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Southwest Water pipeline customers asked to conserve water due to power outages

The Southwest Water Authority is asking that all communities, contract customers and rural customers served by the Southwest Pipeline Project conserve water and turn off all non-essential water sources because of power outages. All industrial sales are also suspended until further notice.

The water conservation measures have affected more than 50,000 people in 31 communities and will remain in effect until further notice, Southwest Water Authority Manager and CEO Mary Massad said.

"Our water intake is Lake Sakakawea water," Massad said. "We share an intake with Basin Electric. We lost power last night up there. We're still trying to restore power. Until power is restored, we are on water conservation measures system wide."

A pumping station near Dodge was out, as was a treatment center near Zap. However, there is plenty of water in the reservoir, Massad said. The Zap treatment center services Oliver, Mercer and north Dunn counties.

A tank in Halliday that was damaged by wind Monday night is out of commission, Massad said.

"Wind does that," she said. "It's happened to us in the past."

Counties served by the Southwest Water pipeline are Stark, Adams, Bowman, Billings, Dunn, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, Mercer, Morton, Oliver and Slope.

"We still are treating water here in Dickinson and that serves most of our communities," Massad said.

Massad expected power to be restored shortly when speaking with The Press on Tuesday afternoon, but said talks were in place to bring generators to the site if power was not restored in time.

"This is the first time in 22 years we've ever had an unplanned power outage up there," Massad said when asked why there weren't generators already in place. "It's always been felt that it's been a very stable area, as far as power supply."

The oil industry will be most affected, as bulk sales will be suspended until service is fully restored, Massad said.

"They'll be able to hook up to raw water sooner than treated water, but we have all frack sales -- if they have ground water sources, they can still use those -- but as far as treated water off our system, they won't be able to use that at least for a few days," Massad said. "Raw water, I'm not sure yet. It depends on how much we flow and how much we need to treat for people."

Citizens are asked to conserve water by refraining from nonessential activities like washing their car or watering their lawn. If all goes well full service should be restored in a day or two.

"I appreciate people's support and cooperation and we'll have water on as soon as possible," Massad said. "It's not like water's out -- but conservation measures are greatly appreciated until we get things back where they need to be."

Communities in the service area affected include: Beach, Belfield, Carson, Center, Dickinson, Dodge, Dunn Center, Elgin, Gladstone, Glen Ullin, Golden Valley, Golva, Halliday, Hazen, Hebron, Hettinger, Manning, Medora, Mott, New England, New Hradec, New Leipzig, Reeder, Regent, Richardton, Scranton, Sentinel Butte, South Heart, Stanton, Taylor, Zap.

Contract customers impacted: Assumption Abbey, Billings County, Home on the Range, Lakeshore Estates, Leland Olds Station - Basin Electric, MBI Energy Services, Missouri West Water System, Northern Improvement, Perkins County Rural Water System, Red Trail Energy, Sacred Heart Monastery, Target Logistics, West Medora Campground.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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