Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers has issued a voluntary water conservation order for residents of Paris and customers of its water system.
Rogers said the order was issued because the city’s water production plant is nearing its capacity, the water level in city storage tanks is consistently dropping between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily and the plant is producing water nearly 24 hours a day.
The conservation order applies to customers of the Scranton water system, the Central Logan Water Users Association, residents and customers of the Gray Rock water system, the Greasy Valley Water Users Association, and residents and customers of the Ratcliff water system.
Under the terms of voluntary conservation, water users are asked to water lawns, plants and shrubs between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., curtail car washing and other outside uses of water and promptly repair water leaks, regardless of the size.
Meanwhile, drought conditions across the state worsened last week. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, 91 percent of Arkansas is in some form of drought. A small section of eastern Logan County remains in a moderate drought with the rest of the county classified as abnormally dry.
Some relief came to the county last week in the form of pop-up showers. Northern and eastern Logan County got some showers last Thursday. Paris got six-tenths of an inch of rain last Saturday morning. For the month, 1.4 inches of rain has been measured at the Paris Water Treatment Plant. Paris normally gets 3.5 inches of rain in July.
More rain, in the form of scattered showers, is expected this week. According to the forecast, there is a 50 percent chance of rain today (Wednesday) and 20 percent to 30 percent chances of rain through Saturday. Highs are expected to be in the mid- to upper-90s throughout the week.
City Lake, the primary water source for Paris, remains 16 feet below normal.
Last week, the Paris Water Production Plant was producing between 2.5 million and 2.8 million gallons a day. Over the weekend, that dropped to 2.2 million gallons a day, according to plant manager Jason Cauthron. The plant’s capacity is 3 million gallons a day. Cauthron also said the plant produced water for 18 hours a day over the weekend. Last week, the plant was producing water for 21 and 22 hours a day.
"We’re really close to our capacity," Cauthron said.
Rain last week is the reason Logan County Judge Gus Young has not issued a ban on outdoor burning.
"The rain we got two weeks helped green everything up," Young said. "The eastern part of the county got a pretty good rain Thursday," he said. "I’m not issuing a burn ban at this time."
Rogers said that compliance with the voluntary conservation order could forestall other measures being adopted.
"If the people of Paris want to prevent mandatory conservation, they should start thinking about ways to conserve water," Rogers said. "Don’t water every day and when you do use water, do it early so it’s not a strain on our system. If people don’t voluntarily conserve, it won’t take long to move us to phase two conservation."
Voluntary conservation is the lowest level under the Paris water conservation ordinance. The other stages are mandatory conservation, emergency mandatory conservation and crisis emergency mandatory conservation. During last year’s drought, the city was on either voluntary, mandatory or emergency mandatory conservation for seventh months.