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City Utilities Requests Voluntary Water Conservation Amidst Drought

As the weather in Missouri remains hot and, for the most part, dry, City Utilities of Springfield says it’s imperative that customers conserve water now. KSMU’s Brittany Donnellan reports.

While some of the Ozarks are seeing bouts of showers, Missouri is still in an extreme drought. Mike Griffin is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service and says that this has been Missouri’s hottest and driest month on record. He says these extreme heat conditions are likely to stay for a while.

“This drought is a long-lasting event. One rain event is not going to bust this drought. We’re still in a drought and we’re still way below normal. We’ve seen a nice rain but we need a lot more of these nice rains to get us out of this drought.”

Due to these hot, dry conditions, City Utilities is asking its customers to take specific steps to conserve water. Joel Alexander is a spokesperson for City Utilities, and says that the city’s water levels are reaching a critically low point, currently at about 66 percent.

“Normally this time of year, we’re somewhere around the 85 or 86 percent. We’re considerably lower than where we have historically been.”

If water levels reach 60 percent, which is expected in early September if current conditions persist, City Utilities will activate the Emergency Water Conservation Plan, according to a press release from CU. This plan would include mandatory water restrictions, like prohibiting washing sidewalks or driveways, prohibiting restaurants from serving water except upon request, and preventing swimming pools from being refilled except on designated days.

Alexander says that one of the greatest uses of water this time of year is for lawn irrigation. 

“If people want to continue to do that, we would ask that that they move to the Even/Odd watering method if they aren’t already. If they are, we would ask that they move down to one or two days a week. If they are watering, we would ask that they water their yards early in the morning. The main reason for that is that there’s less wind and the temperatures are low enough that the water will actually soak into the ground.”

The Even/Odd watering method asks people living in homes with even numbered addresses water their lawns on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  Those with odd numbered homes should only water their lawns on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. CU asks that no one waters the lawn on Monday.

 City Utilities is suggesting a few more simple steps customers can take to reduce their water usage, like taking shorter showers, checking homes and businesses for water leaks, and turning off faucets when brushing your teeth or shaving.

For KSMU News, I’m Brittany Donnellan.