Water crisis over at last, says city

Meals Reservoir, though still 6 feet below the spillway, is slowly being replenished. (Sept. 3, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Meals Reservoir, though still 6 feet below the spillway, is slowly being replenished. (Sept. 3, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

The month-long water conservation effort that had residents skipping showers and wearing unwashed clothes is now over, says Samantha Greenwood, director of public works.

As fishing has slowed, water usage has fallen from around 3.2 million gallons per day to 1.6 million gallons on Sept. 6. Water is no longer being drawn from Eyak Lake, and Meals Reservoir, though still low, has recently risen by 3 feet. The city doesn’t anticipate having to pump water from Eyak Lake again in 2019, Greenwood said.

“Water conservation is always a good practice, and we’re still being conscious, but it’s no longer so urgent,” she said.

Canneries did an exemplary job conserving water this year, Greenwood said. While 2019 usage peaked at 3.2 million gallons per day, in 2018, canneries sometimes consumed up to 3.5 million gallons per day while processing the same volume of fish.

“The people of Cordova did a great job,” Greenwood said. “It was much appreciated by the water staff and the city.”

As heavier rains arrive, Meals Reservoir will return to its typical level, Greenwood said.