Franklin's Leaders are Watching Water Levels Closely
By: Heather Graf
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - We're getting an inside look at one of the local water treatment plants that fuels your faucet. In the midst of widespread water restrictions and shortages, we wanted to know, just how bad is it? And how bad could it get?
NewsChannel 5 took those questions to the City of Franklin, whose reservoir is now at just 60% capacity.
To say they're watching those water levels closely, we found, is an understatement.
"We've reached a point where we hit a threshold of about a 40-day supply for that reservoir," said City Administrator Eric Stuckey. "That's when we start asking for conservation measures."
Inside Franklin's water treatment plant, Superintendent Russell Sullivan is the person in charge of monitoring the city's water supply.
Since 1952, he says, they've drawn water out of the Harpeth River, pumped it into the city's 114 million gallon reservoir, treated it, and been able to provide clean drinking water for the people of Franklin.
This year, that became a bit more difficult. That's because the levels of the Harpeth River have been so low, the city hasn't been able to draw any water out of it since June 1st.
"It's probably the hottest and driest spring I can remember," Sullivan said.
Each day, he checks the levels of the reservoir at 7:00 a.m.
"The drier it gets, the longer the drought goes on, the more frequently we'll be up here," he said. "Every time the lake drops another foot, we'll set another clamp to mark the levels."
Stuckey hopes this inside look at water treatment plant and reservoir levels will further encourage the public to do its part.
"I think they might be surprised to see that," Stuckey said. "It's important to recognize that, and do what you can; do your part, to help us conserve water."
Keep in mind, the City of Franklin has not only dry weather and intense heat to contend with, but also a booming population.
That's the reason the city increased the capacity of its reservoir just a few years ago. Stuckey says a good rain could go a long way toward filling it back up.
Franklin also spends millions of dollars each year to buy water from Harpeth Valley Utility District.
It too, has been forced to implement voluntary water restrictions because of dry weather.