More moisture affects Rapid City's water budget

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RAPID CITY, S.D, (KEVN) - Moisture from all the storms is helping lawns stay hydrated means less use of sprinklers which could impact Rapid City's nearly $20.8 million water budget.

Fewer people are watering their lawns because recent storms are keeping the grounds hydrated. (KEVN)

Lawns are looking green thanks to consistent rainfall this season.

While mother nature is helping keep water bills low for residents, it poses a problem for the city.

Water Division Superintendent Jeff Crockett said they make the most revenue in July, August and September because they're high water usage months. But he said if they fall short on water revenue, they cut back on capital improvement projects and equipment like dump trucks or backhoes.

In 2017, Crockett said they produced 3.9 billion gallons of water.

However, he said 2018 was the third wettest year in history and saw a 17 percent drop in water use by producing 3.25 billion gallons of water instead.

He said so far it looks like this year's numbers are correlating with last year. But Crockett is noticing an influx of a different type of phone call.

"A lot of people are seeing water in their basements. For the first time that they have ever seen it before. So they're calling us. They think it may be a water main break. We've been going out on a lot of those calls. We'll test the water, we'll test the main and generally, it's groundwater," Crockett said.

Rapid City Communications Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker said parks and cemeteries are on a controlled irrigation system. Therefore, if rain ends up watering the grounds, sprinklers will adjust and shut off.