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Alabama water officials are looking to address potential drought through cooperation. Madison County leaders have reached a water-sharing agreement with utility service provider Huntsville Utilities for long-term water supply.
Madison County officials believe that there is a real risk of inadequate water supply in certain areas. There are about 80,000 people who may be affected by water shortage in case of drought; most of them are residents of parts of the county that have no access to the Tennessee River and where water comes entirely from groundwater sources.
Usually, Madison County Water Department draws drinking water from three wells with a combined capacity of between 10 million and 12 million gallons of water per day. If more water is needed, the department obtains the needed amount of water from Huntsville Utilities. In cases of extreme water shortage, Madison County sometimes has to borrow up to 500,000 gallons of water per day at expensive emergency rates, North Alabama TV station WHNT reported.
The 30-year purchasing agreement will ease concerns that thousands of households could end up without water during dry summer months. Madison County will have to buy a significantly larger amount of water than it previously did, but it will come at a lower price. Thanks to this part of the agreement, consumers will not see any increase in rates, Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick explained.