McLouth official warning residents to start conserving water
by Dennis Sharkey
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has moved the southern portion of Jefferson County into a severe drought prediction for next spring. The report was released Nov. 22.
McLouth City Administrator Carl Chalfant each year preaches water conservation but is actually raising some flags now.
Last week he told council members that he believed the area had a 50 percent chance of entering into drought conditions. The city is already monitoring water supplies.
“We will watch this about another month or so,” Chalfant said. “If it continues we will have to activate the water conservation program.”
Chalfant said the city may have no choice in activating a conservation program if Rural Water District No. 13 decides to do it first. The city is contractually obligated to follow a conservation program if district No. 13 tells it to do so.
Conservation could include things like no car washing or watering lawns or gardens.
The last couple of springs Chalfant has distributed pamphlets urging residents to conserve water. He said the city may need to step up efforts to educate.
“We’ll have to be a lot more diligent if this thing progresses,” Chalfant said.
Chalfant said the issue cannot be taken lightly.
“We could be biting the dust next spring,” Chalfant said. “It’s kind of scary. When you turn on that faucet it’s precious.
“We have water now,” Chalfant added. “We need to start being aware. If you got a leaking faucet, fix the thing.”
Chalfant said the area needs a lot more rain now to avoid a drought in the spring. He also said rain patterns north of the area also affect the area.
It can take about six months for rainwater to reach down into the ground and penetrate well sources. Chalfant said the area also depends on rain upstream.
“It takes quite a bit of rain over a period of time to start replenishing,” he said.
There are little things that residents can do to conserve water like shutting off the water while brushing teeth or doing full loads of laundry.
“Let your car get a little bit dirty before you wash it,” he said. “Plus it will lower your water bill.”
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