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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Monett will be site of reservoir announcement

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monett's east water tower near Lowe's. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Tri-State Water Coalition has scheduled the announcement about plans for future water reservoirs to be made in Monett at 10 a.m. on July 7.

Originally, the Tri-State Water Coalition had planned to announce the results of the technical study done by the Texas-based engineering firm of Freese and Nichols in separate news conferences in Springfield and Joplin on July 7. According to Pete Rauch, chairman of the coalition's technical committee, concerns arose that the message could end up less clear if presented twice under a different battery of questions.

The announcement will be made at the Monett City Park Casino.

Rauch, who serves as the City of Monett's utilities superintendent, said Monett provides a central location for the announcement to be made. Monett also served as the fiscal agent for state funding for the technical study for the coalition, giving the city a leading role in the process.

The Tri-State Water Coalition has been investigating long-term solutions for the water needs of southwest Missouri. One of the proposals developed has been adding major water reservoirs that can supply water for residents and industry at the point when deep wells can no longer do the job.

Whether to use one or more new reservoirs, and where to place them, has been the focus of the Freese and Nichols study. According to reports, the coalition is leaning toward establishing at least two reservoirs for the Springfield and Joplin areas. The Monett vicinity would likely be served off Shoal Creek.

Copies of the engineering report will be released at the news conference.

Rauch and Bob Nichols, president of the Tri-State Water Coalition, explained at the annual water and wastewater conference held last month in Monett that the coalition did not see new reservoirs as the primary solution for area water use. Drawing water from existing lakes is the preferred solution.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls most of the major southwest Missouri lakes, said an answer to the coalition's request to treat and transport lake water could take five to seven years.

"Instead of waiting to hear maybe 'no,' we thought we could start studies on a reservoir," Rauch told those attending the Monett water and wastewater conference.

Since then, Rauch said there have been optimistic developments. Oklahoma officials have agreed to a sunset on state regulations forbidding the transport of water over state lines. Grand Lake of the Cherokees at Grove, Okla., has long been viewed as a logical source of water for the region. Thirty percent of the lake's water comes from Missouri, Rauch said.

Most of the news conference will be a presentation by two engineers from Freese and Nichols on the water study. Dr. John Moore, chairman of the Upper White River Basin Foundation, will provide a summary.

Coalition members estimate that construction of new reservoirs could take as long as 30 years due to federal regulations.

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