Water demand not decreasing much Renfrow says

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 8, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Water demand has gone down among the 8,000-plus customers Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 serves — but not by much, according to Director Charles Renfrow.

Demand was still at about 1.15 gallons a day as of Thursday, down about 120,000 gallons from Aug. 22. That was when the system first issued a notice in local newspapers, asking customers to stop watering their lawns and gardens, washing their vehicles and filling their pools until further notice.

Water could run out completely with little warning unless people start conserving water, said Edgar Jones, president of the district’s Board of Directors. If water demand stays high, the board will more seriously discuss rationing water or levying penalties on those who continue to use water in those ways.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;In cases of severe water shortage, it’s a question of your lawn or your life,&uot;&160;said Patrick Credeur, director of the Louisiana Rural Water Association. &uot;And Concordia’s in a really bad drought situation now.&uot;

The board could also ask the parish’s governing body — in this case, the Concordia Parish Police Jury — to vote to levy fines against people found watering lawns and gardens and the like, Credeur said.

But some jurors are hesitant to do so.

&uot;It might be something to consider if the situation doesn’t improve, but we as a jury would have to discuss it and ask for legal opinions from our counsel before we would do that,&uot;&160;said jury President Charlie Blaney.

&uot;And that is something (the district’s board) would have to ask us to do, which they haven’t done yet, to my knowledge.&uot;

Jury Vice President Melvin Ferrington — who, like Blaney, is a Concordia Waterworks customer — said he would not favor such fines.

&uot;People might not be aware that the situation is as severe as it is,&uot;&160;Ferrington said. &uot;I’d like to see (the district) send out notices in water bills in addition to advertising it in the newspapers.&uot;

Common forms of water rationing include restricting watering of lawns and gardens — which the district has already done — and charging a household or business extra for gallons used over a certain amount, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

&uot;Right now, we’re still holding our own, … and hoping that cool weather and the possibility of rain will help us,&uot;&160;Jones said.

In any case, most farmers’ water usage would not be affected because the water they use to irrigate crops and wash equipment usually comes from their own wells, which are shallower and are therefore not fed from the same aquifer as Concordia Waterworks, Jones said.

Meanwhile, Renfrow and two other district workers are still spending from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day fixing water line leaks that are caused by dry, shifting ground and can use up more than 40,000 gallons a day.

&uot;We’re trying to save the water we do have,&uot; Renfrow said.