Archive for the ‘Maffitt Reservoir’ CategoryNovember 6, 2013
Did you know that Des Moines Water Works has owned about 100 acres of farm land at Maffitt Reservoir Park since 1942? In keeping with DMWW’s mission, and knowing that what we do on the land impacts the quality of our source water, we seek to adopt agricultural practices that provide protection to the water and soil resources under our ownership.
This fall, a cover crop was planted on DMWW’s Maffitt farm land. The cover crop was applied using a helicopter that planted seed in a standing soybean field. A mixture of rye (cool season grass/grain non-legumes) and hairy vetch (cool season annual legume) were planted.
Cover crops have been around for centuries, but are gaining in popularity because of their ability to control erosion, improve soil water moisture content, and the natural filtration of water through the soil profile. When the cover crop decays, it provides organic matter to produce beneficial soil organisms for soil fertility and soil health. Healthy soils improve the infiltration of water, leading to less flooding as well as reduced soil erosion and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) leaching. According to an Ohio State University Extension report, Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil and Water Quality (2009), a pound of soil organic matter has the ability to absorb 18–20 pounds of water, reduces nutrient and pesticide runoff by 50% or more, decreases soil erosion by 90%, reduces sediment loading by 75%, and reduces pathogen loading by 60%.
By using cover crops and reducing reliance on agrichemicals for crop production, we help protect the health of family and friends and reduce water quality concerns arising from non-point pollution attributed to farming practices. At a time when the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds suffer from serious degradation due to nutrient contamination, this shift in agricultural systems can play a significant and positive role in revitalizing Iowa’s river systems. For more information about cover crops, visit Practical Farmers of Iowa at http://www.practicalfarmers.org/programs/Field-Crops_cover.php or Midwest Cover Crops Council at http://www.mccc.msu.edu/.
A nature lover’s dream race! The course starts on the east side of Maffitt Lake, near the shoreline. Runners will start up the gravel road and take a right on the doublewide path through a prairie of wildflowers. After two miles, runners enter a short section of single-track trail in the woods near Maffit Drive. At the edge of the lake, runners turn south and run along the scenic shoreline with a few hills sprinkled in. The course continues toward the starting area to enter a shared nature/bridal trail for a short out and back section around the south end of the lake. Runners competing in the 10 Mile Race will complete a second loop.
Registration is available online at www.getmeregistered.com or in person at packet pick-up on Saturday, September 7, or race day from 6:00-7:30 am. In an effort to go green, no paper registrations will be accepted.
$30 by August 1
$35 by September 1
$40 at Packet Pick-up or Race Day
Start and Finish at Maffitt Lake, 12460 Maffitt Lake Road, Cumming, Iowa, 50061. Be prepared for a cross-country style, dirt, gravel and grass trail race.
- Both the 5 and 10 Mile Races will begin promptly at 8:00 am
- The 5 Mile Race will complete the course once and those competing in the 10 Mile Race will complete the course twice.
- Walkers may participate and encouraged to register for the 5 Mile Race.
- The course will remain open for 2 ½ hours.
- Proceeds from this race will be used to purchase signage for Des Moines’ dirt trail systems.
- Additional information is available at www.capitalstriders.com.
Packets will be available for pick-up on Saturday, September 7, from 2:00-5:00 pm at Active Endeavors, located at 4520 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266 or on Race Day from 6:30-7:45 am.
Awards will be presented to the overall males and females of the 5 and 10 Mile Races and to the top three runners in each of the following age groups:
10 & Under (5 Mile)
Thank You to our Sponsors:
Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. For the first time ever, Des Moines Water Works is now allowing the use of canoes and kayaks on the lake. Effective June 1, canoe and kayak enthusiasts now have the opportunity to purchase an annual user permit, which will allow them to launch their watercraft on these pristine waters.
The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.
The annual boat permit can be purchased at Des Moines Water Works General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines, for $20.00. No motors or sails of any kind will be allowed, which will help ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.
In addition to the land used for the lake itself, Des Moines Water Works maintains hundreds of acres surrounding the lake in an effort to protect the watershed. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres that comprise Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park.
Located southwest of Des Moines, Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.
Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.
For more information on the use of canoes and kayaks on Maffitt Lake, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.
With continued concerns about drought and a desire to ensure mechanisms are in place with the State of Iowa and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Saylorville, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) requested the release of water from Saylorville on January 16. For six hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., about 5 million gallons of water was released at a rate of 30 cubic feet per second (cfs = 7.5 fluid gallons). To prepare for possible drought conditions again this summer, DMWW wanted to ensure that a future release could occur in a timely fashion.
In 1982, DMWW signed agreements with the State of Iowa and the United States of America in regards to water storage space in Saylorville Reservoir. DMWW paid $2.4 million for the storage rights, and we continue to pay $100,000 per year for maintaining a pumping facility.
“Des Moines Water Works has never exercised the process of releasing our water supply at Saylorville Reservoir,” said Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. “But given last year’s drought conditions, including poor water quality while in short supply, it is in our best interest to test the procedures to protect all our water resources for our ratepayers.”
The State of Iowa has the right to request the release of 18.86% of the volume of water in Saylorville when levels are between 812-836-feet. Two-thirds of that volume would be for DMWW purposes and the other one-third for Alliant Energy in Ottumwa.
There are two components to water release from Saylorville Reservoir:
- Water quality release – this release ensures that there is enough water to support the wildlife habitat in and along the river.
- Water supply release – the potential additional water release for Des Moines Water Works and Alliant Energy. Saylorville has a specific release plan in place for varying water levels.
The water released from Saylorville Reservoir directly benefits both the Fleur Drive and Saylorville Treatment Plants. DMWW can also release water from Maffitt Reservoir to benefit the L.D. McMullen Treatment Plant as needed, too.
Other proactive measures are already in place in the event of continued drought conditions. DMWW has acquired permits to dredge parts of the Des Moines River if the channel is not bringing enough water to our intake at Prospect Park. We also have a permit to dredge part of the Raccoon River to impact the channel by the flooding station to keep the recharge ponds and Gallery maximized.
Des Moines Water Works plans to meet all of our customer needs by these increasing available supplies of water, but if the drought continues, asking the public to conserve water, particularly in regards to lawn irrigation, may once again be requested.
In 1935, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) started to consider storing Raccoon River water as an alternative water source when river levels were low. Following substantial drought conditions in 1939 and 1940, DMWW identified a sight for construction of a reservoir.
In 1942, Neumann Brothers Construction of Des Moines received the bid and surveying and construction began immediately. With the assistance of DMWW’s Grounds staff, Neumann completed construction of the lake and dam nearly a year and a half later. It was named the Dale Maffitt Reservoir in honor of the then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. In 2000, DMWW began operating the L. D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population.
In addition to the land used for the lake itself, DMWW purchased hundreds of acres surrounding the lake, in an effort to protect the watershed and ultimately the drinking water to the best of its ability. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres in and around the reservoir and river.
The park is a nature lovers dream. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.
In 2001, DMWW constructed permanent restrooms, installed wild flower areas and seal coated the park roads. Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem in the Des Moines area.
Maffitt Reservoir Park is located southwest of Des Moines – take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.
Maffitt Reservoir Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). For a complete list of park rules and regulations, visit http://www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir/
Photo by Christopher A. Knisley – Freelance Wildlife Photographer
As long as Des Moines Water Works has been in existence, protecting the water resources from pollution and assuring an adequate supply of water well into the future has been utmost importance. Thanks to the utility’s founding fathers – not to mention employees throughout the years – the growth of Des Moines Water Works has kept pace with the expanding needs of the community.
In 1884, the company began constructing an infiltration gallery system that would use groundwater from the Raccoon River. The infiltration gallery was the only water source at the time.
By 1919, the water supply grounds covered approximately 470 acres.
In 1925, when the Board of Water Works Trustees purchased 334 acres of land south of the Raccoon River, west of S.W. 30th Street, General Manager Charles Denman stated that the newly acquired land would insure a potential water supply large enough for a city twice the size of Des Moines.
Gradually, additional land (now known as Water Works Park) bordering the Raccoon River on both sides, extending to 63rd Street (city limits) was purchased to protect the source water and to extend the infiltration gallery.
In April of 1933, Water Works Park was opened to the public. At that time, the water supply grounds covered 1,400 acres. (Today, it spans 1,500 acres.)
Foreseeing a need for an emergency source of water, construction of a water storage reservoir near the Raccoon River southwest of Commerce began in 1943 (Maffitt Reservoir). Dale Maffitt, General Manager, was quoted in the Des Moines Tribune as saying it will insure an adequate water supply for Des Moines for many years to come.
Obviously, planning for the future didn’t end in the 1940s. Within the last 12 years, two additional water treatment facilities have been constructed. The L. D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir began operation in 2000. Today, this water plant serves customers in southwest Des Moines, parts of Xenia and Warren Water Systems, Waukee and parts of Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines. The Saylorville Water Treatment Plant went online in 2011 serving customers north of Des Moines. Long-range plans have been developed, future demand has been projected, and staff continues to prepare for the future, assuring there will be an adequate supply of water.
Water is the vital resource to support all forms of life. Unfortunately, water is not evenly distributed by location or by the season of the year. Some areas of the country are more arid and water is a scarce and precious commodity. Other areas of the country receive more than adequate amounts of rain causing occasional floods and loss of life and property. Throughout history, dams and reservoirs have been constructed to collect, store and manage the supply of water to sustain civilization.
The primary benefit of dams and reservoirs is water supply. Reservoirs also provide benefits such as flood control, recreation, scenic beauty, fish and wildlife habitat and, at some dams, hydro-electric power. Currently there are about 45,000 dams higher than 50 feet throughout the world. While some are more than 2,000 years old, over 70% have been built in the last 50 years.
The Maffitt Dam was constructed by Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) as an emergency water supply. Construction started in August 1943 and the dam was completed in March 1945. Water was pumped from the Raccoon River to fill the reservoir. Maffitt Reservoir stores 1.57 billion gallons of water. The original plan was to store water in the reservoir that could be released during periods of low flow in the Raccoon River. The current plan is to use water from the reservoir as an emergency raw water source for the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant.
In May of 1982, DMWW entered into a contract with the State of Iowa to purchase storage capacity in the Saylorville Reservoir. DMWW paid a portion of the Saylorville Reservoir construction costs and makes annual payments for a portion of the operational costs. These payments give DMMW access to 3.2 billion gallons of Saylorville Reservoir water that can be utilized in a drought situation.
Between the Maffitt and Saylorville Reservoirs, DMWW has access to 4.77 billion gallons of water to meet the water needs of our customers in the event of an emergency or drought situation.
You may wonder why a water utility would need more online presence than a website. Des Moines Water Works’ (DMWW) social media endeavor is in alignment with our 2010-2014 Strategic Plan. We realize the way the world communicates has changed, and we want to be where our customers are. If that means participating in blogging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we’re ready to be there.
Our management team is very much on board with this new initiative, and on this blog you’ll be hearing from many employees from every corner of our organization. From the treatment plants to the Botanical Center, to Water Works Park, we’re bringing the best insights from our people directly to you. We hope you enjoy this blog, and comment frequently. We’re listening.
What do we hope to accomplish?
- Increase public awareness of the value of water
- Promote stewardship of our natural resources
- Post current DMWW news
- Promote events at the Botanical Center and in the parks
- Educate water consumers
- Inform the public of our involvement and initiatives with various associations
- Share pertinent information about the Utility (Did you know DMWW was recognized by Forbes in 2008 for having the highest quality drinking water in the USA?)
- Attract qualified applicants, and
- Interact with the community, residential and business customers, industry and government partners
We welcome your feedback. Are there topics of particular interest to you? Let us know how we can improve service to you, our customers.