduced and water storage levels continue to decline, the result could be a region-wide boil order, officials said.
“We’re slowly losing ground,” said Monte Meiers, Williston director of public works.
All businesses and residents in Williston, Watford City, Williams Rural Water District and McKenzie County Water Resource District are asked to shut off lawn sprinklers, refrain from washing vehicles and implement other water conservation measures.
Violating the water emergency procedures is a Class B misdemeanor.
Water depots operated by the Western Area Water Supply Authority that provide water to the oil industry will not operate during the emergency. Privately owned water depots are not under the restriction.
The Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant is undergoing an expansion to meet the needs of the growing population. An initial phase of the expansion is expected to be complete by the end of this year or 2014, Meiers said.
The water restrictions could continue for one to two weeks, Koeser said. For more information and updates, visit www.cityofwilliston.com.