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Billings water supply good this year during hot summer

Water treatment plant.jpg
Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 00:15:09-04

A year ago at this time, because of the drought, the city of Billings asked citizens to limit water use.

This year, temperatures have been hot, but the water treatment plant expects to continue to meet the increased demand.

The city's water treatment plant can pump about 60 million gallons of water a day to Billings.

"That's about 120 feet of water over the plane surface of a football field every single day," said Louis Engels, city of Billings water quality superintendent.

Engels says the plant has not reached that 60 million gallon capacity.

"The highest we've reached is about three-quarters of capacity," Engels said.

Last year, the city asked citizens to ration water.

"July between this year and last year, we're about 17% lower in total water used to date," Engels said.

According to Drought Monitor, none of Yellowstone County was drought free in 2021. Compared to this year, 100% of the county is drought free.

"Typically, we'll run at capacity maybe for a couple of weeks during the year," Engels said. "Last year, it was an extended period of time, about three months all summer long. Even from early June, we were seeing these incredibly high demands."

Engels says this summer looks much better with the cooler days and rain that came before the hot days. And he says the citizens helped last year with rationing, which probably will not have to be done this year.

"I wouldn't expect any water restrictions at this point," Engels said. "Obviously, I don't know what the future is going to hold, but we're sure looking a lot better than we were last year."