Pine Ordered To Save Water

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With water storage levels dropping and the busy Memorial Day weekend looming on the horizon, Brooke Utilities has placed its Pine water customers on Stage 5 water conservation.

Stage 5 is the state's most restrictive water conservation measure, and it can include regulatory action by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Under the conditions of Stage 5 restrictions, Pine water customers with United Utilities and Williamson Water Works both Brooke subsidiaries must stop all outside watering and reduce their indoor water consumption by 50 percent. Providing water for livestock, however, is still permitted under Stage 5.

"Besides judicial remedies, we have the ability to impose fines, have citations issued and immediately disconnect water service (to customers who are not following the Stage 5 conservation guidelines)," Brooke Utilities President Robert Hardcastle said.

The community has been on light water restrictions since May 4 when water stores dropped to 595,000 gallons of water.

On Wednesday, Hardcastle reported that Pine water storage tanks had dropped to 394,000 gallons less than 50 percent of their capacity.

To keep water flowing to the more than 1,600 taps in Pine, Hardcastle said his utilities may have to haul water to the town by truck.

Last May, water storage was almost double what it is today. And in July of last year, the company hauled 500,000 gallons of water to Pine.

In 1997, the pre-Memorial Day weekend water storage was more than 600,000 gallons and more than 4 million gallons of water had to be hauled to Pine.

This year's dwindling supply was caused by a dry winter and spring and a swelling population in Pine, Hardcastle said. Typical year-round Pine residents are conservative by nature, Hardcastle said, but weekend guests and visitors can be cause for worry.

"During last year's Stage 5, the Pine customers were excellent about observing water supply limitations," Hardcastle said. "(However) reports of high consumption by weekend residents were troubling."

Residents can report water wasters to Brooke Utilities at (800) 270-6084.

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