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Dickinson area does not face any water restrictions

The Dickinson area is not currently under any sort of water restrictions.

In fact, Mary Massad, manager and CEO of Southwest Water Authority (SWA), said water use is down right now and there is plenty of water available. City Administrator Shawn Kessel also said city residents do not face any restrictions on their water usage.

The investments the city has made in water distribution and the storage system in the last five years are paying off, Kessel said.

"Our partnership with Southwest Water to create the finished water pump station has increased our ability to get water out to the storage facilities quicker, out to the residents quicker and then of course we have more storage via water towers than we've ever have before," he said. "That's really what's made the difference between Dickinson of five years ago and Dickinson today in our ability to handle a drought."

Rural SWA customers who use a lot of water, such as for large-scale spraying or watering livestock, will now face higher charges if they exceed their allocated amount, Massad said. This only affects about 200 of SWA's 7,000 customers who may exceed their 25,000-gallon, 50,000-gallon or more monthly allotments.

Right now, SWA customers pay a base amount and then $4.84 per 1,000 gallons of water. Once they exceed their limit, they will be billed at a higher rate for additional water usage, Massad said.

Starting July 1, residents exceeding their designated amount will be charged more, which they will see on their bill toward the end of July. The charge is not due to the drought or concerns over water availability in the area but rather because of how SWA's hydraulic model works, Massad said. It can be difficult to meet the needs in certain areas at certain times with the given system.

Both the city's and Southwest's water comes from Lake Sakakawea to the north. It comes from pipes to SWA's treatment plant and is then distributed to the city's finished water pump station. The city then takes the water and puts it in storage lines or delivers it to customers, Kessel said.

The water quality in the area is also noteworthy, Massad said, adding SWA places top 10 in the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.

"We win water quality and taste contests statewide, nationally and internationally," Massad said. "People can rest assured that they have good-quality water."