By Elizabeth Matthews
St. Charles, MO (KSDK) - The City of St. Charles is preparing for the worst. A voluntary water conservation order went into effect on July 5th and it worked at first, but now water usage is up.
When it was first ordered residents took it seriously, then over time just like with anything people are forgetting to limit their water usage.
"I can't remember the last time it has rained, maybe mid-April?" said Larry Willis, a St. Charles resident we found watering his flowers on Wednesday.
Willis is doing what Mother Nature can't right now.
"The heat has been taking a toll on everything, as you can see my yard, I quit watering my yard after July 4th and it's just brown," he said.
He quit watering part of his green grass after the city put out a voluntary water conservation order.
This was after the Fourth of July holiday when the city broke a record, using 15.1 million gallons of water in one day. Normal daily usage is about 7.5 million gallons.
"It was put out on July 5th and we had a great response," said Public Works director Debbie Alysworth. "I think the community has been wonderful at responding to this."
Including Willis, even though we caught him with a hose in his hand, he says he is only watering every three days and his flowers are barely surviving.
One of the reasons why the city wants to conserve water now is to help the fire department possibly in the future. The city's reasoning is if they conserve water and maintain pressure now and if Mother Nature keeps the dry weather up it won't hurt the fire department down the road.
The St. Charles Fire Department is in good shape now, but that's because most residents have actively responded to the order.
If the voluntary water conservation order doesn't work, the city goes to plan B which is mandatory water conservation.
"That is difficult to do, you have to put restrictions in place, you have to identify when and who can water their lawns," explained Alysworth.
"I look at it this way, we are all in this together, so if they are asking us to do that I would like to help all of us out," said Willis.
That record of 15.1 million gallons set on July 4th this year was almost met again just this week.
Alysworth says they were back up to almost 15 million gallons on Monday and almost 14 million gallons on Tuesday.