Dothan Utilities, on average, pump between 10 and 12 million gallons of water per day.
Houston County, along with most of Southeast Alabama has seen a decline in ground water levels. However, this season's drought has had little effect on well levels.
Dothan Utilities Director Billy Mayes says, "One of the things that happen is when we don't get the rainfall in the recharge area of our wells, and when we're withdrawing water out, the long term does effect the levels in the aquifers. Yet, it's a big volume of water. You don't see it drop in just a week or a month, you see a gradual decrease over the year or years we monitor it."
Dothan currently pumps from 32 wells, with two new ones in the works. But, it is important to have backup wells as buffers, when others break down.
With the gradual decrease in water levels, it is important to also utilize surface water from reservoirs allowing aquifers to recover from increased pumping, and lack of rainfall.
Mayes adds, "The whole region needs to manage our system and know where the water is coming from. And, know where the water is going to come from for our future sources."
Southeast Alabama is fortunate to have ample places to utilize ground water, yet the importance of following a water constitution plan is critical.
Dothan has had a three-stage water constitution for five years, keeping the area crisis free.
The current water constitution plan runs from April 1st through October 30th each year.