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The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is asking all of its customers to conserve water and to reduce their water use by 10 percent. As a result of the prolonged hot and dry weather conditions, and many more people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RWA has seen an unprecedented 60 percent increase in water use during the past week. This higher-than-normal system demand has resulted in some customers experiencing discolored water intermittently over the past several days.
Discolored water can occur when higher-than-normal flows of water through the water mains stir up naturally occurring minerals in the water that collect in the pipes. Discolored water is temporary and may look unappealing, so the RWA recommends that customers wait until it clears before drinking it, showering or washing laundry.
“While the RWA’s water supply levels remain high, we are experiencing an unprecedented increase in water use, which has caused some of our customers to experience temporarily discolored water,” said Larry L. Bingaman, President and CEO of the Regional Water Authority. “The RWA is doing everything we can to resolve this problem, and I apologize to all those who have been impacted. By reducing their use, residential and business customers can assist in normalizing water flows throughout the region and expedite the resolution of the discolored water event.”
The RWA continues to closely monitor its water supplies. As of mid-June, the RWA’s reservoirs were at approximately 94% of their capacity, which is higher than the long-term average of 90% for June. However, even with the RWA’s plentiful water supplies, the unprecedented increase in water use can put strains on the company’s water treatment and supply systems. In some areas, this has resulted in temporarily discolored water.
The RWA has also received reports of fire hydrants being opened illegally, which can cause discolored water. Opening fire hydrants can lower water pressure so firefighters don’t have enough water to put out a fire, potentially putting lives at risk. Children can also be at risk because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a sprinkler or spray cap can knock a child down, causing serious injury. High water demand and open fire hydrants can also lead to temporarily discolored water.
The RWA is asking customers to voluntarily cut back on water usage by 10 percent by eliminating non-essential water use. The RWA recommends ways to use water more efficiently, while helping reduce water use:
Visit rwater.com for additional water conservation tips.