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Water users asked to save

February 27, 2002|By SCOTT BUTKI

The continuing drought has prompted the Washington County Water and Sewer Department to take the precautionary measure of asking 1,400 customers to start conserving water voluntarily, Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray said Tuesday.

The conservation request will go to customers of the Sharpsburg, Highfield, Sandy Hook, Elk Ridge and Clear Spring districts, Murray said.

If drought-related problems worsen, conservation could became mandatory, Murray said. If the situation improves, the voluntary request will be withdrawn, he said.

The county system has not experienced drought-related problems, Murray said.

"This is just a proactive measure," he said.

Water employees will drop off written notice of the conservation request to homes in the affected areas beginning Monday, Murray said.

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The water employees also will conduct an outside inspection of homes to see if there are any water-related problems, such as leaks, he said.

The conservation request will ask water customers to consider taking shorter showers and to wash clothes or run dishwashers only with full loads, he said. They also should check for leaking toilets, he said.

On occasions in the past, the department has asked residents to curtail outside use of water. But during the winter months, outside use is not much of a factor, he said.

The notice will remind residents:

- A shower uses five to 10 gallons of water per minute.

- The average washing machine uses about 35 gallons a load; a dishwasher uses five to 25 gallons.

- About four to five gallons of water a minute can run from a faucet in a bathroom sink.

A mandatory water restriction order remains in effect for 120 homes in the Mount Aetna area, Murray said. The restriction was ordered in mid-November.

Those violating the mandatory order can be fined, he said.

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