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Your yard can wait: Baton Rouge, Ascension utilities ask customers to limit water use in drought

9 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Friday, August 25 2023 Aug 25, 2023 August 25, 2023 2:00 PM August 25, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — With scorching heat and strong winds accelerating the wildfire threat during Louisiana's extended drought, utilities in the capital region on Friday urged residents to use less water so reservoir levels can rebound whenever possible.

"The stresses caused by the current ongoing and record-breaking heat, and the complete lack of rain, are causing never-before-seen high demands on the water system," said Patrick Kerr, president of the Baton Rouge Water Utility, which also manages water service in a part of Ascension Parish. 

The utility systems said water conservation measures include:

-No lawn or garden watering between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (doing so could promote fungal growth, as well).

-Water before 7 a.m. to avoid evaporation once the temperature rises during daylight.

-Put a timer on sprinklers. "Often, more than 5 minutes of sprinkler use usually only results in runoff into the street." And

-Water only once or twice per week. If grass was healthy before the drought, it will recover when the drought ends.

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said that while the local water system has always been resilient, "these are extraordinary times."

For much of the past two months, the region has seen temperatures over 100 degrees, including a highest-ever 106-degree reading Thursday, and for the year Baton Rouge has had 6.5 fewer inches of rain that what would normally be expected.  For the summer, rainfall levels are off by about 10 inches.

Government agricultural agencies show all of the area in extreme drought.

"I'm calling on every Baton Rouge resident to step up and play a role in conserving our water," Broome said. "These simple acts can have a significant impact on our community."

Kerr says the systems have been able to maintain adequate pressures to remain safe, though at times pressure is not as strong as customers expect.

"If the demand continues to increase we may not be able to maintain the pressures many of our customers need," he said. "It is for this reason that we are encouraging the conservation efforts."

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