By Tim Leeds
Havre water plant superintendent Jeff Jensen is asking people to limit their water use to household purposes until further notice, especially during the beginning of next week when the water plant will be off-line.
The levels of the Milk River and Fresno Reservoir are so low, Jensen said, that if people start watering their lawns and washing cars before the river level comes up, it could hurt the communities east of Havre that rely on the Milk for municipal water.
"We've got to worry about the people downstream," he said.
Water should be reaching Fresno soon from where it is being released upstream at the St. Mary Diversion, Jensen said, but the federal Bureau of Reclamation will have to fill the reservoir before it starts releasing more into the river downstream. The bureau manages Fresno, part of its irrigation project on the Milk River.
Water use will have to be limited even more Monday through Wednesday, Jensen said, while the water plant is shut down so workers can tie in some of the new lines that are part of the plant upgrade. The plant is expected to be back on line by Wednesday.
While the water plant is shut down for the tie-in, Havre's only source of water will be from the city's storage tanks.
Havre has about 7 million gallons of stored water, enough to last three or four days with minimal household use.
The plant upgrade will nearly double the daily capacity of the plant, from about 3.5 million gallons a day to about 6.1 million gallons.
There will be more tie-ins requiring the plant to be shut down later on, Jensen said. The plant will notify Havre water users when those shutdowns, each lasting two or three days, are needed.