Even though January was a dry month, the City of Ripon still did its part to conserve water.
According to Ted Johnston, who is the director of public works, folks cut water use by 34 percent in January as compared to a year prior.
He’s putting together a water usage comparison report that he’ll soon provide to the Ripon City Council.
At last week’s meeting, elected leaders also heard the domestic well site investigation as presented by Larry Ernst by Wood Rodgers, Inc.
As the principal hydrologist, he gave assessment looks at the water quality in an effort to help the city locate new wells while improve existing wells.
Ripon entered into an agreement with the Sacramento-based Wood Rodgers last August.
“There are four good wells and potential for a couple more that could provide water for decades to come,” Ernst said.
His assessment was conducted in two stages.
Phase I consisted of reviewed data and the recommendation of new well site locations. Phase II was the exploration drilling of test holes and monitoring for new wells.
Ernst’s preliminary conclusion was that the water quality of the wells above the Corcoran clay – that’s the compression layer separating the upper and lower aquifer, he indicated – has high level of nitrates.
The water quality below 600 feet have increased total dissolved solids that’s unacceptable, according to Ernst, while two other existing wells – No. 5 and No. 12 – appear to be conduits connecting the shallow aquifers with the intermediate aquifers.
He recommended modifying No. 5 to stop the inter-aquifer flow, drilling and monitoring a test site for new wells in the Mistlin Sports Complex, monitoring existing well No. 11 plus doing a detailed assessment of No. 12.
Mayor Leo Zuber asked if No. 12 was contributing to the contamination at the lower level. “If so, can it be saved?” he said.
He was assured by Ernst that the site is a good structure. “I would like to see if it modified and saved (as an option),” Ernst added.
Meanwhile, Johnston noted that No. 14 has high nitrate levels and is currently offline due to state requirements. “Well No. 9 needs work, but it is a potable source – the City uses non-potable wells for irrigation, at this time,” he said.
The overall goal is to make the wells last as long as possible. “Other cities have been successful in picking new well sites and reviving existing wells,” said Ernst.
He also painted the Ripon water wells as “pretty good” compared to other groundwater basins in the Central Valley.”
Since the 1960s, the levels of these water wells have bounced back and forth, going from drought seasons to El Nino where supply is in abundant.
“It’s down a little bit right now,” Ernst said. “The (Ripon) groundwater basin is a resilient area.”