Carson city in hot water with water usage

About 125 warnings or citations for wasting water were issued Monday as Carson City's water system neared its capacity.

At summer temperatures climb, Carson City residents are using more and more water, taxing the city's water system, said Tom Hoffert, Carson City utility operations manager.

People may find themselves in hot water with the utility department if they don't abide by watering restrictions, he said. Monday, being the 31st of the month, was a day nobody was allowed to water.

Hoffert said Carson residents are draining half the city's water supply daily. On Sunday, demand for water was just shy of 21 million gallons, which is just about the same amount the city can handle in a day, Hoffert said. In an emergency, the plant could handle up to 27 million gallons.

Peak water use in the winter is around 4.5 million gallons a day, he said.

"The system is being stressed out at this point," Hoffert said. "People are chunking away at our storage. Today's demand is exceeding yesterday's high."

Not only are residents using water as fast as it can be put through the city's treatment plant, but water flows feeding the city's reserves also are low.

Hoffert said demand for water this summer is about 800,000 gallons more than in previous years.

Hoffert said as the temperatures rise people use extra water, especially for garden irrigation. That puts a dent in the city's ability to fight fires and provide drinking water.

"We really need people not to water between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.," he said. "That's when we're putting water back in the tanks. If everybody would abide by the watering restrictions, we'd be fine."

Hoffert said city crews work during the day to refill the city's storage tanks.

"Basically, the demand is exceeding our ability to pump water," Hoffert said.

People with an even address can water on even days. Those with odd addresses can water on odd numbered days. Watering restrictions are in place until Oct. 1.

Several Carson City residents woke up Monday morning to find yellow water violation warnings on their doors. Watering is restricted on the 31st day of any month, and water watchers were out as early as 3 a.m. to catch transgressors.

Water use violators are given a verbal and written warning before being fined $25. About nine water watchers were on the streets Monday, looking for waste, said Rit Palmer, utility customer service supervisor.

The city has five employees that canvas the city 24 hours a day looking for water violators, although the staff has been increased to handle the increased water violations. Palmer said about 125 warnings were issued from midnight Monday through about 5 p.m.

Hoffert said if water watchers find water running during the day, they can and have shut a customer's water off.

The move makes customers angry, "but it's for the benefit of the whole community to abide by the restrictions," he said.

Palmer said the watering restrictions are designed to work with the city's water system.

"We have water, we just can't get it to everyone at the same time," he said.

"We're starting to push the edge here. We can handle it, but people need to obey the rules to make our system work. If everyone followed the rules, we'd get along real well."

- Odd-numbered addresses may water on odd-numbered days.

- Even-numbered addresses may water on even-numbered days.

- No irrigation on the 31st day of the month.

- No irrigation between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

- No excessive usage which causes water to run into any street, alley or storm drainage system.

For more information, call 887-2355.


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