Wrangell officials are asking residents to reduce water consumption because of a shortage at the community’s reservoirs.
Water levels at both reservoirs are low for this time of year due to a lack of spring rainfall and snowpack runoff.
Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch said reservoir levels dropped quickly and are now falling more slowly.
“It’s not at a panic stage yet, but it wouldn’t take too much longer,” Jabusch said. “Our reservoirs don’t hold a lot of long-term supply, so we rely on rain to pretty much keep them filled.”
Wrangell’s reservoirs are earthen dams that sit uphill from the Alaska Island Community Services clinic. A significant amount of rain is needed to return levels to normal, but there is more dry weather in the forecast.
Jabusch said the community’s water supply is fine for now, especially because the cannery season is not in full swing.
“If you had the canneries cranked up right now, and this was going on…they use a lot of water. During the period of time they’re running, they probably use 70 percent or more of the water that is used in the community,” Jabusch said.
Public Works Director Amber Al-Haddad said the low water levels mean there is more sediment in the water, which makes it harder to treat.
If the water shortage gets worse, the borough may take additional steps to manage water use and encourage conservation.