Drought brings some communities to change water policies
Melissa McCrady reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
NEW BERLIN - The extreme heat is gone, but the drought is on, leading several communities to restrict the use of water.
Governor Scott Walker declared a drought emergency Monday as farm fields and front lawns suffer through a terrible dry spell.
It's been nearly a month without significant rain in southeast Wisconsin and that is forcing some cities to make changes.
New Berlin has an odd and even sprinkling policy that allows homeowners like Allyson Salazar to water on different days based on their address.
"We pretty much have given up on the lawn. I think my husband still has some hopes as you can see with the sprinkler going on," said Salazar.
New Berlin is now putting up signs restricting sprinkling hours from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. because of the drought. The city buys its water from Milwaukee but it's still not enough.
"No I'm not surprised," said New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiavatero. "In this drought condition we know it's going to happen."
Right now New Berlin is using five million gallons a day but if it goes over 6.5 million gallons it would have to pay a penalty.
"The pipe is only so big, you can only get so much water out so far," said Chiavatero. "That's the biggest reason why we are limited to 6.5 million gallons."
Demand is also up in Waukesha. The drought has dropped one of its aquifers 20 percent. Daily usage went from seven million gallons a day to 10 million gallons a day but the city believes its conservation sprinkling policy limiting homeowners on when they can water is working.
"My brown grass is green," said Dan Duchniak, Waukesha's Water Utility Manager. "That's our slogan and motto in Waukesha."