Pactola Reservoir shows promising signs amidst two-year drought in the Black Hills

The last couple of years have been stressful for farmers and ranchers as the Black Hills went...
The last couple of years have been stressful for farmers and ranchers as the Black Hills went through a drought, but signs show that water levels are going in the right direction.(KOTA KEVN)
Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 6:10 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -The Bureau of Reclamation lists Pactola Reservoir at 99.7 percent, making it near full capacity. Both the Pactola Marina and Rapid Creek also show increased water levels.

Over the past two days ... at the request of the Bureau of Reclamation, the city increased the flows from Pactola Reservoir from thirty cubic feet per second to 60 cubic feet per second.

Jeff Crockett, Superintendent for Rapid City Water Department says Rapid City had one of the most severe droughts in the nineteen-nineties that forced Rapid City to find better ways of conserving water. He hopes that never happens again.

He states “The big drought we had was in the early ninety-nineties and that levels at Pactola went down twenty, thirty, forty, fifty feet, so at that time they instituted water conservation measures that we still use to this day. That is something we have done for the past twenty-plus years and it’s just being good stewards of the water that we have. We have had two dry years right now we are sitting really well. If we have a couple of more dry years, it might be a bit different.”

Crockett says in a severe drought, people should refrain from watering the lawn in the middle of the day and he recommends buying water efficient appliances like low flow faucets and aerators.

“There is a lot of things you can do, you can buy water efficient appliances, you can buy low flush toilets, low usages shower heads. When you brush your teeth don’t leave the sink running. When you do a load of wash or a load of dishes, make sure the loads are completely full. Don’t do half loads, things like that, that really adds up.”

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