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Greene County and other parts of Missouri are in what the National Weather Service is labeling an extreme drought. And that situation is expected to continue. That has officials at City Utilities concerned that the water supply could continue to be affected. Water supply levels right now are at about 74 percent with the historic average at 88 percent. And the supply continues to drop .2 to .3 percent each day.
That’s why CU has placed the community in a Water Watch for the first time in its history. That indicates that conditions are right for our water supply levels to continue to decline.
Springfield residents are urged to take additional steps at their home or businesses to conserve water.
Steve Runnels, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield, says conditions will continue to be dry for the most part. He says in the next week to ten days we may see a few rain systems move through our area, but any rainfall will be modest and scattered. He says there won’t be much improvement in drought conditions in the short term and in the long term…
"The Climate Prediction Center puts out 30 and 90 day forecasts. Both of those forecasts are calling for the greater odds of being above normal temperature wise and below normal precipitation wise."
Runnels says things could get worse before they get better.
CU General Manager Scott Miller says they have an emergency water conservation plan, which was put into place in 1980 and was revised in 2007, authorizing CU to implement the plan when water supply levels get to 60%. According to Miller, at the rate the supply is dropping now, we could reach that 60% level by mid to late September. That’s when water conservation would become mandatory. Right now, the community is being urged to voluntarily conserve water. CU asks those whose address ends in odd numbers to water lawns only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and those with even numbers to water only on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday and to water only once on those days. And Miller says there are other steps you can take to save water…
"Take shorter showers. If you run the dishwasher after one day's use of plates consider waiting until that dishwasher is full. If you can wait to run a larger load of wash, please do that. Any known leaks that you have out there, try to address those."
If the 60% water supply level is reached, residential watering would be eliminated and water rates would go up. Miller hopes that would cause customers to watch how much water they use since they’d be paying more for it. If the water supply hits 55% even more restrictions would be implemented, and if the water supply reaches 50%, CU would not connect any new customers to water…
"That really impacts all of us. It impacts growth. It impacts all companies, and so we're hoping we can conserve today so that we don't have to do that later."
He says, if the emergency water conservation plan would need to implemented, they would give the community as much notice as possible.
Find more information and check the daily storage level updates at www.cityutilities.net/resident/water.htm.
For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.