Archive for the ‘Maffitt Reservoir’ CategoryFebruary 1, 2013
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.