Ongoing effects of a lingering summer drought and weather conditions of historic proportions continue to dominate both the landscape and the news in Indiana and the City of Greencastle.
While locally the water supply remains more than adequate, according to city officials, the state has taken precautions in the face of a possible water shortage by ordering all municipalities to urge local water conservation.
And to that end, Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray on July 23 signed an executive order titled "Declaration of Local Water Conservation Order."
That executive order has now officially been extended seven days through Sunday, Aug. 5, Mayor Murray announced Friday.
All citizens are being urged to limit water use to essential needs only, and to discontinue using water for non-essential needs.
Correspondence from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has advised that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Natural Resources are warning of a water shortage affecting the entire state.
"They have asked us to initiate concerted voluntary conservation efforts that will reduce local water use by 10 to 15 percent," Mayor Murray said.
The order from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Indiana Homeland Security states that lack of rainfall has the potential of creating water shortages for the city and its customers.
Thus, the agencies "have declared the current condition in Putnam County (along with all 91 others) to be at warning level with the stated objective that citizens reduce their water use by 10 to 15 percent."
The order signed by Mayor Murray states that although "the city currently has an adequate supply of water in its aquifer, the potential exists for future shortages if current drought conditions prevail."
The executive order declares a voluntary water conservation program "in order to protect life and property from real and potential loss."
Residents have not been asked to stop watering trees or vegetable gardens or flowers, the mayor pointed out, while schools are being allowed to water athletic fields at a reduced rate (40 percent has been suggested).
Greencastle citizens are asked to conserve water by such means as:
-- Discontinuing washing of vehicles, except via commercial car washes that recycle water.
-- Discontinuing watering lawns.
-- Running appliances such as clothes washers and dishwashers only with full loads.
-- Discontinuing use of ornamental or recreational water features or toys requiring a constant stream of water.
-- Discontinuing washing down sidewalks and driveways.
-- Reusing water for non-drinking purposes whenever possible.
-- Finding and repairing any water leaks in homes or businesses.
The order further states that citizens should continue to use water "whenever needed for personal hydration and cooling purposes to ensure their own healthy well-being, especially for children and the elderly."