Newton County reservoir concerns

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. - There has been some confusion about a proposed water reservoir in Newton County spreading on social media that has landowners wondering what is going to happen to their property.

There are lots of questions about where this proposed lake will go, but honestly there's not a lot of answers at this point. But one thing was made clear by the Missouri American Water rep --- each year Joplin water levels decrease, and if a solution isn't found soon, there could be even bigger problems.

"Basically we have a problem, and we're at a critical situation where we have to do something to be able to provide water, and be able to supply water to the region now and in the future,” says Christie Barnhart with MO American Water.

For 10 years, Missouri American Water has been monitoring water levels for Joplin and surrounding towns---noticing the supply of water becoming less and less each year. To make sure the hundreds of thousands of people that are in Joplin everyday maintain water supply, Missouri American Water says the most cost efficient and viable option is to create a water reservoir in Newton County.

"This is going to be about a twelve-billion gallon lake, about between 12 to 15 acres,” says Christie Barnhart.

There are two sites that are being looked at to be the final location for the reservoir---one south of Highway V between Interstate 49 and Highway 59, and the other east of Interstate 49. These sites have been chosen due to many factors, like their accessibility to Shoal Creek. 

"The water would come from Shoal Creek. It would not come from other area streams or rivers surrounding the reservoir it would come from Shoal Creek,” says Barnhart.

And as this project is still in its earliest stages, property owners won't see this reservoir finished for several years.

"Best case scenario if everything went absolutely without any kind of problems we would be looking at maybe 5 or 6 years. The reality of it is that is incredibly optimistic,” says Barnhart.

There will be two meetings for the landowners impacted by the proposed reservoir sites with the first one on December 18th, but a site will not be chosen until early next year. So, lots of questions still being asked, and Missouri American Water just won't know all of those answers until the project develops. And I'll keep you updated as it unfolds.

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