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Water conservation efforts in Bozeman could save millions of gallons

Posted at 3:08 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 18:08:41-04

BOZEMAN – Bozeman has started construction at the base of Peet’s Hill that will save the city around $25,000 and more than 350 million gallons of water each year.

The water conservation project will be worked on until September. Commissioner Terry Cunningham said it is crucial the city finds a way to conserve water because Bozeman relies solely on snowpack.

“We know that the key to growth is water conservation,” said Cunningham. “We are trying to convince our residents to conserve water. So we have to take a look at ourselves and our water usage and make sure we are doing our best practices as well.”

On Tuesday, crews started to install a water pump to transport water from the bottom of Peet’s Hill to Sunset Hills Cemetery and Lindley Park, allowing the city to use surface water instead of treated water to irrigate the cemetery.

“We don’t need to use treated water supplies,” said Water Conservation Specialist Jessica Ahlstrom. “The cost to treat that water just to irrigate lawns isn’t necessary. So by using raw surface water out of Bozeman Creek, we are saving the expense for that.”

The cost savings is about $25,000 annually. The city is also working on another diversion to Bozeman Creek near Gallagator Trail footbridge south of Church Ave. With all of these changes, Ahlstrom said the city can save 350 million gallons of water each year.

“We want our water system to pay its own way,” said Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl. “Not a dime more, not a dime less but we are also looking at, what do we do if we have a drought? How do we build some resiliency in the system, which is frankly vital to our community?”

The project is being paid through two grants, one from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Renewable resource Grant Program, and another from the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grant Program.

The city said there will be trail closures during construction.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News