Water conservation needed to restore Ames’s water pressure


Photo: Moriah Smith/Iowa State Daily

Customers at the west Ames Hy-Vee hurry to get water after the water plant was shut down in Ames on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. The water plant closed due to the flooding in Ames.

Brian Smith and Edward Leonard

The city has repaired and isolated all water main breaks, but full pressure cannot be restored due to water usage by the community. The city is asking residents to make a “temporary lifestyle change” and conserve as much water as possible.

Ttwo more water main leaks were found Wednesday night, bringing the total up to eight. The new leaks have since been shut off. Because of the shut-off pipelines and a lack of power in several major wells, the water flow in west Ames has been reduced by 60 percent.

The State Avenue and Mortensen Road water tower began refilling Wedneday night, but usage caused the tower to empty again Thursday morning.

The city is encouraging both private citizens and businesses to use as little water as possible. All food preparation organizations have been asked to voluntarily close until the water pressure has been restored.

The city planned to begin flushing the system of potential contaminants this morning by opening fire hydrants, starting in the Squaw Creek area. The depletion of water supplies forced the city to delay this action.

A news release issued by the city Thursday evening said that refilling the water towers is the first step to restoring water service to the city. Once the towers reach an acceptable level, the city will begin flushing the system to dump potentially hazardous water.

The city of Ames water treatment plant “is still active,” said John Dunn, water and pollution director for the city. The flood did not affect the treatment plant, and the city wishes to dispel any rumors that it had been shut down. However, a boil order is still in effect throughout the city. This is expected to continue until early next week.

The city has set up four water distribution points throught the city. The water is limited to one gallon per person per day and is available at the following locations from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.:

  • Sam’s Club on Airport Road
  • McFarland Clinic West, next to the west Hy-Vee
  • Iowa State Lot 61, located next to the Towers Residence Association
  • Walmart on Grand Avenue

Progress has been made clearing the roadways, but some are still flooded and others have been damaged. Real time updates on the roads are also available on the city of Ames website.


CyRide was able to begin updating its website Thursday. Most services have been restored, but it will detour around roads that still are blocked. Full detours have been posted on the website, CyRide’s Facebook page and Twitter account.


The Ames electrical system is recovering, but still experiencing major difficulty due to underwater transformers.