As temperatures drop, water consumption rises in Wrangell

Wrangell as seen from Mount Dewey on July 24, 2014. (Creative Commons photo by James Brooks)

Water consumption has risen in Wrangell since the recent cold snap. The town is using 150 gallons per minute more than it did last month. That’s about a 50 percent increase in consumption.

Mayor Steve Prysunka believes many households are running their faucets all day long to prevent pipes from freezing.

Prysunka sympathizes with those who need to run their taps, but he appreciates any adjustments.

“Sometimes it doesn’t take much, just some insulation. But at all possible, just watch how much water you use,” he says.

At this time the city is not too concerned about water supplies. The plant is running about half of its max capacity now. The city’s two reservoirs are almost full. But Prysunka recalls last year’s drought, and he’s already thinking about the coming summer. The city has had some serious water shortages.

“Maybe your mayor just has a little post-traumatic stress disorder right now. But it would be nice to go into the spring with reservoirs full and we’re not scraping for water right off the bat,” he says.

January’s snow won’t add much to the reservoirs now, but it will once temperatures rise.