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A $200,000 appropriation tabbed for a golf course retention pond has been diverted to culinary system repairs, heading off a possibly severe summer water shortage, officials say.

During a recent City Council meeting, Public Works Director John Van Staveren warned that a lack of adequate funds for well upkeep, combined with increasing demand, has brought the city's water system to near collapse."Unless something is done soon," he told the council, "I can't guarantee the city will have water on July 4."

The council, which was considering pumping $300,000 into development of the irrigation retention pond at city-owned Green Spring Golf Course, heeded the warning.

Members shifted $200,000 to repair and upgrade the culinary system and put the golf course project on indefinite hold.

The city draws about 1.3 million gallons of water each day during the winter for residential use, and Van Staveren says that figure increases dramatically as temperatures soar into the 100s.

City storage tanks can hold up to 3.5 million gallons, which would last about 21/2 days during low-consumption periods.

Of the city's six culinary water wells, only two are currently operating.

The city also is facing expenditures to comply with new state and federal regulations, including installation of backflow devices on every water meter and extended water quality testing.

The valves, which cost about $100 per installation, isolate each connection, preventing water from flowing back into the main line and polluting the system.

Roughly 1,000 of the valves still need to be installed before the state's 1996 deadline. Estimates on testing costs have not been released yet, but officials speculate they will be high.

But Van Staveren said the $200,000 allocation should remedy existing shortfalls and keep future problems from becoming catastrophic. "We`re sitting on top of one of the most plentiful aquifers around," he said. "We just need to fix the system the right way rather than the cheapest way."