Who's only happy when it rains (and snows)? It's not just the '90s alternative rock band Garbage, who wrote that song for their self-titled debut album. Closer to home, Beacon's Waste and Wastewater Superintendent Ed Balicki is who you can thank for doing the rain and snow dancing, according to Anthony Ruggiero, City Administrator for the City of Beacon at the January 16, 2018 City Council Meeting.
Beacon is in a Stage 2 Drought, which means that the city is asking residents to conserve water. Beacon pulls water from three reservoirs: the Mount Beacon Reservoir, which was down 8 to 9 feet last week; the Cargill Reservoir, which is the largest; and Melzingah, the smallest. "We are waiting for a greater recharge from the Cargill," says Ed. As for the Melzingah, "It’s the smallest, and drains the fastest. It typically goes offline during the summer. The fall rains in October and November usually fill it, but there was not as much rain then."
Ed explains that the reservoirs are like bowls, and fill up with precipitation. "We had a late snowfall back in March 2017. We had rainfall through the spring, but since June, we had very little rainfall that would replenish the reservoirs." Ed's team goes out on Wednesdays to make the Reservoir Rounds to measure them all. During last week's city council meeting, Beacon Mayor Randy Casale said the Melzingah is getting put back online. "When it fills up, it fills up quick, and then runs off," explained the mayor. "So that's why they are turning it on, so that we don't lose it in runoff."
Do all water supply systems depend on these big bowls of water? Or can groundwater be counted on, too? Ed says that the two wells that Beacon can tap into gain water that way, and that reservoirs can have springs running into them. However, the Mount Beacon reservoir was built in the early 1900s, before Beacon's current development was even a glimmer in the eye of builders' ancestors, and before the nearby correctional facilities also began using the water. Concern over the limited water supply was the inspiration for the current building moratorium in Beacon right now.
Said Anthony of the current water supply: "The snow is definitely helping. With the weather, we are doing OK." For more information and latest on Beacon's water, you can visit the City's water page, and download past reports.