The cooler, wetter weather this month has led to Augusta using less water than in the same period last year.
In 2012, Augusta used just over 33 million gallons in the three weeks from April 1 through April 22. This year, the city has used about 29.75 million gallons – more than a 10 percent decrease.
However, the city lake is still far from capable of serving as an auxiliary water source and Santa Fe Lake is also still too low to draw any significant amount of water without depleting it even further.
These conditions have not been a major concern over the winter months when Augusta only uses about 60 percent of the water it can safely draw from El Dorado Lake. However, as temperatures warm and outdoor watering demand increases, it won’t take long for Augusta’s water demand to outpace its supply.
Peak demand in the summer months for Augusta and Mulvane can reach as high as 4 million gallons per day. The most that can be drawn in a day from El Dorado Lake with the current pipeline is 2.5 million gallons.
Unless a significant rain even comes soon to refill Augusta’s city lake, the Augusta City Council could be forced to consider more restrictions at upcoming meetings.
For its part, the City of Mulvane - Augusta’s main water customer - has used about a half million gallons less than in the first three weeks of April.
But Mulvane Mulvane’susage has been outpacing 2012 so if hot and dry conditions return, the increased demand could serve to magnify the problems Augusta is facing.