GREA FALLS — Water is something we all need to survive. For some Cascade County residents who get their water delivered, that necessity was dealt a blow when one company announced it was cutting service.
Bushard Water Delivery (link) has been in operation for less than a month, but already they’re swimming in business.
“In the past week, we've had over 200 calls for people that need water,” said Bushard Water Owner Dawn Bushard. “I don't think anybody realizes the demand for water hauling in Great Falls.”
The early splash may be because longtime provider Prairie Water Company announced it would have to scale back because of a lack of delivery drivers.
The Bushards had been thinking of jumping in the business for about three years. They put the idea on hold when Dawn’s husband Dave got sick.
Over the summer, they saw other companies struggling to keep up, and dipped their toes into deliveries before deciding to venture into the deep end.
“Actually, one of our doctor friends’ well went out and they had no water,” said Bushard. “He was like, ‘I can't deliver water. I have to do surgeries all day. You know, I can't haul my own water.’”
Dawn says an increase in construction in the county is fueling the demand.
The Bushards get their water from city tanks. Bushard’s rates are slightly higher than most at $30 per 1,000 gallons, and $1 a mile.
”We're just starting out and we have to be able to pay drivers,” said Bushard. “I think that's what it is. You have to be able to pay your drivers and keep up with the cost-of-living wage.”
She has one driver now but is interviewing more. She also plans to add to the fleet.
“My goal, hopefully by next week I'll have two more water trucks that will carry 2,500 gallons,” said Bushard. “Each one of those trucks. And then I want to get a big 4,000-gallon truck.”
Dawn is still busy with her other job as Development Director at Great Falls Central Catholic High School. She says they’re doing their best to answer all the requests. She’s not hoping to drown out other delivery services, she just wants to make sure everyone’s glass is full.
“You just can't live without water. That is a utility, a necessity that people have to have,” said Bushard.
MTN tried to contact Prairie Water for comment and an update on their search for more drivers but have yet to hear back.