When Tecumseh Mayor Eddy Parker, who during the drought could walk across a dry Tecumseh Lake, saw the city lake was filled to the brim from the recent rains, he knew the city could begin using its own water source again.
The recent rains have filled the once nearly-dry Tecumseh Lake, so city officials plan to begin using it as a water source by July 1.
For more than a year, the city has been purchasing about 600,000 gallons of Shawnee’s water each day from the Pottawatomie County Development Authority to supply water to residents. The drought had dropped the levels at the Tecumseh Lake, and even with wells to supplement some water, it wasn’t enough to keep up with the needs of the city.
At one point, the lake was nearly dry. It’s a different story now.
“It doesn’t even look like the same place,” Parker said. “When the boat ramp is under water, it’s full.”
The plan is for the city to get things in order to treat and distribute its own water from Tecumseh Lake by July 1, the mayor said.
When the switch is made, City Clerk Cathy Condit said residents could notice a change in the water as far as odor and taste. That’s because the treatment chemicals used in Shawnee are different than Tecumseh, she said.
The mayor said he’s not sure what he city would have done without an alternative during the drought.
“We appreciate the PCDA working with Shawnee and assisting us through this drought,” the mayor said.
And with any luck, Tecumseh Lake will work until the city can tap into its 15 percent share of water from Wes Watkins Reservoir in McLoud.
The city is currently in the process of building a new raw water line from the reservoir to Tecumseh, as well as putting in a new water treatment plant.
Once those are in full operation, hopefully in a year or so, Parker said, the city will have two water sources.
Tecumseh Lake also is ready for summer recreation. Parker said the former playground equipment from Slick Humphrey Park is now installed at the Tecumseh Lake area. With that, along with the pavilion and other areas looking nice around the lake, it “picnic” ready, he said.
“It’s a good place — you might even catch some fish,” the mayor said.