UPDATE: Madison asking residents to conserve water - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Madison asking, not forcing residents to conserve water

MADISON (WKOW) -- There are still no water restrictions in the City of Madison, but they will soon be coming if people do not reduce their usage.

At Dorn True Value Hardware stores, lawn sprinklers have sold out every week for the last month.

"Its been at least 8 or 9 years since we've had anything like this where they'd sell this fast," said David Praedel at Dorn's Midvale Blvd. store.

That's because people like Peter Eaton refuse to let their lawns go dormant.

"I water the lawn about twice a week for about an hour and that's kept it pretty well alive," said Eaton.

The problem for Madison Water Utility is that too many people have the same idea.

"We've been pumping between 45 and 49 million gallons a day for the last several weeks," said Madison Water Utility General Manager Tom Heikkinen.

The normal daily usage in summer is only 30 to 35 million gallons.

"Right now we're not in a situation where we need to issue mandatory restrictions, but we are watching the situation very closely," said Heikkinen.

Because many homeowners have let things go dormant, they all appear to be watering now,  before its too late.

"I think with this extended heat, you're really taking a little bit of a chance not keeping some water on it," said Peter Eaton.

Because of the fear that those lawns may not come back, Dorn is also stocking up on a lot of grass seed.

But, city officials are trying to get the message out that most lawns are very resilient.

"Lawns that have gone dormant actually need less water than actively growing lawns," said Heikkinen.

If usage doesn't decrease by three to five million gallons a day, it could put the city's water supply for fire emergencies at risk.

That's when people will likely be forced to turn off their outdoor faucets.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Water usage in the City of Madison jumped to a 2012 high over the weekend.

Joe Demoret, the Water Manager for the City of Madison Water Utility, says that on an average summer day Madison residents use about 35 million gallons of water.

But on Saturday, that number jumped to 47 million gallons and then to 48 million gallons on Sunday.

Demoret says that increased usage is causing concern about the city's water reserves for the first time during this current drought.

Demoret says he will recommend the city impose restrictions on watering lawns at a Water Utility meeting this afternoon.

Greg Neumann is following this story and will have a full report on 27 News at 6.



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