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Council ponders building 2.5 million-gallon tank

Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune The Madera City Council Wednesday night voted to prohibit smoking in Madera city parks, thanks largely to organizing done by youths, who put together information showing how dangerous to public health smoking in parks can be. They spent time in parks picking up cigarette butts and surveying how the public felt about it. In the photo above are some of the young people who worked on the project, City Council Member Donald E. Holly, who backed the change and promoted it among his fellow council members, and Christopher Boyle, the city’s planning manager.


A presentation to the Madera City Council Wednesday evening focused on current water usage, projected peak water demands and highlighted the immediate need for a new 2.5 million-gallon concrete water storage tank to meet the water needs of today’s users and also to meet required fire-flow targets.

The estimated cost of the project is more than $18 million, including land acquisition, engineering, site and tank construction, water transmission lines and financing costs, but is expected to meet the demand for water going forward.

Water from productive city wells could be pumped into the tank, providing a buffer and reserves to use as needed.

Engineers from the Akel Engineering Group said good news is that water use by residents is down significantly since the city began installing water meters a few years ago, thus encouraging conservation by charging residents for the actual water they use. Graphs indicated an approximate usage of 300 gallons per person per day in 1990, to a low of approximately 114 gallons per person per day in 2019.

Low supply and fluctuating water pressures had been noted recently at two large fires, they said, with one fire downtown at the old Yosemite Hotel and a residential fire at the corner of Ellis Street and Country Club Drive (Road 26), until the city remotely activated and stepped up pumping from several area wells to meet the firefighting needs.

The workshop brought forth detailed analysis of current flows, peak flows and well pumping capacities and illustrated the areas in northeast Madera that are projected to have population growth. But no new municipal wells are recommended in the area due to natural and man made contaminates found in the groundwater. The analysis of area soils and aquifers indicated poor water quality below 500 feet on the northeast side of the city.

The study also recommended adding several new municipal wells on the west side, budgeting and planning for new water transmission lines to bring water to the new tank from the west side’s more productive wells. It also recommended purchasing a parcel of land large enough for two, 2.5 million-gallon tanks, with a recommendation to build one of the tanks as soon as possible. The second concrete storage tank could be built five to ten years after the first, as population and water demand grows. The tank site should ideally be located in the area of Ellis Street and west of D Street to facilitate hookups to current city water lines and pumping systems.

The city’s present storage tank, east of Highway 99, has a capacity of about 1 million gallons.

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