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Feature Spotlight: Getting Water Uphill

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What does it take to get all that water up to the top of the hills and into our tanks? First, let’s talk a little about our system. Rainbow MWD has 13 tanks used to store water supplies to meet customer demands, with 4 system operators on staff to maintain them. Each of the 13 tanks is visited for inspection by one of the four operators every day, with the expansive range of locations and rural terrain the average driving distance to visit all of these sites is 98-110 miles daily, to assure they are operating effectively. In order to successfully deliver water to your homes from the tanks there is a pump and a backup pump at each station.

Much effort is used in suppling water to our customers at higher elevations, much like that of our ancestors who had to transport the water by hand, the effort it took to carry these resources uphill is much greater than that of delivering it to those at the bottom of the hills. However, today pump stations are used to transfer the water up to the tanks situated high on the hilltops to provide water on demand to the residents also situated in zones established at higher elevations. The Magee tank is our highest in elevation located at roughly 2100 feet and takes two pump stations to get the water there. It is first pumped up to Rainbow Heights pump station and then up to Magee to feed the Magee zone residents. The engine power on these pumps ranges from 300 to 75 horsepower and due to the fact that running these pumps utilizes a great deal of electricity we run them at night to lower consumption cost and help with energy efficiency.