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Richard Piatt ReportingIt's heating up again -- the temperature and talk about the drought. Water managers just got an update on the water reserve situation, and it's not looking good.
This situation is so confusing. There seems to be plenty of water around---we had all that snow last winter. So what's the problem? The problem is upstream where in many places the water is running out.
It looks just fine, but experts say it could be a forecast of trouble ahead. There is less water running than there should be--30 percent less, to be exact, on average. Many reservoirs are lower than they've been in years, with very little new water flowing in.
All that snow we got last winter, all the rain we've gotten since, it simply soaked in to the ground or evaporated.
Randy Julander, Snow Survey Supervisor: “Any way you slice it, we don’t have reservoir storage and we didn’t get any in the last month. In fact, it could be one of the worst we’ve ever seen.”
So what does this mean for you when it comes to watering your garden and lawn? The answer is conservation. Water Districts, cities and towns are already gearing up for another conservation campaign. They're hoping to drop demand. If they can't, the 'R' word---restrictions--lurks in the future.
Stephanie Duer, Water Conservation Coordinator: "If people don't conserve, then yes, restrictions, we have the potential for restrictions. We have the ordinance in place that will allow for us to act in the community's best interest."
It's too early to worry about the 'water police', but there is enough urgency about the situation that some agencies are already planning for that kind of drastic step. Especially since, compared to this time last year, water use is actually up.
The drought is something people are worried about both in the short term and the long term. For this summer you can plan to hear a lot about water conservation.