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North Caddo communities keep nervous watch on water supplies

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Written by
Melody Brumble



BLANCHARD — Marge Bostwick uses less water for baths, but she still hopes to save some of her lawn.

Blanchard officials started voluntary conservation efforts nearly two weeks ago by asking people to limit lawn watering because the town is struggling to keep up with demand. Residents can water every other day in a system based on odd- and even-numbered addresses.

Bostwick thinks trying to conserve water is a good idea. She uses water from Blanchard’s system inside her home but depends on a well to water the grass. That means she can run the sprinkler anytime she wants, unlike neighbors who depend entirely on town water. Even with sprinklers, parts of her lawn are brown and crunchy underfoot.

“We drilled that well in 1953 when we built the house,” Bostwick said. “It’s never run dry.”

Some south Caddo Parish residents aren’t so fortunate. Water levels are dropping rapidly in the underground supply that serves part of southeast Caddo Parish, prompting the state Natural Resources Department to ban non-garden watering and most industrial uses. Water levels in some area lakes are falling by as much as a half-inch a day.

Caddo Lake, from which Blanchard, Vivian and Mooringsport draw drinking water, could set a new low record in the next couple of weeks. Only a hurricane or an extremely rainy winter could restore them, said C.S. Ross, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport.

“These little afternoon showers won’t do it,” Ross said. “The soils are completely dry. We need wet soil before we can have runoff to refill the bayous and lakes.”

A water plant employee in Vivian jots the lake level in a notebook every day. The town is able to meet customers’ demands, but the lake surface is creeping closer to the water plant intake pipe.

“If we don’t get any rain by mid-September or October, there’s a real concern we’ll have to find another intake place (deeper) in the lake and do a temporary type of situation,” said Dr. Stephen Taylor, Vivian mayor. Taylor said he’s encouraged residents to pay attention to water use, but the town hasn’t issued a formal conservation request.

Blanchard Mayor Johnny Digilormo said water use has declined slightly with the start of school. The town’s aging water plant can pump out 1.9 million gallons a day, but customers are using 50,000 gallons or so more each day, which means storage tanks never refill completely. Digilormo hoped to have a new plant with a 5 million gallon daily capacity operating by now, but that project was postponed by about a year. He and utility superintendent Dave Cherry are keeping a close watch on water use. If it doesn’t decline significantly, the town may ask people to stop watering entirely and quit washing cars until the drought breaks.

“I’ve been telling people, ‘We don’t want to come home one afternoon and turn on the water and have nothing come out of the faucet,'” Digilormo said.



Written by demon53

August 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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