Will drought lead to water restrictions? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Will drought lead to water restrictions?

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Hot temperatures and the drought still dominate weather conversations across the Tennessee Valley. But is it getting bad enough to impose restrictions on our water use?

Based on history, it's not likely.

"There has never been a time, to my knowledge, that we have had a lack of water supply in the Tennessee River," says Dorothy Rader, Water Quality Supervisor with Tennessee American Water.

She's not worried about the water supply drying up despite the extreme drought that has recently developed. The large volume of the Tennessee River is seemingly never-ending.

"In the Tennessee Valley we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of freshwater streams. So it takes a lot of drought to affect our water supply," adds Rader.

Tennessee American Water constantly monitors demand which Rader says is normally 40 to 45 million gallons a day. Tennessee American water can produce 65 million gallons. If a long-term drought forced the supply to drop a little below demand, the company would work with the Tennessee Valley Authority which could drain some water from area lakes, and voluntary restrictions might be recommended.

"Things like asking restaurants not to give water to people at their tables unless they ask for it. Asking people to cut back on watering the lawn," says Rader.

If the situation got worse, water restrictions would become mandatory.

But even then, Rader doesn't foresee things like the fountain at Coolidge Park ever being turned off or car washes going out of business. They recycle and reuse water, already conserving. Something some Chattanoogans are also doing, despite what appears to be a plentiful supply of water.

"We got the shower heads that conserve water," says Sam Palko of Chattanooga. "[Doing] plenty of other things, too. My dad was an energy efficiency manager at OR&L for a while."

Rader says it's always a good idea to conserve water if no other reason that to save a few dollars each month on your bill. She suggests taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, and water your lawns and gardens less frequently if possible.

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