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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

UPDATED: Water use restrictions implemented

Friday, September 21, 2007

(Photo)
The low level of Normandy Reservor has forced local utilties to implement a voluntary Stage 1 water use reduction plan for regional customers.
(Submitted photo)
Local utility officials are implementing a voluntary Stage 1 water use reduction plan due to the dwindling amount available in Normandy Reservoir.

However, mandatory restrictions would be imposed if the level of the reservoir continues to drop and the area could face a severe shortage of water by the end of the year if conditions do not improve.

The Shelbyville Power, Water & Sewer Board and the Bedford County Utility District are asking all water-use customers to reduce their normal consumption of essential and domestic use by 10 percent and non-essential use by 15 percent.

David Crowell, general manager of Shelbyville's utility said that if dry conditions continue as they have, the next stage of restrictions could be put into place within two or three months.

"We've got to have some sustained stuff [rain]," Crowell said. "Every two or three weeks just don't do it. It soaks in the ground and doesn't go to our reservoir."

"At Stage 2, we're going to be critical. At Stage 3, we're going to be in a world of hurt."

Crowell noted that due to the bowl shape of the lake, the lower the water level gets, the quicker the supply will run out. Looking at the seven day forecast, he noted there is no rain called for, although it is possible we would receive precipitation if another tropical storm were to blow in from the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Duck River Agency's Technical Advisory Committee [DRATAC], the Duck River Region is currently experiencing a moderate, or Stage 1 water shortage, due to continuing drought conditions. The reservoir levels have been declining about a foot every 10 days with Normandy supplying water for about 250,000 residents.

The decision to impose the restrictions was made jointly by the DRATAC, which is made up of leaders of utilities from Coffee, Marshall, Maury, Hickman and Bedford Counties.

DRATAC said Wednesday they are working with the Duck River Agency, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to develop emergency mandatory water-use restriction guidelines for the upper Duck River Region to be enforced in stages if reservoir levels at Normandy continue to decline.

Essential use is defined as water strictly used for "firefighting, safety, sanitation, health and medical purposes and to satisfy federal, state and local public health and safety requirements."

Domestic water uses are for household purposes such as drinking, bathing, heating, cooking, sanitation or cleaning, in homes or commercial and industrial establishments.

Non-essential use is defined as any activity not described above.

Currently, Normandy Reservoir is at 859 feet, which is 16 feet below the normal operating guideline, containing approximately 62 percent of the full water storage capacity.

But if Normandy reaches 850 feet, the storage will be 42 percent of full capacity, at which point the Stage 2/Severe Shortage mandatory phase of restrictions would be instituted, including prohibited activities.

Restricted activities would include the watering of lawns, flowers, trees and gardens to assigned days of the week and only from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.. Addresses ending with an even number may water on Wednesday, Friday or Sunday and addresses ending in an odd number would only be able to water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The watering of fairways on any golf course or athletic field would be restricted to the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. and normal scheduled fire hydrant testing would be restricted to 50 percent of the schedule.

Activities that would be banned would be washing sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts, patios or any other hard surfaces by commercial, industrial or residential customers expect for sanitary or safety purposes.

Also prohibited would be the filling or refilling of swimming pools, non-commercial washing of privately owned vehicles, trailers or boats, the use of water for dust control or construction compacting and fire fighter training.

However, if Normandy reaches a level of 840 feet, the storage will be at 25 percent and the Duck River Utility Commission [DRUC] will have problems supplying water to Coffee County residents. Any remaining storage capacity will be unusable for DRUC at that point, officials said.

Under these conditions, Stage 3/Extreme Shortage restrictions would go into effect. Commercial nurseries and vegetable gardens would be restricted to the absolute minimum water usage to keep plants alive.

Golf course tees and greens could only be watered on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from midnight to 5 a.m. and ball fields only watered on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the same time period. Water that is served for drinking purposes at restaurants or other public or non-public eating establishments would be restricted to be served only as requested by the customer.

Prohibited activities would be the watering of residential trees, shrubs, lawns or flower gardens, the watering of golf course fairways and all non state mandated line flushing by utilities and fire departments.

Also, water customers who fail to comply with the mandatory restrictions will be faced with warnings or even termination of service with reconnection fees applied, Crowell said.

The city of Franklin has already been in a mandatory restriction stage for the past few weeks, Crowell said they are forcing their customers to comply with the restrictions.

"We're going to have to be serious about it," Crowell said, if the other restrictions are put into place.

Middle Tennessee and surrounding regions have been classified by the National Weather Service with the highest rating for a drought - "exceptional."

DRATAC has listed the following suggestions for water conservation:

* Repair any leaking faucets, toilets and other appliances that use water.

* Irrigate and water at night once a week if plants are showing stress.

* Use soaker hoses for gardens and flower beds to limit run-off.

* Collect rain water (when we get it) for watering potted plants.

* Limit vehicle washing and use a automatic shut-off nozzle.

* Sweep driveways, patios and sidewalks instead of washing.

* Install low-flow shower heads and sink faucets with aerators.

* Turn off faucets while washing hands, shaving and brushing teeth.

* Put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for cold water instead of letting the water run.

* Make sure the dishwasher is full before running a cycle.

* Only use your washing machine with full loads.