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Town considers water restrictions to
head off drought conditions

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(7/19) As temperatures soar, flowers wither and lawns turn brown, Emmitsburg's water consumption is up 12 percent since April.

With little rain to replace water used, town staff is starting to see signs of a water shortage. Rainfall is 6.7 inches below average since April and Rainbow Lake is four inches below the spillway, according to Emmitsburg Town Manager Dave Haller.

"It may be time for the mayor and commissioners to consider some kind of restrictions," Haller told the mayor and town commissioners on July 16.

Commissioner Joyce Rosensteel, who serves as liaison to the town's water committee, asked that town staff draft recommendations as to what precautions should be taken.

"Normally, the first phase is voluntary restrictions where we ask you to use your own judgment and conserve," Mayor James Hoover said.

He said that the town hasn't had to impose any water restrictions since the 2002-2003 drought when the town actually prohibited certain types of water use.

"I don't believe we're at a point where we really need to consider any significant restriction. Four inches below the spillway is not a real concern," Hoover said.

He said the staff had done a good job of alerting the commissioners to a possible problem on the horizon so that steps could be taken to avoid what was done in 2002-2003.

Town staff will present recommendations to the mayor and commissioners at the August 6 town meeting.

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