Rain = Money for Watertown City Hall

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A big part of Watertown's finances rise and fall with the levels of the Black River.

"The hydro turbines on the Black River are the third or fourth largest revenue generator for the city and they're responsible for millions of dollars coming into the city every year," said Elliott Nelson, assistant city manager.

The rainy June has over 4 billion gallons of water a day gushing down the river. 

The city's three hydro turbines are churning out power at a rate 44 percent above average.

"When all of them are running as they have been for the last two to three weeks, we'll make something in the order of $21,000 a day," said Mike Sligar, city water superintendent.

June, though, is the good news.

The bad news is that for three months last summer, the drought slowed the river to a trickle.

"The power plant produced zero kilowatt hours for the entire months of July, August and September and we'll never be able to make that up," said Sligar.

Not in this fiscal year, which ends June 30, but maybe there'll be a good start to the next.

"I know the farmers don't agree with me, but hopefully we can get more rain at least upstream in the basin and continue what has turned into a banner June," said Sligar.

Without more rain, the river could run at peak potential for power for about two more days.

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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