WARRENTON, MO. (KTVI) - A local community is enforcing mandatory water restrictions to avoid running out of water for critical needs. Warrenton Mayor Jerry Dyer issued an emergency proclamation Thursday morning ordering a stop to lawn watering, shutting down commercial car washes and closing the city's municipal pool.
The town of 8000 relies on six wells for its water supply. "We're 24 miles from the Missouri River so we can't pipe it in," said Dyer. One of the city's wells shut down automatically when the water table dropped too low. A second one is pumping around the clock so the mayor decided to issue the emergency order.
A lack of rain and snow dating back to last fall is blamed for the shrinking ground water supply. It is impacting nearby farms where cattle watering ponds have dried up and farmers are watching their wells closely. "Our neighboring city of Truesdale has enacted the same mandatory water conservation that we have so I don't think it is just Warrenton's problem," said Mayor Dyer. " I think you'll see it's going to be more broad spread across the state than you think."
A recent request for voluntary reductions in water use failed to solve the shortage so the mandatory restrictions were imposed. "The biggest complaints I'm getting is we had to close the public swimming pool and people are not happy about that and we hated to do that, but that's a water usage that's not necessary," Dyer explained.
Petro Mart shift manager Tammie Nelson is hoping the order is quickly lifted. She estimated the convenience gas station does 120 car washes a day in the summer. "We do have a lot of traffic..we're getting traffic off the highway because the Warren County Fair is going on right now so that is also business we're losing."
The water reduction order is forcing the County Fair operators to truck in tankers of water from 18 miles away. It will be used for animals on the fair grounds and sprayed on the arena and track to keep the dust down.
Mayor Dyer said the city could dig the wells deeper or move the pumps deeper into the wells, but that he pointed out would be a major expense.