Drought Spurs Rutherford Utilities to Call for Water Conservation

J Percy Priest Lake in 2007. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Water utilities in Rutherford County are collectively asking that customers take five-minute showers and reduce how often they water their lawns. While the situation isn’t dire, public officials warn there’s a lot of summer left.

The cities of LaVergne, Smyrna and Murfreesboro all pull from Percy Priest Lake. It’s already a relatively shallow reservoir, and it’s at the lowest level it’s ever been for this time of year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

While there is still plenty of water to go around, filtration systems are having trouble keeping up with demand. Mufreesboro Water and Sewer assistant director Darren Gore says even utilities pulling from the Cumberland River face the same challenge. Cleaning things like algae from the warm water taxes the systems, Gore says, just as people are using more water than normal to cool off or keep plants alive.

“We’re just asking people to go ahead and get into the mode of conservation at this point because we do have two to three months of what we know is going to be hot weather with limited rainfall.”

Gore says much of the immediate conservation request is about keeping Priest Lake usable for boaters and fishermen.

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