Madison County, Huntsville Utilities Close In On Water-Sharing Deal

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-As more people move in there’s less water to go around, and officials in Madison County say time is not on their side.

The shrinking supply of H2O is now at the center of a major water-sharing agreement between county leaders and Huntsville Utilities. Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick said the deal could be finalized by both parties as soon as next month.

“We can’t get ourselves in a situation where we don’t have enough water,” said Riddick. “We need to have another source for water long-term.”

The growing strain on supply affects roughly 80,000 customers in unincorporated parts of the county, a service area that relies entirely on ground water sources due to the lack of access to the Tennessee River. Riddick said the water woes are especially troublesome in the peak use summer months, when the Madison County Water Department sometimes must borrow up to 500,000 gallons per day at costly emergency rates. But he believes a permanent water-sharing agreement would ease the burden.

“It [agreement] gives us basically a virtual inexhaustible source of water in the future…We thought we could live with it. Each commissioner has had some input on it, and we sent it back over to Huntsville Utilities and basically told them if it wasn’t changed substantially then it was a contract we could live with.”

Riddick said the water-sharing deal with Huntsville Utilities is not expected to impact customer rates. Commissioners are expected to vote on the agreement once Huntsville Utilities finishes making changes to the draft version.