The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 19, 2012

Drought forces water company in Joplin to impound more water

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — With no relief from the drought in sight, the Missouri-American Water Co. took steps today to increase the amount of water held in its Grand Falls impoundment on Shoal Creek.

The company installed new wooden slats atop the concrete dam. The slats increase the depth of the impoundment behind the dam by 2 feet, adding  approximately 68 million gallons of water to the reservoir.

The increase in the impoundment will take place over a period of about 24 hours.

The impoundment serves as Joplin’s primary source of water. The company augments that source with water from a series of deep wells.

“This is a precautionary measure in case we need it,’’ said Matt Barnhart, manager of the utility.

The original slats were in storage when they were destroyed by the May 22, 2011 tornado. The company purchased cypress boards and constructed new slats. The new slats were tested today to make certain they retained water, but permitted enough water to flow through to maintain an adequate water level downstream from the dam.

“They’re working just fine,’’ said Barnhart. “We wanted to try them before we needed them. Now that they’re in, we’re just going to leave them there.’’