Despite recent rainfall, the Augusta City Council was not in a place to remove watering restrictions that have been in place for the better part of two years.
Interim City Manager Josh Shaw told the governing body that the city has been sending out notices to residents who are violating the restrictions.
“Staff is not recommending any changes to the watering restrictions at this point in time,” Shaw said. “The recent rains have helped the City Lake, but it is still down significantly and we still have the hottest part of the summer left to deal with. If we keep getting regular rains like we have been and the temperatures stay cooler, I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are just not there quite yet.”
Shaw said there were other factors complicating the issue of restrictions. The city is currently repairing the one million gallon water tank at the treatment plant.
Because of that, and with increased spring usage, the pumps from El Dorado to Augusta have been running almost non-stop.
“With the one million gallon tank currently out of service for repairs, the water plant would also not be able to keep up with regular summer water usage demand if the mandatory restrictions were removed,” Shaw said.
The one million gallon tank is expected to be back online sometime in the beginning of July. At that point, if more rains improve the levels of the city lake even more, the council could consider changing or removing restrictions.
Santa Fe Lake is still full and may be brought online to take some pressure off of the El Dorado Lake side of the system.
The city lake has a very small watershed compared to the size of the reservoir. That is why it is taking longer to recharge than smaller lakes with larger watersheds have.
“If the same weather pattern continues, things will begin looking better,” Shaw said.