The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

August 26, 2009

Coalition continuing to look for alternative water sources

By Wally Kennedy

Marshall Long, who lives along Indian Creek in McDonald County, listened carefully Wednesday night as speaker after speaker talked about the pressure that is being placed on the Ozark aquifer to provide increasing amounts of water in the Tri-State Area.

One speaker said some communities, such as Noel and Carthage, might find themselves without sufficient water if water usage increased by as little as 1 percent annually each year from 2007 to 2057.

But Long paid particular attention to comments by Pete Rauch, public works director at Monett and a member of the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition. The coalition was formed in 2002 in response to a study that suggested the Joplin area could face a groundwater shortage in the future during a period of serious drought.

Since then, the coalition has explored the possibility of obtaining water from other sources. The coalition has found that it has two options: It can get water from a new reservoir or from a place where surface water is already being impounded, such as Table Rock Lake or Grand Lake of the Cherokees.

Long, whose property along Indian Creek would be flooded if a reservoir were constructed there, was relieved when he heard Rauch say that the coalition is actively pursuing water from an existing impoundment.

“My main concern was finding out more about the status of building a reservoir,” Long said. “I was encouraged by what he (Rauch) said. I don’t think I will have to deal with it in my lifetime.”

As for what he learned during the meeting, he said: “I understand there is an issue with the water. These people have re-emphasized that by putting all of the information in one place. It looks to me that water will become as valuable as fuel some day.”

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Carthage, Jasper County