The City of Gillette is asking its biggest water users to cut back for the first time since 2012.
The city is now in “Condition Yellow,” which means it is asking places like the Campbell County School District and Gillette College to voluntarily cut back its water usage by fifteen percent. The community found itself in this situation because the city went over its water usage limit, 10.2 million gallons, three out of the past five days.
Gillette has seen temperatures averaging in the upper 90’s this week, about twenty degrees higher than this time last year according to the National Weather Service and a contributing factor in its water usage. The high on Monday was 103 degrees.
Gillette Spokesman Geno Palazzari said even though the city is asking its bigger institutions to cut back on water, he recognizes some landscaping needs constant water maintenance.
“Even the city of Gillette, when we do watering, we don’t reduce the watering around our trees,” Palazzari said. “Because grass, while it may brown, it goes dormant when we are able to water it or we get some consistent rainfall. Trees, obviously when they don’t water they die.”
Palazzari also said the city is building a new water pipeline that should alleviate water usage problems in the future.
“We do have a silver lining in all of this. We have a parallel pipeline that should be built in May of 2017 that will come close to doubling the water supply that is available in Gillette,” Palazzari said.
Looking at the weather ahead, Palazzari was confident water levels would return to normal. In the meantime, he said making sure excess water isn’t draining into the streets and watering grass only when necessary are good ways to reduce water usage.