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Extreme drought: CU to begin pumping water from Stockton Lake next week

Springfield News-Leader logo Springfield News-Leader 10/10/2020 Wes Johnson, Springfield News-Leader
a rocky beach next to a body of water: City Utilities will begin pumping water from Stockton Lake to Fellows Lake (pictured) due to severe drought conditions in Springfield. © Andrew Jansen/News-Leader City Utilities will begin pumping water from Stockton Lake to Fellows Lake (pictured) due to severe drought conditions in Springfield.

With the Springfield area now officially in severe drought conditions, City Utilities plans to begin pumping water from Stockton Lake to Fellows Lake to help replenish one of Springfield's main sources of water.

Bob Wilson, CU director of water operations, said the utility is "keeping a close eye on lake levels and the drought impact to the water system."

"At this point, we’re anticipating that we will start pumping from Stockton Lake sometime next week," Wilson said. "Other than testing, we have not used the Stockton Lake supply this year."

The Fellows Lake level has dropped significantly in recent weeks. Wilson said CU will use one of its three big electric-powered pumps at Stockton Lake to deliver 8 million gallons of water a day to Fellows Lake.

Stockton Lake water flows through the 30-mile, 36-inch-wide Nuccitelli pipeline that CU built in 1996 to meet Springfield's future water needs. It pours into Fellows Lake on the north side of the lake, and CU then pumps Fellows Lake water to a treatment plant in town.

CU can turn on additional pumps at Stockton Lake if more water is needed.

"We’ll continue to monitor the supply to determine if we need to increase the amount of water coming from Stockton," Wilson said Friday. "We always want to remind not only CU customers but everyone to use water wisely."

diagram: Portions of southwest Missouri are now in extreme drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service. © NWS Portions of southwest Missouri are now in extreme drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

Customer demand for water typically declines in the fall as people stop irrigating their lawns. But with no rain in the forecast at least for the next five days, the drought is likely to continue to intensify.

In a news release Friday, the National Weather Service said drought conditions have developed and deepened across the Missouri Ozarks over the past month.

a group of people on a beach near a body of water: City Utilities will begin pumping water from Stockton Lake to Fellows Lake (pictured) due to severe drought conditions in Springfield. © Andrew Jansen/News-Leader City Utilities will begin pumping water from Stockton Lake to Fellows Lake (pictured) due to severe drought conditions in Springfield.

"The lack of rainfall over the past 30 to 60 days has allowed for Extreme Drought (D3) conditions to develop," NWS said.

According to the latest Drought Situation Report, extreme drought now impacts portions of southwestern Greene, western Christian, northern Stone and parts of Lawrence and Barry Counties.

Little to no rain is forecast over the next 7 days as a generally dry weather pattern is expected. 

Forecasts also show the path of Hurricane Delta will take it through Arkansas but won't bring any rain to southwest Missouri. 

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Extreme drought: CU to begin pumping water from Stockton Lake next week

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