The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held its second biennial Water Supply Workshop on May 31 –June 2, 2011 in Savannah, Georgia. The workshop was a gathering of the Water Supply Community of Practice, a loosely organized group of individuals representing a broad spectrum of backgrounds and expertise, all of whom are interested in the policies and procedures employed by the Corps of Engineers in the municipal and industrial water supply mission. Topics ranged from the status of Corps water supply policies to ongoing uses and improvements in water supply models and software.
A water supply workshop was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma June 2-3, 2009. The workshop was a forum for participants to raise questions, share experiences, present their water supply management approaches, and increase their knowledge of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers municipal and industrial water supply program and policies.
New Corps of Engineers projects to meet the growing water supply needs of citizens are not currently being considered. As an alternative to meeting these needs the Corps, based on local requests and required cost sharing, can within certain limits reallocate storage in existing Corps projects from an existing purpose to municipal and industrial water supply. For instance, the Corps is currently in the process of reallocating or studying the reallocations of storage space in several projects around the nation.
One example is the Paintsville reservoir in Kentucky where excess flood control storage is being reallocated to municipal and industrial water supply for use by Paintsville Utilities. This reallocation will provide up to 6 million gallons per day to a five-county area that is served by the utility.
Another example is a Congressionally authorized reallocation at Lake Texoma that will transfer storage space from hydropower to water supply. This reallocation will provide up to 105 million gallons per day to one of the fastest growing areas of North Texas between the city of Dallas and the Oklahoma border.
A third study being undertake is in the vicinity of the metropolitan area of Denver, Colorado where the Corps is working with local sponsors to reallocate about 20,000 acre-feet of storage in the Chatfield project which would provide about 5 million gallons of water per day for municipal and industrial as well as for agricultural uses.
During severe droughts, the Corps can temporarily provide water from its reservoirs to help meet local needs. For example, during the 2002 drought in the Washington, D.C. area the Corps released 3 billion gallons of water from the Jennings-Randolph reservoir to relieve water shortages for about 25 days. Had the drought escalated the reservoir could have provided up to another 3 billion gallons of water.
Following landfall of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region, the Corps was instrumental in providing emergency supplies of potable water and ice to flood and wind-damaged areas. Corps engineers also provided temporary restoration of water supply systems while underlying infrastructure underwent repair.