November 26, 2022

Lake levels still dropping

Despite the first measurable snowfall of the season Monday night in Union County, Creston Water Works still noted the falling levels from their sources of water.

During the Creston Water Works board meeting Tuesday, General Manager Steve Guthrie said 3 Mile Lake is down 43 inches from measuring points of water usage. He said 12 Mile is down 8 inches.

“It could have bee a lot of worse if it was’t for the 3 inch rain,” he said about the rainfall since the October meeting. Much of Iowa has been in dry conditions for months.

The lower level of the lakes has changed operations.

“We have dropped down to second intake on Three Mile because we were starting to get to the first intake. We are still about 5 feet above first intake,” Guthrie said. Intakes are where water from the lake enters the system to be treated and distributed.

Guthrie said water from the second intake is easier to treat as water quality is better.

“We are still about 17 feet above the second intake,” he said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor for Iowa on Nov. 10, Union County is abnormally dry. A majority of the state is in moderate drought conditions. Portions of northwest Iowa are in extreme drought.

Water for Southern Iowa Rural Water Association is also taken from Three Mile which reflects the level. Creston Water Works and SIRWA are in negotiations for agreements for providing and supplying water for all their customers. SIRWA is constructing its own water treatment plant east of Creston along U.S. Highway 34 and near Creston Water Work’s plant.

Depending upon construction, SIRWA is expected to have its plant in operation in 2024.

Guthrie said a resignation at the water plant has been replaced by an internal promotion. Guthrie will look to hire an employee.

Board member Mark Eblen asked about staffing.

“We are thin,” Guthrie said about staffing. “We are in a position now we are thin enough. I don’t think we are going to have do anything other than through attrition, resignations and retirements.”

When SIRWA’s plant is operational, Creston Water Works plant will not necessarily need the same staffing.

In other water works news...

Guthrie said Creston Water Works has a 2% water loss when compared to how much water used and how much billed.

Board approved payment of $171,089 for the ongoing infrastructure improvements at 12 Mile.

An account in the 600 block of West Montgomery was approved for a payment plan. The account holder met all the criteria. The account holder claimed a faulty water heater was the source for the leak.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.