Flint, MI– The city of Flint announced that an additional backup water storage system is scheduled to begin operating later this year, following a recent dip in water supply. 

On March 11, city officials asked residents to conserve water usage for five days after “recent extreme temperatures” led to water main breaks. Those breaks impacted water storage supply in the Cedar Reservoir and water tower, the city stated in a press release. 

“Extreme weather changes can often place a strain on the City’s underground water pipelines  causing them to expand and contract to the point of breaking,” the release stated. “When the pipelines break, water usage tends to increase, causing a reduction in the City’s stored water supply.”

According to the release, average water usage per day in Flint has increased by about one million gallons following water main breaks that occurred at the beginning of this year. The city used to use about “9.6 to 10 million” gallons of water per day, but now averages more than 11 million gallons per day. 

With the increase in water usage, the supply in the reservoir decreased by almost half, going from 18 million to 10 million gallons of stored water. The city likes to keep the reservoir between 18 and 20 million gallons of water, the release stated. 

On March 17, the city thanked residents for taking steps like “not running the water while brushing teeth,” to help conserve water and get the supply levels back to normal.

“As a result of the collective efforts of residents and business owners, the City is pleased to announce that its back-up water storage supply has returned to normal operating levels,” the release stated. 

To prevent these issues in the future, the city is working to provide an additional backup water storage system with the construction of the Dort Reservoir and Pumping Station, which should begin operating in late 2022.

“The new back-up system along with the Cedar Reservoir and Pumping Station and the elevated water tower would better ensure a continued water supply to residents and businesses in the future, in the event of an emergency,” the release stated. 

For water emergencies, questions, or concerns with water service call (810) 766-7202 [water] and (810) 766-7079 [sewer]. These lines are monitored 24/7. For non-emergency questions or concerns email water@cityofflint.com. 

Amy Diaz

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...