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10:13 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Water use on the rise in Columbia

Columbia Water and Light says its customer’s water use is up this summer, amid hot and dry weather over the last few weeks.

The Department saw a significant increase in water use in June compared to June of last year. Spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz says in July there’s already been 20 million gallons of water used in Columbia most days, even getting as high as 23 million gallons a day.

“Generally this is the type of water use that we see in late July or August when it gets really hot and dry. So we’re seeing this type of use that’s usually late, late in the summer a lot earlier this year," said Kacprowicz.

Kacprowicz says the department has been able to keep up with water use so far on the supply side. She says the department doesn’t like to ask people to restrict use, and will likely only need to ask residents to conserve water in the event of an emergency, like a fire.

“But obviously water is a precious resource and something that we don’t like to see wasted either. We want to make sure that people, when they are using it for irrigation, that they’re irrigating in the early morning hours and really paying attention to, at this point, whether it’s doing any good," said Kacproqicz. "A lot of times grass and plants will go into dormant stage and they can make it through.”

Kacprowicz says the department does have a 4-stage conservation plan. First it would ask for voluntary restriction, then alternate day irrigation. After that, it could get to the point where there would be more highly restricted use, even with possible fines. She says the department’s never reached the point where it needed to outlaw all outdoor watering.