Pine Dodges Post-Holiday Water Woes

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A summer tradition of mandatory water conservation in Pine has been held at bay -- at least for now.

For the past two seasons, Brooke Utilities customers in Pine have been facing strict water conservations by the first week in June. That has not happened this year.

Delivering more water has been the key, said company President Bob Hardcastle.

Sending more of the liquid gold through the repaired veins of the underground system, Hardcastle said that the Pine system is producing 37 percent more water than it did during June 1997 and 24 percent more than June 1998. As a result, customers are still at Stage 1 -- no required conservation measures or water use restrictions.

"Increasing production, full storage, better water system integrity, better management data and planning and preparation all contribute to improved performance," Hardcastle said.

Hardcastle, who has managed the water system in Pine since August 1996, estimated that his company delivered 5.6 million gallons of water to its Pine customers over the Memorial Day weekend alone.

In 1997 Brooke trucked in 4.1 million gallons to sustain those same customers at Stage 4, the most restrictive water conservation measures available without the Arizona Corporation Commission's intervention. These mandatory restrictions were in place from June to October 1997.

In 1998 Stage 4 water restrictons began just after Memorial Day weekend and were lifted slowly, beginning in early July. No water was trucked in during the summer for 1998.

But savoring the victory of the 1999 Memorial Day battle does not win the "100 day war," as Hardcastle calls the summer -- that will only end after Labor Day.

"Our objective is to strive for better and better water systems a little bit every day. It's a long- term process," he said. "So far, so good."

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