Missouri American Water – Shoal Creek Water Reservoir

After extensive review and analysis of several options, our engineering firm, Black and Veatch, has provided a final site recommendation to Missouri American Water for the Shoal Creek water reservoir project to supplement water supply for customers in the Joplin area. n“Site C” has been selected.

Site C is slightly over 1,100 acres of land that will hold approximately 12 billion gallons of water.

The reservoir is part of a project that will also construct a new dam and pumping facilities. The purpose of the project is to address the critical and growing water supply shortage for the Joplin region in southwest Missouri and relieve regional water supply challenges by alleviating pressure on the Ozark Aquifer.

Missouri American Water will begin the permit process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) within the next 30-60 days. The entire project is expected to take five to six years to complete.

Property owners in the selected site have been notified by letter, and additionally will be contacted in the next six to eight weeks to begin property acquisition negotiations.

Why is a reservoir needed?

  • Since 2012, Missouri American Water has come within 12 hours of having to enact mandatory water conservation measures due to low flows on Shoal Creek.
  • Pumps in wells that supplement supply in the summer months have been lowered twice at least 100 feet or more due to the declining water level in the aquifer.
  • A study from 2003 revealed the Ozark (Roubidoux) aquifer has limited capacity and is also at risk for contamination from the Springfield Plateau Aquifer.
  • Since 2014, 35 homeowner wells in Newton County have gone dry.

How many options were researched to solve the water supply issue before a reservoir was selected?

  • Several including bringing water from Table Rock or Stockton Lakes. Missouri American Water is a member of the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition, and this is an option the TWRC is looking into for several communities with similar issues in Southwest Missouri. However, these options are very costly and will not be completed in time to solve the supply issues in Joplin.
  • Wells are not an option due to the declining water level in the aquifer.

Why are the sites proposed both in Newton County?

Land elevations were not optimal for a reservoir in Jasper County. The elevation is lower in Newton County AND these sites are both closer to Shoal Creek.

Is there a guarantee this water won’t be shipped elsewhere or out of the state?

  • Missouri American Water currently sells water to Galena, KS and Webb City. They are wholesale water customers. The amount of water they take is not significant and has minimal impact on the supply issue facing the area.
  • The water is for customers in the current service area.

What is the approximate timeline of the project?

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What steps will Missouri American Water will follow as the permit process begins with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp of Engineers are both legally required permitting processes that include addressing environmental factors (endangered species), historic society review, option analysis etc.
  • Missouri American Water will need to meet a justification requirement to prove the need of the project.
  • The permitting process includes several public meetings and reviews by many external stakeholders including but not limited to the following: United States Army Corps of Engineering, United States Fish and Wildlife, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Public Service Commission and Newton County.

Will the reservoir be available for recreational use?

  • Missouri American Water’s primary interest in the proposed reservoir is to ensure a reliable supply of drinking water for customers in the Joplin area.
  • Recreational use is possible, but depends on the permitting process.

Will creeks/waterways in the area be affected by this project?

  • The water to fill the reservoir would come from Shoal Creek. The reservoir will have a pipe taking water from Shoal Creek to fill the reservoir. This will keep area creeks and streams from being directly impacted. Water will also be released back into Shoal Creek when needed to take it’s normal course to our intake structure near Joplin.