Weather Forecast


Deerwood becomes latest city to declare winter water emergency

Deerwood became the latest city to ask residents to run the water after an epidemic of freeze-ups.

“This year it has just exploded,” said Deerwood Mayor Mike Aulie.

Monday the Deerwood City Council declared the water emergency. Residents are asked to run the water in a pencil-sized stream through March and most of April. The city will average the bills for the last three months and not charge residents for the additional water.

Deerwood had one water main freeze. While it was thawed, Aulie said the frost at 7 feet is getting close to the city’s main lines so keeping the water moving should help prevent additional freeze-ups.

As temperatures warm, the frost is expected to push deeper before the situation is resolved with true spring weather.

A few residents are still without water after three to five days. The city is offering water for drinking and flushing. In some instances, water hoses are carrying continuously running water from house to house.

“We’ve been doing everything we can do to help,” Aulie said. “Small-town people are helping each other out.”

Aulie noted one resident dealing with frozen pipes for many days called the city to ask city staff not come out to work on the pipes because it was too cold for them outside.

Aulie said he knows there are more homes with frozen water lines than the city is aware of because seasonal residents are in warmer climates. And in some cases that has made it harder to run water from one neighbor to another as a solution since seasonal homeowners are gone.

Since the cities are not charging customers, Aulie said the sanitary sewer district agreed not to charge cities for the additional water volume.

Aulie said the extra water use is not going to be much different than the summer season when the population increases and everyone is watering lawns.

Aitkin also previously sent out a request to have city water users run the water until further notice. The city reported those customers will be billed based on their past history and not for the additional water use.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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