A northern Arizona town near the Grand Canyon is running out of water.
The water reserves are so low, in fact, that the residents of the city of Williams can be fined for washing their cars and watering their lawns. When they go out for date night, they no longer automatically get a glass of water with their meal.
The city is under a “level 4” water crisis — the highest level.
The Arizona water problem is so dire that development and even summer fun at the public swimming pool have been put on hold. Since building permits have been suspended for the time-being and the local pool will not open as scheduled, the water issue has also morphed into an economic one. The folks who were counting on new construction jobs and pool jobs for a paycheck are looking elsewhere for work.
The water crisis, part of the historic drought out West, led to the town’s two wells to be force-pumped to capacity.
Officials in the Arizona town enacted the stringent restrictions in response to the scant amount of precipitation – 6 inches — which fell onto the ground between October and April. According to local statistics, the precipitation levels in Williams were only about half of what typically fell during recent years.
Local leaders are quick to acknowledge that the water restrictions may seem extreme, but also said they wanted to make sure that the city “has enough water to survive.” Mayor John Moore told the Associated Press, “We knew we had to take some action to preserve the water.”
“I still have hope God will send us the rain,” said Williams citizen Jan Bardwell
The reservoirs are reportedly so low that cracked earth, plants, and tree stumps are visible. Businesses are feeling the impact of the water restrictions just as stiffly as the town’s residents. The Grand Canyon region is a hotbed for tourism, but travelers are not getting the amenities they are accustomed to when traveling to the region.
The Grand Canyon Railway, which transports visitors from Williams to the famous national park, is running on water “recycled” from rainfall. If the town doesn’t get more rain soon, both the shuttles and vacation dollars filtering into the town will come to a rapid halt. Water drained from hotel pools was purchased as wastewater by nearby Flagstaff and will be used to run steam engines and to irrigate landscaping.
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Elected officials and department heads in Williams are researching the possibility of digging new wells to help secure a more sustainable source of water.
Mayor Moore said his constituents should expert to conserve water to continue through the next couple of months until the fall rainy season begins. Residents who use more than 15,000 gallons of water per month will see their utility bill rise by 150 to 200 percent, AP reported.
If caught using potable water outside for anything other than an emergency or for public health matter, residents will be cited with a $100 water surcharge that will double with subsequent offenses.
Have you taken any steps to survive such a drought? Let us know in the comments section below.