Pine customers can return to open water use now that Brooke Utilities has removed water conservation requirements for the mountain community.
Water storage in the drought-prone community topped 775,000 gallons Wednesday, making the tanks 91-percent full.
"The wells are slowly recovering because water storage is up and demand is down, probably from the precipitation," said Bob Hardcastle, president of Brooke Utilities. "It gives the wells a chance to rest and allows us to circulate our production use. One well rests while another is operational. This management of the water supply tends not to over-stress one supply source."
Beginning June 25, lingering dry weather and high water demand sent the storage tanks in Pine down the slippery slope that led to more restrictive water conservation measures. On July 1, conservation signs posted in the affected areas indicated that Stage 5, or mandatory water conservation requirements, were in effect.
During the 19 days Pine customers spent on Stage 5, Hardcastle reported water storage dropped to as low as 33 percent, making only 280,000 gallons of water available to customers.
Hardcastle authorized the hauling of water from the Strawberry water system to supplement the Pine system. Trucks capable of hauling 6,000 gallons per trip brought 530,000 gallons to the struggling Pine water system.
The water system in Strawberry went unaffected, Hardcastle said. He credits both his company's ongoing collection and study of water facts and the Pine customer response for the smooth summer.
"The water systems are becoming increasingly predictable and the effect of water conservation staging levels is clearly noticeable. Sometimes the water 'news' is not what we would prefer, but we're able to get the most out of the water systems," he said.
Customer cooperation over the summer was wonderful, Hardcastle said. "Although supplies were temporally low for a few days, customers were never without water service. They responded when we needed them to," he said.