For the last few weeks, City officials have asked Kodiak residents and the processing industry to conserve water due to the lowered Monashka reservoir. But after the rainy weather Kodiak has had since late September, City Public Works Director Mark Kozak says the reservoir has almost returned to full capacity.
He says the middle of last week was especially notable for its heavy rain.
“In that couple day period, the reservoir actually came up a full eight feet. It continued to rise, and so now the main reservoir is about five feet low of the spillway. And looks like with the rain that we have projected over the remainder of the week, that we kind of expect it to be full if not spilling by the weekend.”
He says they’re comfortable telling people and members of the processing industry to return to their normal water usage.
“Their efforts really helped. There was a transition in the fisheries, so it’s real hard to put a direct number to it, but we saw a drop-off in water consumption as things were so low, and it really made a lot of difference in stretching out that time until we started getting rain.”
Kozak says this is the first time they’ve faced this type of challenge in the summer. The last time the reservoir dropped significantly was in the winter of 1999, when they were dealing with increased water consumption due to fishing and extreme cold.
And he says a lowered reservoir in summer could happen again.
“I think we need to seriously look at where do we go to increase our water holding capacity, because last winter we had tremendous amounts of rain, but that all runs down the stream and then it’s gone, so maybe we need to hold onto more water if we can to get us through another summer like we just had.”
Kozak says the Monashka system was planned in the 1970s as a three part project and the city used that design to expand the reservoir in 2003 as a reaction to the issues in 1999.
“The remaining concept includes some additional dams, but it actually expands the reservoir holding capacity substantially and we’re in what is basically phase two, so phase three is out there. That would include the Virginia Creek system, and it’s on the neighborhood of doubling again what we currently have.”
He says he hasn’t read through those plans yet, but Public Works is looking at it as a possible future project.