City sets records for utility use

Last month’s use of water and electricity set city highs.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:31 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Driven by lawn sprinklers and air conditioners, Columbia set separate records in the month of August for the use of water and electricity.

Columbians used 571 million gallons of water during August, setting a new record for water consumption in a single month since such record-keeping began in 1972.

On Wednesday, Columbians used the most electricity in an hour in history. The 247 megawatts of power used between 4 and 5 p.m. that day was one megawatt less than what city officials had forecast as peak use for this year.

The record use of electricity occurred on the same day that residents used the most water in a single day in August: 21.35 million gallons.

“One of the nice things about this record is to tell straight to yourself ‘you can do it’,” said John Betz, the superintendent of the city water treatment plant in McBaine. “It’s always comforting when you’ve done a good job.”

Weekend downpours weren’t enough to keep from setting a one-month record. The city water plant pumped 20 million gallons more than in the previous one-month record set in August 1999.

Officials at the plant, citing the demands of growth, said it is also possible the city will set an annual consumption record this year.

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